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January 22, 2004, Extra Credit
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January 22, 2004
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Troops to Teachers: A Recruiting Tool for Low-Income Schools

No Child Left Behind's Troops to Teachers program provides funds to recruit, prepare, and support former members of the military services as teachers in high-poverty schools. Following are excerpts from a recent Washington Post article about the program:

"[Physics teacher John] Paulson, 55, became a rookie teacher last year, after 22 years in the Navy. He found his second career through an increasingly popular program called Troops to Teachers, which gives military personnel stipends to obtain their teaching certificates and cash bonuses if they agree to work in schools in low-income areas. The new job was a natural transition from a career spent training young men and women for war. 'I wanted to keep working with youth. I wanted to teach them what they need to know to be successful,' Paulson said. More and more former military personnel are participating in the program. In Virginia, 17 men and women joined between July 2002 and July 2003, and since then, nearly three times that many have signed on. Those numbers reflect rising interest nationwide, said Peter E. Peters, assistant director of the program."

"Troops to Teachers was started in 1994 to ease the transition to civilian life for people laid off from soldiering during the military downsizing. In 2001, money was included in the federal No Child Left Behind law to expand the program and convert it to a recruiting tool for low-income schools, where the law is concentrating its efforts to improve students' performance."

"40 percent of the Troops to Teachers participants go into math, science or special education. More than 85 percent of participants are men, and one-third are minorities. 'Certainly males and minorities in education in virtually every field are highly sought after. This is an avenue that helps us tap into those targeted areas,' said John Smeallie, Maryland's assistant superintendent for certification and accreditation and the program's director in the state. 'Every school system in every state is anxious to attract a spectrum of folks with strong content knowledge and diverse experiences.'"

The complete text of the article is available online at Washington Post achives for a fee.

More information about the Troops to Teachers program is available at: http://www.proudtoserveagain.com

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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.

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