Posted by: thebestthingscomeintwos | September 25, 2009

Ed. 217 Week 4

A recent New York Times article brings up a scary fact for those of us studying to be teachers.  Record numbers of teachers are being hired from abroad.  According to the article, in 2007 there were 19,000 teachers in the United States teaching on temporary visas.  Today, in 2009, this number is projected to be much higher.
Most of these teachers are being placed in hard to fill positions such as science, math, and special education.  Also, the positions are primarily located in extremely urban settings or in very rural settings.
Teachers coming from abroad are supposed to be proficient in English, but screening processes are not always thorough.  Teacher education programs in other countries also may not meet the high standards set forth by the United States.  Both these issues could potentially cause problems for students.
Another issue surrounding hiring teachers from abroad is that school districts are not recruiting teachers in the United States with the same intensity that they used to.  Teachers coming from abroad pay a recruiting firm between $5,000 and $8,000 for a placement in the United States.   Schools can then contact these agencies and fill all their positions at once rather than recruiting in many different places across the United States.  This is not to say that schools are hiring foreign teachers ahead of domestic ones, but teachers educated here may have a more difficult time finding positions since they will not be advertised as openly.
I was surprised by this article initially, but upon further thought realized that I should not be.   I grew up here, only 15 miles from campus and teaching jobs, especially at the elementary level are extremely difficult to come by.  I often worry about being able to find a job without relocating.  I realize that I need to expand my views beyond our little western PA bubble.  My problem with the situation is that according to the article, the hiring process is not the same for both foreign and domestic teachers.   I would not have a problem competing with these teachers for a position, but I believe the position should be made available to everyone equally.


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