Wednesday, June 27, 2007
Shopping for Teachers
Math, science teachers sought from India
By JONATHAN CRIBBS
The Beaufort Gazette (South Carolina)
June 28, 2007
To help plug a nagging shortage of math and science teachers, the Beaufort County School District is recruiting in India -- part of a state program that searches for qualified educators abroad, district officials said.
The district sent Bill Reoch, a Bluffton High School math teacher, to interview hundreds of potential job candidates in the country for two weeks in February, said Becky Randazzo, the district's supervisor of recruitment and retention. Beaufort County and school districts nationwide, historically, have had difficulty filling math and science teacher vacancies because college graduates with those degrees often find larger salaries in the private sector.
To lure some of those teachers and graduates, the school board approved in December an incentive plan to give incoming math, science and special education teachers a $3,000 signing bonus among other perks.
Through various for-profit exchange firms and the S.C. Department of Education, school districts have been recruiting English-speaking foreign teachers to fill crucial vacancies since 2000, said Jess Torres, an education associate in the state department's Office of Certification. At the end of this school year, about 230 Indian and 23 Spanish teachers were working in the state, he said.
"They are absolutely the cream of the crop from India," Randazzo said.
In the past, Beaufort County has taken foreign teachers, mostly Spanish teachers from Spain, Torres said.
Any foreign hiring would need to be made quickly to bring them into the country in time for the opening of year-round schools July 16.
"They usually turn out to be excellent teachers," she said.
Posted by concernedCTparent at 10:00 PM