Education Graduates `Guarantee' in Works Plan to Improve Teacher Qualifications

Article excerpt

ATLANTA -- The University System of Georgia will guarantee its

education graduates, recommend for early-childhood certification

only those with academic minors in math and reading, and

aggressively recruit future teachers.

Those elements were included in a plan approved yesterday by

the state Board of Regents.

The plan caps the board's yearlong study of teacher

preparation, recruitment and retention.

Now, Chancellor Stephen Portch said, comes a "massive

implementation effort" by the system and its schools of

education.

"My hope is the University System of Georgia will be regarded

as producing uniformly qualified teachers," Portch said.

"We may not be ahead of the curve in Georgia, but we're not

behind it," said Regent Tom Allgood of Augusta. "We are making

as much progress as anybody."

Several states are studying ways to improve the quality of

teachers, but Georgia's effort is among the most extensive in

the country, officials said.

Records and studies show students going into teaching generally

have, on average, lower Scholastic Assessment Test scores than

those going into other fields.

Once they graduate from college, many wind up teaching subjects

for which they are not fully prepared. About two-thirds of

physical science teachers, 49 percent of history teachers and 23

percent of mathematics teachers in Georgia do not have at least

an academic minor in the subjects they are teaching. …