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Kansas Launches Teacher Apprenticeships

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TOPEKA, Kan. (KNS/KMUW) – A new program in Kansas is aimed at making it easier and less costly for people to become teachers. This fall, the state Department of Education will launch a teacher apprentice pilot project.

Ten candidates will work in schools and be mentored by experienced teachers while they pursue their teaching degrees, and the state will pick up some of their college costs.

Kansas Education Commissioner Randy Watson says apprenticeships could be one solution to the worsening teacher shortage. “This has the potential to really bring in young people that could not afford to go to college, must go to work after high school, that would be a teacher but can’t leave their community or can’t leave their family,” he said.

Teacher apprentices would have to meet the same licensing requirements as traditional teacher candidates.

Kansas is facing its worst-ever teacher shortage. State Board of Education member Jim Porter says they need to find more ways to help people become teachers. “The crisis is now,” he said. “The crisis needs to be addressed now. This is a way to address part of it. I fully support this, because we need people.”

State officials plan to partner with the U.S. Department of Labor to expand the program next year.

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