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THE SEARCH CONTINUES: States Cross Borders and Oceans to Attract High-Quality Teachers

California has begun efforts to recruit 195,000 teachers over the next 10 years. In Arizona, educators have traveled halfway around the world looking for experienced teachers. Around the country, school districts are finding it more and more difficult to find highly qualified math, science, and special education teachers and qualified teachers in all subjects in high-needs districts.

The California Teachers Association estimates that as many as 10,000 California teachers may be out of a job come fall because they will not meet the highly qualified requirement. The state is planning to spend more than $9 million this year on recruiting teachers who will meet the requirement. Since the 2000-2001 school year, California has spent over $330 million on college assistance, advertising, and other programs designed to attract high-quality teachers to its school districts.

At one time, states settled for finding “warm bodies” to fill their classroom needs. Now, post-No Child Left Behind, many states find that they must replace teachers who have been teaching with “emergency credentials” with teachers who are fully trained and credentialed.

In Arizona, educators have traveled the globe (literally) to find experienced teachers for their math and science classes. According to The Arizona Republic, their search took them to New Delhi, India where they found teachers who were more than willing to leave behind classes of 50 students, a salary that is the equivalent of $2,000 a month, and a tight job market where up to 1,000 teachers compete for a single job at a good school.

USA Employment, a two-year old company started by Houston businessman Jay Kumar, has placed 75 teachers from India in 15 school districts in Texas, Indiana, and Connecticut. The teachers, who have at least five years experience, pay their moving expenses and a $6,000 finder’s fee to USA Employment, which helps them with immigration issues. The school districts then hire the teachers and help them obtain certification.

President of the Arizona Education Association Penny Kotterman told The Arizona Republic that USA Employment won’t solve rural school districts’ second-biggest problem-keeping the teachers. Kotterman said she would not be surprised if the Indian teachers follow the road of their predecessors and move to suburban schools for higher salaries unless “some of the other problems, such as salaries, and working conditions, are addressed.”

Read the complete The Arizona Republic article at: http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/local/articles/0322india22.html

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