Troops to Teachers:

Program Helped Address Teacher Shortages

GAO-01-567: Published: May 25, 2001. Publicly Released: May 25, 2001.

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In response to a shortage of math and science teachers and reductions in U.S. military personnel, Congress created the Troops to Teachers (TTT) program in 1992. Until 1995, the program, which was run by the Defense Department, offered stipends to program participants and incentive grants to school districts to hire TTT teachers. Congress transferred the program from DOD to the Department of Education in 1999. This report reviews the program from its beginning in January 1994 until its transfer to Education. GAO found that 13,756 former military personnel applied to the program and were accepted. Of these, 3,821 were hired as teachers from 1994 through 2000; more than 90 percent of those applicants hired as teachers remained in teaching after the first year. However, these participation figures most likely represent the minimum number of former military personnel who used the program's services and became teachers because the figures include only those persons who formally applied to the TTT program and who completed follow-up surveys. Compared with all teachers nationwide, a higher percentage of TTT teachers overall taught math, science, special education, and vocational education and taught in inner city schools and high schools. Factors such as stipends, incentive grants, economic conditions, and state initiatives may have influenced the number of people who applied to the program and became teachers.

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