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July 17, 1997

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Attracting and Preparing Tomorrow's People


Today, President Clinton travels to Pittsburgh to address the 88th Annual Convention of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. The NAACP is the nation's largest and oldest continuing civil rights organization. The President continues onto Chicago to address the National Association of Black Journalists. As he did in the San Diego announcement last month, the President will underscore his continuing commitment to serious examination and exploration of racial and ethnic diversity in America. To achieve a part of the President's goal of building one America, we need greater educational opportunities for all. That is why the President is announcing an education initiative to recruit and prepare teachers to teach in urban and rural communities so that every school in every community may have the highest-quality education.

Attracting and Preparing Tomorrow's Teachers: Today President Clinton proposes a $350 million initiative to attract talented people of all backgrounds into teaching at low-income schools across the nation, and to dramatically improve the quality of training and preparation given to our future teachers. This new initiative will help bring nearly 35,000 outstanding new teachers into high-poverty schools in urban and rural areas over the next five years. In addition, it will upgrade the quality of teacher preparation at institutions of higher education that work in partnership with local schools in inner city and poor rural areas. The President's initiative will help recruit and prepare teachers nationwide to help our neediest students succeed in the 21st century.

A National Challenge: Recruiting and Preparing the Best Teachers for the Classrooms That Need Them the Most.

  • Nationally, two million teachers must be hired over the next decade to accommodate rapidly growing student enrollment and an aging teaching force. The most severe shortages will occur in high-poverty urban and rural schools, which must hire 350,000 teachers over the next five years.

  • Urban and rural schools serving high percentages of poor students face especially serious challenges in their teaching forces, with many teachers arriving without the qualifications or preparation needed to succeed and with high rates of attrition. In urban districts, up to 50% of teachers leave the profession within the first five years. In high poverty schools across the U.S., one-third of students take math from teachers with neither a major nor a minor in mathematics. Meeting our national challenge requires providing a sufficient number of well-prepared teachers to fill the expected vacancies in urban and rural schools.

Meeting the Challenge: Recruiting New Teachers into High-Poverty Schools and Improving Their Preparation.

  • The initiative includes teaching fellowships to help talented people from all backgrounds teach in high-poverty schools.

  • The initiative also includes support for institutions of higher education to strengthen preparation of future teachers in high-poverty schools.

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