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Topic: Chicago Hires Foreign Teachers
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Jerry P. Becker

Posts: 16,576
Registered: 12/3/04
Chicago Hires Foreign Teachers
Posted: Feb 8, 2000 7:20 PM
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From Education Week, January 19, 2000, p. 17 -- See

Chicago Makes Deal With Feds To Hire Foreign Teachers

By Ann Bradley

The Chicago public schools are facing such a severe shortage of math and
science teachers that the system has teamed up with two federal agencies to
recruit teachers overseas.

The nation's third-largest district announced last month it had reached
agreements with the U.S. Department of Labor and the Immigration and
Naturalization Service to bring in foreign teachers for up to six years.

While other districts, such as New York City, have sought qualified
teachers abroad, the Chicago initiative is unique because the INS will
issue visas similar to those used to fill shortages in high-tech fields.

Under the global-educators-outreach program, the Labor Department has
certified that Chicago has a critical shortage of teachers in mathematics,
the sciences, world languages, and bilingual education. Qualified
applicants in those fields will receive work certificates.

The INS has agreed to provide, as a block, up to 50 H-1B temporary visas
each year to allow teachers to work in Chicago public schools. The district
will be the official sponsor for the participating teachers, and will
decide after their first, fourth, and fifth years of service whether to
continue sponsorship.

At the end of the six-year period, the district can sponsor the teachers
for permanent visas.

As of last week, the district had received about 250 inquiries from
prospective teachers in China, India, the Philippines, Spain, and countries
in the Middle East, said Gery Chico, the president of the school board.

The district has about 75 vacancies in critical-shortage areas and hires
nearly 2,000 teachers a year. Overseas recruits would be members of the
Chicago Teachers Union, which has supported the effort, the board president

"This is a great way to do two things-solve the shortage and build in
diversity and multicultural exposure," he said.

Temporary Certification

Chicago is recruiting teachers-who must speak English fluently-over the
Internet, through advertisements in foreign newspapers, and by direct
contact with top universities, officials said.

In particular, the schools plan to target foreign nationals attending
college in the United States on student visas.

The district will provide a six-week orientation and training program for
the teachers, including lodging and a stipend. Once assigned to jobs, they
will be allowed to borrow up to three months' salary to cover fees
associated with their move.

In addition, the district will apply to the state of Illinois for temporary
teaching certificates for the applicants. Within four years of being hired,
the foreign teachers must complete the requirements for a regular license.

New York City is recruiting math and science teachers from Austria, using
ads in Austrian newspapers. The district has 24 Austrian teachers this
year, each of whom is working on a temporary, individual visa. The district
hopes such teachers will stay two years, according to Margie Feinberg, a
spokeswoman for the board of education.
PHOTOS: Chicago school officials Gery Chico and Leonard Dominguez greet
Lucia Beltran Manios, a teacher-recruit from Colombia ---- Lucila Ramirez

Jerry P. Becker
Dept. of Curriculum & Instruction
Southern Illinois University
Carbondale, IL 62901-4610 USA
Fax: (618) 453-4244
Phone: (618) 453-4241 (office)
(618) 457-8903 (home)


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