Recruiting Mathematics and Science Teachers Through Nontraditional Programs

A Survey

by Neil Brian Carey, Brian Mittman, Linda Darling-Hammond


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Because of the shortage of mathematics and science teachers, a number of policy responses are being debated and tried. This Note discusses nontraditional recruitment policies that restructure teacher preparation programs to make them more accessible to career switchers, to retirees, to homemakers, and to recent college graduates with mathematics and science degrees. To determine whether pools of potential recruits can be identified and effective programs can be devised and sustained, the authors surveyed 64 programs that (1) were partially or wholly aimed at preparing mathematics and science teachers for a credential, and (2) emphasized attracting nontraditional recruits. The authors conclude that career changers and new college graduates with mathematics and science backgrounds are the most promising nontraditional recruit pools. In addition, they conclude that nontraditional programs may be most successful at attracting new mathematics and science teachers in times of high or rising unemployment in mathematics/science fields outside of education, and programs are more successful when they accommodate the needs of local school districts.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Note series. The note was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1979 to 1993 that reported other outputs of sponsored research for general distribution.

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