William & Mary is joining a national effort to turn soldiers into teachers
- The College of William & Mary plays host to the Troops to Teachers Virginia Center — an offshoot of the national counterpart that started in 1993 and has 10 state centers — to help veterans and current service members become K-12 teachers.
- Since the center's creation last spring, it has helped around 700 veterans transition into the teaching workforce, simultaneously targeting the state's high veteran unemployment rate and teacher shortages, reports the Richmond Times-Dispatch. The program is funded and supported by the Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support, which allocates DOD funds to the program.
- Programs like these showcase other ways in which higher education institutions may be able to build out K-12 partnerships — as a contrast to accelerating pathways to credentials, which critics argue creates ill-prepared teachers.
A number of states throughout the nation are dealing with a lack of qualified teachers, equipped with the expertise necessary to address the learning challenges of an increasingly diverse pool of students. For example, data from the U.S. Department of Education shows 48 states reported shortages of math teachers for the 2017-18 academic year — and the situation is expected to get worse in the future.
While many higher education institutions, realizing that the pathway to college is highly influenced by the quality of instruction at the K-12 level, have started to offer shorter, alternative forms of credentialing to get more teachers into the workforce — the strategy may not be the right one to actually move the needle in terms of quality K-12 instruction practices. Programs like the one at the College of William & Mary which simultaneously target workforce needs and teacher qualifications may be most effective in garnering support from policymakers, and therefore more effective in building out a new generation of teachers. Rather than having to offer a shorter pathway, institutions can offer a more well-rounded curriculum.
- Richmond Times-Dispatch At William and Mary, a hub for turning veterans into K-12 teachers
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