Education program to address shortage of teachers in Md.

Cecil Community College, universities form alliance

March 07, 2004|By Amanda Ponko | Amanda Ponko,SUN STAFF

Cecil Community College has expanded its education preparation programs in order to help address the growing shortage of qualified teachers in Maryland.

"The state is not producing enough teachers to fulfill its needs," said William Denbrock, director of educational programs and lifelong learning at CCC. "The problem is that the state colleges and universities are filled to capacity and unable to accept students."

Because of a lack of educators, Maryland schools are being forced to hire from outside of the state, he said. The gap between the number of Maryland teachers hired and the number of out-of-state teachers hired has continued to grow over the past six years.

According to a report from the Maryland State Department of Education in August 2002, in the 1997-1998 school year, 1,780 Maryland-trained teachers and 1,537 of out-of state teachers were hired, Denbrock said. In the 2001-2002 school year, 1,694 in-state teachers were hired with 2,336 hired from elsewhere - and the gap seems to be continuing to spread, he said.

In recent years, "the number of graduates has pretty much stayed the same," Denbrock said, "but new hires have increased by almost 2,000."

Transferring credit

The program at Cecil Community College will allow students who earn their associate's degree in education to transfer all of their credits to any of Maryland's universities. Before the changes, each course was scrutinized to determine whether credits could transfer, often resulting in a student repeating course material.

"The student will be a full junior [at the four-year university], just as if they had completed their first two years there," Denbrock said. "More and more students are beginning their careers at community college. ... This new program provides a seamless transfer to another university."

The educational program at CCC appeals to prospective students, he said, because it allows them to receive a quality education while juggling family and work at a lower cost than a four-year institution.

`A need for teachers'

"Our goal is to enable interested Cecil County students an opportunity to begin their teacher education with us to facilitate a transfer to an education program in Maryland," Denbrock said. "It certainly appears there's a need for teachers and the program is designed to help meet those needs."

Cecil has an arrangement with Wilmington College in Delaware to provide a smooth transfer of credits and also with Towson University to provide students with an opportunity to receive their practicum and student teaching experience at a local elementary or middle school.

Cecil Community College plans to offer extra education courses this summer to account for demand and to create more out-of-state agreements like that with Wilmington College. A Teacher Education Advisory Council, which will create activities and events for students, is also to be implemented by the fall semester to expand students' education.

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