While Iowa still faces what education leaders say is a critical shortage ofteachers, one official says progress -is- being made in getting newinstructors into the state’s classrooms. Gary Nichols, executive director ofthe Iowa College Student Aid Commission, says new figures show 110 recentgraduates have joined the ranks of Iowa teachers this fall in high-demandareas. This is double the number who took jobs last fall, which indicatesgood progress. Also, some 459 students are in the pipeline, currentlyworking toward certification in the shortage areas and they’ll be able totake jobs in Iowa in the next one-to-two years. High-demand areas includescience, math and special education. Nichols says the Iowa Teacher ShortageForgivable Loan Program should get some of the credit for the influx thisfall. Nichols says that forgivable loan program targets students who areentering their second year of the education program.If they work toward certification in one of the shortage areas, the statewill offer up to $9000 — $3000 per year. If they take a position in Iowaand teach for five years, the loans are cancelled.
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