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Ready to Read, Ready to Learn
Recruit, Train, and Retain the Best and Brightest
Dedicated teachers inspire students to achieve their greatest potential, and they deserve our thanks and support.
While many wonderful teachers are already at work in U.S. schools, America will need more than two million new teachers over the next decade, and that means we must provide more opportunities and incentives for people to become teachers.
Mrs. Bush calls on college students, professionals and military retirees to bring their talents and experience to classrooms across the U.S., especially in inner-city public schools where the need is greatest.
Most high-achieving students are not enrolling in U.S. colleges of education. On average, those who do enroll have lower verbal and math scores than their peers in other fields of study. Studies show that teachers with higher standardized test scores leave teaching at much higher rates than those with lower scores.
Mrs. Bush supports programs that draw teaching candidates from non-traditional sources, such as:
Teach For America - which recruits excellent students from U.S. colleges and universities to teach in inner-city and rural schools;
The New Teacher Project - which matches talented, mid-career professionals with schools having the greatest need;
Troops to Teachers - a program that recruits retired and retiring service men and women for the classroom; and
Transition to Teaching - which helps states and school districts, through a federal program, fund innovative teacher recruitment programs at the local level.
Teach For America
Teach For America recruits a national corps of recent college graduates from all academic majors to commit two years to teaching in schools where they are needed most. Corps members receive an intensive five-week training program, where they gain experience teaching and are guided by veteran educators.
Teach For America was officially launched in 1989. During its first year, 2,500 men and women from more than 100 colleges applied to the program. Since then, more than 6,000 Teach For America corps members have taught nearly one half million children.
Each year, more than 1,500 Teach For America corps members teach more than 100,000 students at 15 locations across the country: Atlanta, Baltimore, the San Francisco Bay Area, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Mississippi, New Jersey, New Orleans, New York City, North Carolina, Phoenix, the Texas Rio Grande Valley, rural Louisiana, and Washington, D.C.
More about Teach for America>>>
The New Teacher Project
The New Teacher Project works with school districts, state departments of education and universities to recruit, select, train, and support outstanding new teachers from many different professional backgrounds. The focus of the project is getting the nation's top minds to commit to improving public education through teaching. Using innovative recruitment techniques, the project attracts high-achieving individuals who want to make a difference in the lives of children. By providing these individuals with training and preparation, The New Teacher Project helps ensure the success of participants once they reach the classroom.
Project partners include school districts in New York City; Washington, D.C.; San Jose, California; Denver, Colorado; Kansas City, Kansas and Missouri; Baton Rouge, Louisiana; and Duval County, Florida. Through these partnerships, the program has helped attract and prepare more than 2,600 new, highly qualified teachers, launched almost 20 programs in 10 states, and developed 10 training institutes.
More about the New Teacher Project>>>
Troops to Teachers
Troops to Teachers was developed through the U.S. Departments of Defense and Education to help former and retiring military and civilian Department of Defense personnel start a career as a teacher. Since the program started in January 1994, nearly 4,000 service members from all branches of the military have entered the teaching profession.
Troops to Teachers candidates are men and women who have served their country and want to do more for the next generation. The program recruits retired military personnel whose experience, maturity, and strength of character can make a real difference in the classroom. About 86 percent of the Troops to Teachers recruits are men; 33 percent are minorities, 28 percent teach math and science, and most teach in schools attended by at-risk children.
President Bush promoted and signed legislation that boosted funding for the Troops to Teachers program from $3 million in 2001 to $18 million in 2002. And he proposed further improving funding for this program to $20 million in fiscal year 2003.
More about Troops to Teachers>>>
Transition to Teaching
The Transition to Teaching program supports partnerships to recruit, train and place highly qualified, mid-career professionals and recent college graduates in America's classrooms. Authorized by the landmark No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, the program provides grants to recruit and train college graduates whose degrees are not in education and place them in schools that need them most. Transition to Teaching supports these new teachers during their first year in the classroom. The program offers competitive, five-year grants to state and local education agencies, educational service agencies, and nonprofit organizations.
The grants may be used for scholarships, stipends, bonuses, and other financial incentives; training and support activities; and for developing, recruiting, and retaining teachers.
Transition to Teaching was allocated $35 million in fiscal year 2002 and President Bush's fiscal year 2003 budget would boost funding to $39.4 million.
More about Transition to Teaching>>>
Teacher Training Enrichment
New elementary school teachers sometimes find themselves standing at the head of a classroom and realizing that they have no idea - practically speaking - how to teach children to read.
Some of those same teachers don't have a well-developed, deep understanding and knowledge of the subjects they teach.
Tragically, children most in need - students in inner-city and rural schools - are least likely to have teachers who are best prepared to help them. For example, 43 percent of math teachers in high-poverty schools neither majored nor minored in math-related fields, compared to 27 percent in low-poverty schools.
Studies of teachers right out of college show that many are not prepared for the challenges of today's classrooms. In one study, fewer than 36 percent surveyed said they felt "very well prepared" to teach and help their students meet performance standards. Less than 20 percent said they felt prepared to meet the needs of diverse students or those with limited English proficiency.
New teachers also report that even after they realize their shortcomings, they are frustrated in their attempts to find training that will help them become better teachers.
Mrs. Bush believes that our obligation to our teachers is as clear and strong as our obligation to America's children - to ensure that children are taught by teachers who not only bring love, compassion, and dedication to their profession, but also have:
White House Conference on Preparing Tomorrow's Teachers
Mrs. Bush hosted the White House Conference on Preparing Tomorrow's Teachers on March 5, 2002. The conference brought together university and business leaders, education advocates, teachers' unions, public policy organizations, and foundations from across the U.S.
More about the Conference>>>
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Ready to Read, Ready to Learn Table of Contents
Laura Bush's Biography
Speeches by Date
Speeches by Topic
Ready to Read, Ready to Learn
Initiative Overview (pdf)
Life at the White House
Behind the Scenes
East Wing History
Past First Ladies
Laura Bush's Biography | Speeches | Speeches by Date | Speeches by Topic | Education Initiative Ready to Read, Ready to Learn | Summary | Initiative Overview (pdf) | Early Childhood | Teachers | Recommended Reading | Photos | Photo Index | Life at the White House | Behind the Scenes | Recipes | History | East Wing History | Past First Ladies