ERIC Number: ED477170
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 2003-Apr
Focus on an Untapped Classroom Resource: Helping Paraprofessionals Become Teachers.
Smith, Christine L.
This report asserts that paraprofessionals are one possible solution to the problem of finding new teachers and keeping them. It focuses on paraprofessionals who work as assistants to teachers and whose duties are performed in the classroom. Paraprofessionals face many challenges to obtaining certification, including balancing family life with returning to school, finding college classes that fit their schedules, and needing tutoring. Finances are one of the main barriers. Financial incentives for paraprofessionals must take their unique circumstances into consideration (e.g., allowing them to attend school part time). Every Southern Regional Education Board state has some type of program for teacher scholarships or forgivable loans. This report lists examples from Louisiana, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, Florida, Georgia, and Kentucky. Programs include a tuition exemption and stipend program for paraprofessionals and a teacher assistant scholarship fund. Suggestions for states to access this untapped classroom resource include providing financial assistance in the form of scholarships, tuition exemption, or forgivable loan rather than reimbursement; provide financial assistance beyond tuition and fees; and meet other needs of paraprofessionals. A sidebar discusses why researchers recommend paraprofessionals. (SM)
Descriptors: Access to Education, Alternative Teacher Certification, Higher Education, Paraprofessional School Personnel, Student Financial Aid, Student Needs
Southern Regional Education Board, 592 10th Street, N.W., Atlanta, GA 30318. Tel: 404-875-9211; Web site: http://www.sreb.org.
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Southern Regional Education Board, Atlanta, GA.