Education: How to Attract Teachers

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The shortage of teachers has reached such a point that the profession would need a half of every college graduating class from now until 1960 to take up the slack. Can communities do anything to help in the recruiting? Last week, in a special guide (How Can We Get Enough Good Teachers?), the National Citizens Commission for the Public Schools gave some hints, collected from towns, counties and states all over the country. Items:

¶ The education committee of the Illinois State Chamber of Commerce goes about the job by advertising. To 875 schools and colleges, it has mailed 40,000 posters dramatizing the "opportunities of a teaching career." It has also sent out 120,000 brochures to high-school graduates, has encouraged local chambers to award education scholarships. In the last three years, freshman enrollments in education have steadily climbed: "In 1952, they were 21.7% higher than in the previous year."

¶ In Minnesota, a Minneapolis citizens' committee prepared a brochure called "Career with a Future" and sent it out to high-school students. One result: freshman enrollments at Moorhead State Teachers College in 1952 went up 40%.

¶ Connecticut has adopted a plan to recruit liberal arts graduates. Instead of going through the usual pedagogical treadmill, candidates can take one special two-month course to earn a one-year emergency certificate. Today, says the commission, Connecticut has "become one of the few states nearing a balance of elementary teacher supply and demand."

¶ Kansas started a plan to re-employ teachers who had quit or retired, in 1951 succeeded in recruiting 400. Montgomery County, Md. has a special twelve-week refresher course in education for the same purpose, has so far been able to reclaim between 50 and 87 good teachers a year.

¶ To make new teachers feel at home, Portland, Ore. has a special welcoming program. A housing office provides the newcomers with drivers and cars to help them hunt apartments; the P.T.A. throws parties for them and so do members of the school board. Meanwhile, Minneapolis has hit upon another device for making the profession seem attractive: an "Apple for the Teacher Day," on which all 2,500 women teachers receive — not an apple —but an orchid.