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survey: us teachers feel unprepared

WASHINGTON - One in 5 teachers feels he or she is well prepared to work in a modern classroom.

Only about 20 percent said they were confident in using modern technology or in working with students from diverse backgrounds, with limited proficiency in English or with disabilities, according to a study conducted by the US Education Department's National Center for Education Statistics. While virtually all teachers reported participating in some professional development activities, those involved in short-term sessions (less than eight hours) gave these experiences low marks. Those engaged in more than eight hours of training, however, were far more likely to conclude that their teaching ability was improved "a lot." Other survey findings:

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*Some 18 percent of Grades 7 to 12 math teachers neither majored, minored, nor received a graduate degree in the subject.

*Though only 19 percent of teachers said they had been formally mentored by another teacher, 70 percent of them said mentoring at least once a week helped their teaching "a lot."

*New teachers were less likely than more experienced teachers to have regular certification.

*Two-thirds of the teachers had not participated in a formal induction program when they first began teaching, although participation rates were higher for new teachers than for more-experienced teachers.

Air Jordan gives $5 million to schools

WASHINGTON - Two weeks after retiring from basketball, Michael Jordan scored big in a middle-school gym Friday, announcing a $5 million grant to help teachers in low-income areas. "We wanted to focus on giving kids an opportunity to excel and to achieve their dreams," Mr. Jordan said of the Jordan Fundamentals program, which he launched at John Philip Sousa Middle School in Washington. Under the plan, $1 million a year for the next five years in proceeds from the Nike sporting goods' Jordan brand will be used for creative projects by teachers in poor communities. "There are a lot of great athletes who never made it because they couldn't get into schools," said Jordan, who graduated from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill by attending summer school while playing pro basketball.

College Students: Interested in writing for us?

We are always looking for college students to write for our "On Campus" column. To contribute a column, e-mail Kim Campbell at: campbellk@csps.com Or, write to The Christian Science Monitor, One Norway Street, Boston, MA, 02115.

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