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USG a National Leader in Increasing Production of Teachers, Especially Minorities

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Atlanta — May 12, 2009

Though much work remains, the University System of Georgia (USG) has made great strides in its efforts to produce teachers to work in Georgia’s K-12 schools, according to officials in charge of the System’s educator-preparation program. This includes not only graduating more teachers but improving diversity and the retention of teachers in K-12 schools.

During an update today to the Board of Regents’ Academic Affairs Committee, Dr. Marti Venn, senior executive director of educator preparation and program improvement in the Department of P-16 Initiatives, reported that the USG produced 4,236 teachers in 2008, an increase of 11 percent over 2007, despite budget constraints. The number of minority teachers in those ranks also increased by 31 percent during the same period.

“These are among the highest such increases in the country,” said Venn, who noted that, since 2002, when the Regents’ Principles for the Preparation of Educators for the Schools took effect, nearly 25,000 new teachers have rolled off the University System’s production line and into classrooms, a 59 percent increase, overall.

But quantity is just part of the teacher-preparation equation. “USG quality translates into more teachers in the classroom, higher retention rates and high customer satisfaction,” Venn said. “Teachers prepared by USG institutions are highly sought after – the overwhelming majority of USG-prepared teachers (79 percent in 2007) are hired immediately upon completion of their programs. The two-year retention rate for USG-prepared teachers is 89 percent compared to 76 percent for non-USG graduates. And 98 percent of school administrators hiring our graduates – our customers – would recommend to their peers the USG institution that prepared them.”

Referring to the USG’s ongoing commitment to meet 80 percent of the state’s need for teachers by 2020, Venn said, “Will we meet our goal simply by churning out large numbers of new teachers? Absolutely not. We will use a three-tiered approach to continue to strengthen our efforts to ensure that by the year 2020 there will be sufficient numbers of qualified teachers in the every classroom in Georgia. First, we will continue to ramp up our efforts to recruit and train new teachers; we will provide professional-development opportunities in order to retain good teachers; and we will retrain teachers to meet school needs.”

This plan will be accomplished through “the innovative and pioneering work taking place on USG campuses throughout the state and with the help of our K-12 partners and those at the state level – the Department of Education, the Professional Standards Commission and the Student Finance Commission,” Venn added.

As Georgia’s need for more qualified teachers has grown along with its burgeoning population, the USG has responded by adding new teacher-preparation programs at Dalton State College (2004), Georgia Gwinnett College and Macon State College (2005), Gainesville State College and Gordon College (2006) and the College of Coastal Georgia and Middle Georgia College (2008). In 2008, 17 USG institutions were involved in preparing educators, and work is under way to add four more to the list. Among the 17 campuses preparing teachers, the percentage of new teachers produced in 2007 working in Georgia public schools in 2008 ranged from 66 percent to 100 percent, and at nine of these campuses, it was greater than 80 percent.

The USG has also responded to Georgia’s increased need for teachers by:

  • increasing its production of minority teachers by 54 percent since 2004. Georgia State University and Albany State University have been so successful that they now rank No. 12 and No. 14 nationally in this regard; and

  • developing innovative ways of delivering programs, such as offering online master’s degrees in teaching through http://www.GeorgiaONmyLINE.org and “one-stop shopping” for teaching programs and resources at http://www.destinationteaching.org, which has been heavily used by career-changers considering teaching options.

For more details about the increase in the number of teachers produced and indicators of the quality of these USG graduates, the just-released 2008 Report on the Preparation of New Teachers by University System of Georgia Institutions is posted online at http://www.usg.edu/p16/resources/PDFs/2008_teacher_prep_report.pdf

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