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Troops to Teachers Program Gets New Life

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 23, 2002 – They are disciplined, smart, motivated, goal-oriented and have a disposition to serve.

Sounds like what makes good service members. It also sounds like what makes good teachers, so DoD and the Education Department have resurrected the Troops to Teachers program with an $18 million infusion from the fiscal 2002 federal budget.

The new money will give retiring or separating service members a chance to become teachers. "This gives departing military personnel a chance to continue their lives of service," said John Molino, deputy assistant defense secretary for military community and family policy.

Those retiring from the military have always qualified for the program. The fiscal 2002 defense authorization act adds a new eligible group: service members who separate after six years or more of service, are not eligible for retirement, and agree to serve three years in one of the reserve components.

The program is a particular favorite of first lady Laura Bush. She sees Troops to Teachers as a "win-win" situation: Service members get second careers, and schools get highly qualified people with proven track records. "We're pleased with both President and Mrs. Bush's interest in the program," Molino said.

The program will pay service members up to a $5,000 stipend to help cover the costs of a teacher certification program. Some participants would also receive a $10,000 bonus in lieu of the stipend if they accept a job in a "high-needs" school district. A high-needs district is one where 50 percent of its students come from low-income families.

Those who enroll in the program must teach for at least three years.

For more information on the Troops to Teachers program, visit your installation education office or the program Web site at voled.doded.mil/dantes/ttt/.


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