BELLEVUE, Wash. – The economic downturn could help Washington state gain math teachers. As more people statewide experience layoffs and job uncertainty, there is an opportunity to take their job skills into the classroom. City University of Seattle and the Professional Educator Standards Board (PESB) are working together to bring individuals with more than five years of career-related math experience into the classroom by offering an Alternative Route to Residency Certificate in Secondary Math program, beginning in the summer of 2009. The one-year, fully mentored certification program includes a tuition offset by the state, a nice solution for professionals looking for new career opportunities.
According to the U.S. Labor Department, the jobless rate in Washington state has risen steadily over the past 90 days. This past September the jobless rate was 5.7 percent, rising to 6.3 percent in October and then 6.7 percent in November. With more than 500,000 people in the U.S. losing their jobs in November, many of them from jobs within the financial industry, the incentive of a forgivable loan from PESB could be the right answer to job retraining and placement.

To offset the costs of the program, PESB is providing qualified successful applicants with $8,000 in forgivable loans to be applied toward tuition costs in exchange for a two-year commitment of teaching math in Washington state. Qualified candidates must have a degree in math (or a related field applying higher-level math), a minimum of five years of field experience using math, pass two entrance exams demonstrating their skills, and have a genuine interest in working with middle or high school students.

According to the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction’s 2006 report, “Educator Supply and Demand in Washington State,” more than 306 math teachers are expected to retire between 2006 and 2011. With the anticipated decline in math teachers combined with economic uncertainty comes an incentive to invite new teachers into the classroom.

Corll Miller Morrissey, program director, teacher certification CityU of Seattle comments on the importance of life experiences in the classroom, “Students gain by having a career professional in the classroom who can answer from personal experience, ‘when am I ever going to use this?'”

She continues, “Everyone wins, the district can ‘grow their own teacher’ at their own pace but without the burden of expensive professional development. The candidate wins by working with students every day all day. Students and teachers win by having an additional highly qualified adult in the room.”

For more information about the program go to

Published January 7, 2009



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