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New Bills Aim to Fight Shortage of Math/Science Teachers

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Aired 4/19/09

Facing an expected shortage of math and science teachers in California, a state senator is pushing legislation to lure more people to the job.   He was joined by the first American woman in space at the state Capitol on Wednesday. From Sacramento, Jenny O'Mara reports.

Democrat Jack Scott has the support of former astronaut Sally Ride for three bills to address the pending shortage. Ride is behind a number of efforts to keep children -- particularly girls -- interested in math and science. She says kids' natural interest in the sciences must be encouraged by well-prepared teachers.

Ride : But it is a national problem, that starting in around fifth grade, we start to lose kids -- both boys and girls -- from the sciences.

One of Senator Scott's bills would offer teachers intensive preparation courses to transition from other subjects to math and science. Another measure would remove certain test requirements for retired teachers who want to return to the classroom. The third bill would recruit math and science professionals to become teachers. Jenny O'Mara, KPBS News.

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