Still a teacher shortage, state says


Maryland schools continue to experience teacher shortages in computer science, science, Spanish and special education, while Baltimore and three rural districts have a "potential" shortage of classroom teachers, according to a report released yesterday by the state Department of Education.

The report also shows a slow but steady increase in the number of minority graduates of the state's 21 colleges that train teachers.

Besides Baltimore, the districts found to have "potential" shortages are Allegany and Garrett in Western Maryland and Somerset on the Eastern Shore.

"We don't have critical shortages anywhere," said an Education Department spokesman. "The study is to identify general areas."

Not all of the sciences have shortages, according to the report. Chemistry, general science and physical science don't have enough teachers, but supply exceeds demand in biology. Similarly, the shortage in special education is for teachers of very young children and those with severe handicaps.

Technology education (formerly called industrial arts), occupational therapy, physical therapy, mathematics, English as a second language and speech pathology are other fields with teacher shortages.

The report also said the percentage of minorities graduating from teacher-training programs in Maryland colleges has climbed from 5.8 to 14.2 over five years, while the proportion of minority teachers hired in Maryland rose from 14 percent to 21 percent over the same period.

The report, prepared annually since 1984, determines where teachers with state Sharon Christa McAuliffe Scholarships may work to fulfill the terms of their stipends. Scholarship winners agree to teach for a specified time in "shortage" fields or in "geographical areas of potential shortage."

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