Middle School Teachers May Have to Go Back to School

October 22, 2008

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The Chicago Board of Education will vote on a new policy today that would force many middle school teachers to pay for an additional credential.

There are about 85 elementary schools in the district where not a single teacher has a math endorsement. And 60 are without a science specialist.

Xavier Botana is the district's head of elementary education.

BOTANA: We want to make sure that all of the kids in the upper grades are taught by teachers who have a deep understanding of the content area. And that's what this policy does.

The new policy would take effect next school year.

Derek Freidheim is a science specialist teaching 6th, 7th and 8th graders at Orozco Academy. He says teachers' biggest concern will be cost.

FREIDHEIM: An endorsement will cost you anywhere between $4,000 and $10,000 and does not increase your salary at all.

The board is thinking about a loan program to help teachers pay for their coursework.

I'm Linda Lutton. Chicago Public Radio.