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October 3, 2003, Extra Credit
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October 3, 2003
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Clemson Program That Helps Mid-Career Professionals Become Teachers Is "Perfect For The State"

The bipartisan No Child Left Behind law requires that there be a "highly qualified" teacher in every public school classroom by the end of the 2005-2006 school year. To meet this goal, states must break from status quo approaches to preparing, recruiting, and retaining highly qualified teachers. Expanding alternative routes to teacher licensure is proving to be a powerful way of doing so. As an example of how this can be accomplished, the following excerpts from an article, "Mid-career people quit jobs to take up teaching," in the Greenville News provide an overview of a new program being offered by Clemson University in South Carolina:

"Charlcey Cox quit her job as finance director for a communications company to become a middle school teacher. If she starts at $32,000 a year, her new salary will be about a third as much as her pay in the corporate world, she said. 'It's a lot of money to give up, but money is not everything,' Cox said. Cox is one of 16 students going through a rigorous, first-of-its-kind program that packs three years of classroom training into one year and targets mid-career professionals interested in changing jobs. The students represent a vanguard that's helping the state stem a teacher shortage and comply with federal No Child Left Behind legislation. If they complete the course, students will take home a master's of arts in education from Clemson University and be ready to teach middle school by next fall."

"All the students have degrees in some area beside education and need the Clemson program to become certified and qualified as teachers, [coordinator Lienne] Medford said. Cox said she decided to enroll after her job moved to Atlanta and she decided not to go with it. Her husband, who owns a business, has made the pay cut easier, she said. 'I've always wanted to do this,' Cox said. 'The timing was perfect.' It's perfect for the state, too."

"The Clemson program will help the state comply with federal No Child Left Behind legislation, said coordinator Lienne Medford. Under the law, all teachers must be certified and highly qualified at their grade levels and content areas by 2005-06. Students who complete the Clemson program will be both, she said."

"The Clemson class brings together a diverse group of students. They include some in their early 20s who've just finished their undergraduate degrees and some in their 50s making a career change."

The complete text of the Greenville News article can be found online.

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NCLB Extra Credit is a regular look at the No Child Left Behind Act, President Bush's landmark education reform initiative passed with bipartisan support in Congress.

If you would like the NCLB Extra Credit emailed to you, please send a request to Geoff Goodman at NoChildLeftBehindUpdate@ed.gov or call (202) 205-9191.

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Last Modified: 03/05/2008