Labor Dept. Allocates $3 Million for Teacher Distance Learning


2/15/2007—The United States Labor Department today announced that it's issuing a $3 million grant to the Western Governors University (WGU) in Salt Lake City, UT. The monies will be used to expand distance learning for students in the teaching profession, with particular emphasis on math and science.

WGU is a a non-profit private university founded and supported by the governors of 19 Western states. Through the Labor Department, it will receive $1 million per year for three years to" test a new training model designed to increase the number of qualified rural teachers, particularly in the hard to fill disciplines of math and science," according to the Labor Department. The program includes academic support, mentoring, and, for up to one year after graduation, professional development opportunities.

"America's economy is increasingly knowledge-based, and our future success depends on today's students excelling academically, especially in math and science," said Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao, in a prepared statement. "With this $3 million grant, Western Governors University will launch an innovative program to boost the quality of education in rural areas through improved and accessible teacher training."

The grant will also help WGU fund scholarships of up to $1,500 per student per term for up to five terms, which would cover half of the tuition for a six-month term. WGU Teachers College was the first online provider of teacher education to receive accreditation from the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education.

"Rural areas throughout the country are in need of talented professionals to prepare young people for careers in growing industries," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Employment and Training Emily Stover DeRocco, in a prepared statement. "The distance and online learning competency-based curriculum Western Governors University is testing will offer new and innovative ways for prospective teachers to gain their credentials and find rewarding careers in rural America's classrooms."

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About the Author

David Nagel is editorial director of 1105 Media's Education Technology Group and editor-in-chief of THE Journal and STEAM Universe. A 29-year publishing veteran, Nagel has led or contributed to dozens of technology, art and business publications.

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