New ASU program seeks to help solve teacher shortage

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As teachers come and go all around the country there's still a shortage in classrooms.

News 12's Meredith Taylor is On Your Side with what one local college is doing to put more in our schools.

Amy Hillman knows she'll miss her kids this summer.

Hillman was voted teacher of the year for Richmond County. Her fifth graders at Freedom Park Elementary know how special Mrs. Hillman is.

What they probably don't know is that the state could use more like her.

"There's a teacher shortage not just in Georgia, but almost every state," says Dr. Richard Harrison, associate dean of the ASU College of Education.

That's nothing new.

But now a master of arts in teaching program at asu aims to help.

"We'll have over 100," says Dr. Harrison. "We'll have over 100 easy. "

Students are quick to take advantage, especially those looking to make a career change and those who aren't certified.

If you don't have a degree in teaching, but do in something else, you can still go through the classes and be certified in a related field without having to start all over.

"At the same time, they can actually be hired to teach in the school system and private schools to teach while they're working on this masters degree and teaching," Dr. Harrison says. "That's part of their experience."

In January, Governor Sonny Perdue announced his plan to keep dedicated and experienced teachers like Amy Hillman in the classroom. His 2007 education budget includes a four percent pay raise for all teachers.

Two plans to lend a helping hand to a time when children need it the most.

"You know, the people who really desire to be teachers, who have the strength to be teachers...come and be teachers, because we need them," Hillman says.

The program is already up and running, but it needs final approval from the Professional Standards Commission.

Right now, more than 12,000 teachers are hired in public schools here. Only a fourth of them came from Georgia.