School Districts Recruit from Foreign Countries

Discussion in 'Job Seekers' started by RainStorm, Sep 13, 2008.

  1. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

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    Sep 13, 2008

    I found this article today and it was very interesting. Evidently, there still are teaching shortages in some places in the USA -- since districts are going so far as to recruit teachers from overseas. A neighboring district brought in 30 teachers from the Phillipines last year. I thought that seemed strange -- but according to this article, it is becoming more common-place.

    BAY MINETTE, Ala. (AP) -- The school system in coastal Baldwin County - 60 miles by 25 miles of Alabama farmland framed on two sides by waterfront towns - was short on teachers, especially in courses such as math and science.

    So short, in fact, that district officials went around the world last year, with expenses paid by a teacher recruiting firm, and brought back Michel Olalo of Manila and 11 other Filipinos to teach along the shores of the Gulf Coast and Mobile Bay and in the communities in between.

    That raised some eyebrows in Baldwin County, where nine out of 10 people are white, just one in 50 is foreign-born and, as the county's teacher recruiter Tom Sisk noted recently, "Many of our children will never travel outside the United States."

    Yet school administrators throughout the U.S. are plucking from an abundance of skilled international teachers, a burgeoning import that critics call shortsighted but educators here and abroad say meets the needs of students and qualified candidates.

    "All my friends were applying," said Olalo, hired through San Mateo, Calif.-based Avenida International Consultants to teach physics. "I thought, why don't I try it? Luckily, when I was lined up for an interview, it was people from Baldwin County."

    The U.S. Department of Education doesn't monitor how many foreigners are working in American classrooms, spokeswoman Elissa Leonard said, but a federal survey released in May confirmed the dearth of math and science teachers, chiefly due to retirement by baby boomers.

    As far back as five years ago, the National Education Association estimated that up to 10,000 foreigners already were teaching U.S. students in primary and secondary schools, mainly to fill vacancies in math, science, foreign languages and special education.

    The largest single sponsor of foreign teachers, according to the NEA, is Chapel Hill, N.C.-based Visiting International Faculty, which claims it has 1,500 teachers from more than 55 countries in districts in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland and California. The firm has placed teachers mostly in the South as it branches out from its Chapel Hill base, spokeswoman Leslie Maxwell said.

    Critics view the international teacher market as a quick fix that can frustrate students and foreign hires alike.

    If foreign teachers "are recruited into schools and communities lacking the kinds of support that all new teachers need, they may not stay," said David Haselkorn, policy research director at the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation in Princeton, N.J., which recruits recent college graduates with education degrees and professionals from certain fields to teach in low-income communities.

    Janet Lipscomb, president of the Parent Teacher Organization at Foley High in Baldwin County, said the students liked the Filipino teachers but some experienced a "communication gap," particularly when students used slang.

    "The students cut up a lot. Some of that may have been misinterpreted by the teachers," said Lipscomb, a substitute teacher at the high school.

    But Chris Fredrick, an 11-year-old at Cedar Grove Middle School in Decatur, Ga., enjoys the earth science class taught by Uzma Masood, who was recruited by Georgia-based In-talage Inc. to come from Hyderabad, India.

    "I like her. I like what we do in class. We're active in the class. We're not just sitting there all day," he said.

    On a recent school day, students were highly responsive to Masood as she constantly walked around the classroom and encouraged students instead of just lecturing them.

    "I like her class because sometimes if we don't understand something she'll break it down for us," said Pedruna Adams, also 11.

    Masood, 32, wearing black pin-stripe pants, a turquoise Indian tunic and a black hijab on her head, spoke with an accent as she conducted activities that got students up out of their seats in the classroom, which looked typical for 6th grade. Big block letters cut out of blue construction paper were across the front, above the white board: EXPLORE THE WORLD THROUGH SCIENCE.

    "I always introduce myself on the first day and tell them I'm from a different country and explain that I have an accent and they can ask me if they don't understand something. Usually within two or three days they get used to it and don't have any problems," Masood said.

    "She is a wonderful teacher," said Agnes Flanagan, principal of the school. "I don't understand some people's philosophy of not wanting visiting teachers. I wouldn't mind having a building full of them. She's very dynamic and the kids love her."

    Philippine Education Secretary Jesli Lapus said the Philippine teachers hired for U.S. classrooms are those most proficient in English and who look at America as "a second home ... it's not like a strange place."

    "These teachers, they all grew up reading American books," he said.

    Proponents note that international teachers typically have a higher level of subject expertise in the classroom and can expose young students to a new culture.

    Also, the pool of candidates overseas is much bigger than locally.

    "We interviewed 180 applicants in five days" in Manila, Sisk said. In the U.S., he did not meet that many candidates on visits to 20 or 30 colleges.

    Immigration officials say the temporary work visas used to hire foreign teachers create no path by themselves to permanent U.S. residency, and teachers have no advantage over any other group seeking the visas.

    For foreign teachers, the U.S. job market offers much better pay than at home. Lapus said the starting monthly salary for a public school teacher there is about $300 a month. In Alabama, the starting salary set by state law is about 10 times more - a minimum $36,144 for a teacher with a bachelor's degree and no experience.

    "This is the global rule of the game now," Lapus said in an interview in Manila.

    He said the hiring of Filipinos for U.S. jobs is a testament to their competence and is a loss, but not a large one, to the Philippine education system, which has 500,000 public school teachers and some 30,000 new ones taking the licensing exam each year.

    "We cannot even absorb all those who pass," he said.

    ---
     
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  3. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Sep 14, 2008

    This idea of hiring teachers from outside countries really upsets me. There are teachers here, right here, in our country that are struggling to find jobs (even in math and sped) and it is like a slap in the face when I read articles like this. Are we not good enough to teach in our own schools? When is the US going to start caring about the people that live within its borders rather than what's going on outside?

    And this quote reads to me like teachers here aren't teaching like this, when this is how we've been taught to teach.

    Maybe I'm just bitter because I don't have a job, maybe I'm tired because its midnight and I need to go to bed....
     
  4. SarahJ

    SarahJ Companion

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    Sep 14, 2008

    I think its wrong too, to hire from outside before interviewing local candidates. They should give local candidates first choice, then neighbouring states, then the rest of the USA, then international. If there truly was a shortage, then its fine, but I've seen SO many people on here saying that they just cannot get a job. I think its the same all over the world. Not fair.
     
  5. Malcolm

    Malcolm Enthusiast

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    Sep 14, 2008

    In the United States, foreign teachers require a H1B visa. It can only be issued if the employer can demonstrate that he is unable to fill the position at the going rate from the local work force. There will never be many of them compared to U.S. citizens because there is a very limited supply of H1B visas, and they are snapped up quickly by high tech companies. Also, their stay is limited to six years.

    School districts generally have no incentive to hire foreign teachers other than the fact that they cannot find qualified teachers locally. They pay the same salary, and they have the costs of recruiting and obtaining visas in addition.

    School districts do recruit out of state. Nevada school districts were recruiting in California earlier this year (before the budget meltdown there).
     
  6. Shinchan

    Shinchan Rookie

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    Sep 14, 2008

    I don't have a problem with it. Other countries hire U.S. teachers also. I think most of the places that use foreign teachers are districts that have had difficulty attracting U.s. teachers...like the Alaskan district mentioned.
     
  7. USCgrad

    USCgrad Companion

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    Sep 14, 2008

    I agree with you STG....


    living in guam and seeing the quality of education being given to the local children in the public school system, i venture to say the culture is not always different in a good kind of way....


    also, well, i wont get into what i am thinking....

    lets just say, i do not see it as a good thing. regardless of why....
     
  8. Malcolm

    Malcolm Enthusiast

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    Sep 14, 2008

    I guess, there always is the possiblity of teachers whose first language is not English having difficulty communicating effectively with the students. OTOH I have worked with teachers who are foreign born citizens or resident aliens from all over the world who, although some have a distinct accent, manage to do just fine. The same goes for cultural differences. I have worked with teachers who went to school in cultures where students were expected to obey teachers and might even be beaten if they didn't. They managed to adapt to our undisciplined kids. And the kids adapt quickly to them.

    I am curious as to what others see as other downsides.

    Guam isn't representative of anywhere in the United States proper in any way.

    FWIW elementary teachers are a glut in most areas of the country and I would be surprised if many foreign elementary teachers are recruited for the United States public schools. It is true that some teachers in subjects that are in high demand nationally, such as math and science, may not be able to find a job locally. But that is because they choose not to go where the demand is. There is no right to be able to teach in the area in which you currently live. Sometimes you have to go where the jobs are.
     
  9. USCgrad

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    by mentioning Guam, i was referring to cultural differences....

    also, there are many Filipinos in Guam.
     
  10. USCgrad

    USCgrad Companion

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    Sep 14, 2008

    i wanted to add that i do not want to insult anyone...we all have different opinions based on our various experiences in life....

    i will leave it at that.
     
  11. chemteach55

    chemteach55 Connoisseur

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    Sep 14, 2008

    In some places, there is a shortage. In East Baton Rouge Parish, they always hire from foreign contries. It makes the news every school year but even with the foreign teachers, they have not filled every vacancy. If you go to their website, there are plenty of openings in elementary, middle, and high school. If no American teachers are applying, then someone has to be in that classroom.
     
  12. USCgrad

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    i can see this point.....i just hope that quality of education is still a huge consideration...and since the article mentions that it is working out....it must not be an issue!
     
  13. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    Sep 15, 2008

    This really upsets me when schools do this. AMERICAN teachers are paying very large sums of money to bust their butts in edu courses, do observation hours, and student teach for WHAT!?! To be told we're not good enough and have other people from different nations come and teach our American students. Really really sad and really angry :(
     
  14. Electron

    Electron Rookie

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    The thing is, lots of American applicants simply aren't good enough to teach advanced high school science. Almost nobody who has certs in physics, chemistry etc. is out of work unless their local districts just happen not to be hiring and they choose not to move a hundred miles or so.

    Recruiting foreign teachers in the short term is the only way to get the teachers in those classrooms so that we can get American kids through the system and, in the future, this dearth of science-qualified people can change.
     
  15. Malcolm

    Malcolm Enthusiast

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    Don't know what it is like in your state, but in California passing CSET is sufficient to demonstrate that you have sufficient content knowledge to be successful as a first year teacher (Commission of Teacher Credentialling words, not mine). So, if a appropriately credentialled local candidate is passed up in favor of a foreign teacher, it would be in violation of federal law. OTOH I have never heard of this happening for a math or science teacher, or any other teacher for that matter. Interestingly, I know several foreign born and educated teachers. They were already living here with green cards and completed a California teacher credentialling program.

    My experience with foreign nationals and recent immigrants is that this country gets a bargain by hiring them. They do often come with academic and technical qualifications far exceeding their U.S. counterparts. The one area in which they seem to be lacking is teaching. With the exception of a few countries, most do not prepare teachers at all like the U.S. But they adapt with time.
     
  16. Badger41

    Badger41 Rookie

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    I don't know if this will make people feel any better or worse, but many districts in southern states, especially Florida, heavily recruit around here (Wisconsin and Madison in particular) because UW-Madison has such an exceptional School of Education. I have known quite a few teachers/recent grads in the past few years who were hired practically on the spot, and these aren't just hard to fill vacancies, they're for elementary education and other secondary subjects.

    I never had any interest in going anywhere south, so I have no experience with any of these districts or the process, but districts are combing both international and national areas. One of my friends had her pick of three districts who offered her jobs.
     
  17. chemteach55

    chemteach55 Connoisseur

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    This is true because I am one of less than 100 active teachers who are certified in both physics and chemistry. I get job offers that I do not even apply for. These are jobs that cannot be filled. The other place I have seen foreign teachers hired is a local school district that can never hire enough teachers and most that are there are only getting experience to go to one of the higher paying districts in the area. I know that this district hired 12 foreign teachers at the beginning of this school year. Several were math and science but several were also placed in elementary ed classrooms. If you go to the district website, there are still 14 elementary and middle school jobs that are available. While I would hate to see foreign teachers put in classrooms where American teachers should be but there still is a teacher shortage in some areas. When I first started readng these boards, I was shocked that there is not a teacher shortage everywhere because in my area many are teaching uncertified because there is no certified teacher available for the job.
     
  18. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    Ya, tell that to the American educators who DO have a science edu degree and license and can't get a job because they districts are hiring these people from other countries. If you were in their shoes, you'd be po'ed big time.

    I've seem them take other subjects as well--- I've seen one lady who could barely speak a word of English teach LITERATURE!?!

    Really I wonder if they just do it to pay them less or what. I still think it's a bad idea.
     
  19. Canadian Gal

    Canadian Gal Habitué

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    BioAngel - I was recruited by several southern school districts as a foreign teacher. I have been able to find jobs in Canada and have chosen to never explore the American option, based largely on hearing opinions like yours. The fact is, foreign teachers are paid the same rate (and sometimes more - the credentials we recieve in Canada differ slightly and are sometimes considered more valuable in certain places) as American educated teachers.

    The fact is, that all of these unemployed American educated teachers are simply not in the right place at the right time, or are unwilling to move.
     
  20. chemteach55

    chemteach55 Connoisseur

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    Very true--there are places that need teachers even elementary but unemployed teachers must be willing to move to these areas or the jobs remain unfilled.
     
  21. nasimi77

    nasimi77 Groupie

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    I couldn't agree with you more STG. I have heard about this trend and it's infuriating to me.:mad: IMHO just points to how broken the educational system is. I do think we seem to care more about others than taking care of our own. However, I suppose that's a different topic all together.:whistle:
     
  22. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    So I guess I haven't been in the right place at the right time for two years now. And after being passed up for jobs for 2 years now, we have decided to move; however, we have to have a job before moving. Its a double-edged sword. I want to move, have been applying for every position in NC that comes available that I'm certified for, have gotten some responses back, but they are reluctant to hire me because I'm out of state and they need someone quick since school as already started.
     
  23. USCgrad

    USCgrad Companion

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    i am thinking that many jobs may simply be a matter of getting somebody in the door....i also do not think it is a matter EVERY TIME of choosing the foreign educated candidate because they are "better" it could possibly be that they are needed, plain and simple....

    however, i do feel there should be laws that require school to fill jobs with US citizens over those with work visas and the like....after all, a US citizen is paying taxes to support the school. a us citizen has contributed to the education system here in some way their entire lives...and they know our system.....

    just my 2 cents!
     
  24. tagalicod

    tagalicod New Member

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    My, my,my.... what a very intense news article and replies/comments we have in here for hiring foreign or international teachers! Read on....

    I am currently assigned in a school somehwere in Calif. as a para-ed.There are 3 para-ed and one teacher for 7 autistic kids ages between 14-17. Mind you, I am the only one teaching and motivating the mind of these blessed kids who can not walk straight,... can not speak audible words, etc.etc. I change their diapers, ...I passionately teach them one on one....basics...like shapes, colors,letters repeatedly time after time. I act like a grade one student as well ,and engaged them in activity...like throwing balls, kicking balls... etc. These kids are the one who eats by feeding them, throw tantrums in a split seconds, or just snap in any noise or thing seen! The real teacher?...Here is what he says all the time:" I will just make some copies of these papers. or ...I will just talk to somebody on room 5. or ...Have them outside in the sand area." The other para-eds.....sitting down on the chair under the shade and chit-chatting!!
    I am a Filipino, I am a professional teacher who passed the borad exams in the Phil. with 13 years of teaching experience, with lots of seminars and teaching demonstrations and certifications accounted and merited! I have been here in US since 1994 and was told I could not teach until I pass the CBEST. After years of ignoring my real love for teaching, I applied last year as para-ed to feel the air of a classroom one more time and see if I still have that longing. And ,I found out I still love to teach..... now tell me fellow Americans (I am a US citizen long time)... why kids love foreign teachers....
     
  25. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    I agree that your situation is wrong, tagalicod, and probably not uncommon in some classrooms around the country. Were you recruited to come and teach in the US back in 94 or move on your own?

    And students love any teacher who show a care and love for them, whether they are native Americans or foreign.
     
  26. USCgrad

    USCgrad Companion

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    i am from the us and kids love me. wonder why? could it be that I too have a passion for teaching and like you, care what kind of service i provide when tasked to do a job?

    there are many many both foreign and american employees who do not care to provide quality work in every field......


    i guess my problem with it goes back to what some have said and many have felt.....the us gives gives gives gives gives gives gives to other countries....to the point of threatening the well-being of the very people who have no choice but to pay taxes on mostly everything they have worked very very hard for.....and for the jobs (no education obviously) to be outsourced to other countries while many US citizens struggle to feed their children and can not find a job...is outrageous.....

    now I am not opposed to a person getting a job over me that is better qualified for the job than I.....I am very much opposed to you getting a job over me JUST because you are a foreign....and no other reason (for the record, you sound much more qualified than me.)

    It is not so much about being foreign as it is TRUE EQUALITY in consideration.......am i making sense at all to anybody?


    and again......QUALITY of education is what needs to be considered....go with the teacher that is going to provide the best service to the children.....and while they are at it...go through your school and rid yourselves of the kind of teachers described above!!
     
  27. Canadian Gal

    Canadian Gal Habitué

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    Sep 17, 2008

    The US gives and gives what to people from other countries? Maybe this is a political thing for me, but I'm utterly LOST by this statement.
     

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