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Bull's-eye -- Programs targeting math, science teacher shortage may get boost

HOUSTON, July 17, 2007 -- Painting a target on the math and science teacher shortage, the National Math and Science Initiative (NMSI) has invited the University of Houston to take aim at winning up to $2.4 million to foster the next generation of teachers in these areas.

NMSI, based in Dallas, wants 10 universities to replicate UTeach, an effective science and mathematics teacher-training program established at The University of Texas at Austin. UH is among 29 higher-education institutions that made the cut from 52 higher-learning establishments across the country vying for the opportunity to receive NMSI funding over a five-year period to establish their own successful math and science teacher-training programs.

UH already has a head start with its teachHOUSTON teacher-preparation program that is modeled after the successful UTeach format and is the pilot program for future replications outside the UT system. To help urban schools attract and retain qualified personnel by immersing aspiring math and science educators in public school classrooms early in their college careers, teachHOUSTON began this spring with 14 students.

With teachHOUSTON, students begin in their freshman year, taking 20 hours of education courses during the next four years to graduate not only with a degree in a math or science discipline, but also with a teaching certificate. All-too-often, students wait until they become upperclassmen before deciding to earn a teaching certificate and typically have difficulty fitting the 18 required education hours into their schedules, so some potential teachers graduate without certification. The teachHOUSTON program is trying to break this trend.

Their exposure to a school setting from the outset is important to the initiatives success and sets it apart from other teacher certification programs, said Jeff Morgan, chair of the department of mathematics in UHs College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics
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Contact: Lisa Merkl
lkmerkl@uh.edu
713-743-8192
University of Houston
17-Jul-2007


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