Douglas earmarks money for teacher diversity program

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(Host) The Douglas administration is throwing its financial support behind a program that encourages people from ethnic minorities to become teachers in Vermont.

Under the Vermont Teacher Diversity Scholarship Program, individuals who make a commitment to teach in the state are eligible to receive up to $4,000 a year in student loan forgiveness. The maximum award is $12,000 over a three-year period.

But the program is having some financial difficulties and Governor Jim Douglas has agreed to include $100,000 in next year’s budget for the organization. Phyl Newbeck, who’s the director of the group, says participants from the program are making a big difference:

(Newbeck) “I think that they’ve really had quite an impact in the Burlington area. Melita Sedic is really an inspiration not only to the Bosnian children – she’s a Bosnian immigrant – but to really all the immigrant population at that school. And in Whitingham, which is a very small rural school, Pedro Pereira has founded a Latin percussion ensemble which apparently has been quite a success in that school.”

(Host) Newbeck says three individuals from the program are currently teaching in Vermont and seven others will join the state’s teachers corps once they graduate from college.

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