Massachusetts has started a fast-track certification program to combat the shortage of highly trained math and science teachers in its schools, reports the Boston Globe. Just two years ago, Sean Duffy, 29, was a laid-off hydraulics salesman. Now, he’s in his second year at Durfee High School, trying to awaken a class of ninth-graders to the mysteries of scientific notation and unit conversions. Duffy is one of 14 new teachers, mostly mid-career switchers, who have arrived at Durfee since last fall as part of a new program at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth that is sending a small army of math and science teachers to Fall River and New Bedford. After a crash course in taking the qualification test, they obtain their teacher licenses and begin immediately running their own classrooms, earning full pay while still working toward their postgraduate degrees. Although still in its infancy, the program is serving as a model for Governor Deval Patrick’s statewide effort to remedy a critical shortage of qualified math and science teachers, which is particularly acute in urban districts. Under a proposal made by his education task force, about 60 teachers would be dispatched annually to schools with many low-income students…

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