January 20, 2004

"Turning Troops Into Teachers"

Here's a thought-provoking article about a splendid program to turn retired military personel into teachers.

...Service men and women make particularly good teachers, Peters said, because they offer knowledge from outside the classroom and a bearing that makes them unlikely to be intimidated, even by the most unruly middle school students.

"These are mature, seasoned leaders. They're not just young people coming out of college who have little experience doing anything," Peters said. "Normally, they've been around the world at least once. Normally, they've already been teaching young recruits in the military." ...

...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...

...Surveys by the American Association for Employment in Education show chronic teacher shortages in math, science and special education teachers. National Education Association numbers show that 10 percent of the nation's 3 million teachers are minorities, and 21 percent are men, a 40-year low for the profession.

By contrast, 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. ... (via Betsy Newmark)

I suspect a lot of people could, and should, go for a second career in teaching. And I gather that the teacher's mafia has put a lot of obstacles in the way of that. I would hope that, along with giving parents choice in schools, we will work towards giving people the choice to become teachers.

Actually, I'm for encouraging second careers for almost everybody. It just appalls me to hear friends from European countries tell of people being expected to choose a career when they are in High School, and stick with it until retirement. Tragic antidiluvian lunacy.

Posted by John Weidner at January 20, 2004 7:21 AM
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