Original URL: http://regulus.azstarnet.com/hourlyupdate/story.php?id=4

ASU unveils ambitious plan to train more teachers
The Associated Press
Aug 15, 2003

PHOENIX — Arizona State University has an ambitious plan to educate and train more of the state’s teachers.

The goal is to train 50 percent more teachers for kindergarten through high school classrooms and double the number of early education teachers by 2005.

“I know the plan is ambitious, but it has to be done,” said Eugene Garcia, dean of ASU’s College of Education who will oversee the plan.

The program would result in about 1,620 more teachers graduating from ASU’s education programs each year.

The initiative was unveiled Thursday at the Arizona Board of Regents meeting in Flagstaff.

The hope is to help teachers better educate their students and help schools meet new federal teaching standards.

“This is music to my ears. There are a lot of excellent qualified teachers. We just need more of them,” said Regents President Chris Herstam.

Because of Arizona’s exploding population, more students are entering the state’s public schools, creating a need for more teachers.

In addition, new teachers are needed to replace retiring educators.

A January report by the Morrison Institute for Public Policy estimated that Arizona will need 6,880 new K-12 teachers annually through 2005.

The report predicts the student population, which was 921,870 in 2001-02, will grow to 1.1 million during 2009-10.

The number of public-school teachers, which was 51,740 in 2001-02, is expected to grow to 63,130 by then.

The problem is compounded by a new federal law which outlines strict requirements for educators.

The “No Child Left Behind Act” requires that all teachers have a four-year degree, pass a skills test in the subject they are to teach and hold a state teaching certificate by 2005.

ASU’s plan calls for strengthening its 10-month certificate program aimed at people who already hold a bachelor’s degree.

Other plans call for an intensive summer program for current university students to train them as teachers.

In addition, administrators want to work more closely with community colleges and offer teaching courses at night and on weekends.