Grant would put student teachers into urban schools

Grant would put student teachers into urban schools

By NEAL BUCCINO Press of Atlantic City Staff Writer


Two factors are creating a crunch for urban school districts in Vineland and Bridgeton.

The first factor: New teachers of math, science, special education and some other subjects are becoming hard to find in New Jersey.

The second: Many teachers have preconceived notions about urban school districts - notions that make new teachers avoid them.

Put together, the factors mean this: When a new math teacher starts looking for jobs, school districts will compete to recruit her. If she's unwilling to consider an urban school district, those districts will have a hard time competing.

Rowan University hopes to change that. With a $749,236 state grant, the university hopes to attract new science, math, special education, preschool and literacy teachers to work in urban districts in Vineland, Bridgeton and Camden.

"Some (new teachers) are just ignoring the urban districts. We want to get students into these districts, so they can see that they are as good to work in as other districts. ... From past experience (with bringing teaching students to urban schools), they find that their preconceptions are wrong," said Mark Meyers, associate dean of Rowan's College of Education.

Students who are studying to become teachers get to spend time with real teachers, in school districts across the state, during each of their four years in the college, Meyers said. Many of those students opt to do their classroom observing and student teaching in non-urban districts.

The college would use the grant money to bring its future science, math, special education, preschool and reading teachers to urban schools. The program would let them see what the schools are really like, and encourage them to do their student teaching there, Meyers said.

The money also would help bring teachers from urban schools to the college, to tell students what their schools have to offer.

Rowan will use the money in partnership with Cumberland County College and with community colleges in Camden and Gloucester counties, because students from those colleges often come to Rowan's education college for their junior and senior years. The money would give students in those schools exposure to urban districts as well, Meyers said.

Meyers hopes the program will place 223 additional future teachers at schools in Vineland, Bridgeton and Camden counties by 2005.

To e-mail Neal Buccino at The Press: NBuccino@pressofac.com

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Date Published: Thursday, July 25, 2002 - 08:55
Source URL: Press of Atlantic City