Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Shopping for Teachers

Math, science teachers sought from India

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.


Tony said...

I hope it isn't rude or ethnocentrist of me to say that they had better make sure they find people whose accents aren't too thick. I had an Indian prof in Calc III, which is hard enough even when you can understand what exactly your instructor said.

Excluding that, it sounds like globalism at its best.

concernedCTparent said...

This is certainly the forces of globalism at work. But it is also another sad statement about where we are as a nation when it comes to math and science. We've known about this shortage for a long time. We've seen this teacher shortage coming and yet we're still unprepared to deal with it.

It is an early lesson for our children in global economics but it also sends the message that there just aren't enough qualified people here in our own country. Hopefully they don't begin to believe that it's because people in other countries are smarter than we are.

I know that they aren't "smarter" than we are, I believe that they are just getting a better education when it comes to math and science.