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March 23, 2000

ULM announces teacher warranty agreement

University of Louisiana at Monroe President Lawson L. Swearingen, Jr., has announced an agreement with 13 northeast Louisiana school systems that guarantees the quality of teachers who complete ULM's undergraduate teacher education degree program.

Swearingen made the announcement at a Thursday news conference on the ULM campus where the University is hosting the University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors Thursday and Friday.

The Teacher Warranty Program is designed to maximize learning for all P-12 students. ULM implemented the agreement in response to a University of Louisiana System initiative in which ULS President Bobby Jindal asked the System schools to consider such agreements to help keep high quality, certified teachers in the classroom. Southeastern Louisiana University and McNeese State University have recently announced similar agreements. Jindal also participated in Thursday's press conference.

"We are pleased to make this announcement today because of the partnership it represents between this University and these school systems," Swearingen said. "ULM remains committed to working cooperatively with education professionals throughout northeast Louisiana to insure that students receive the finest instruction possible. We are very proud of the outstanding success of our College of Education and Human Development. Recently, our teacher technology was ranked in the top 4.3 percent of a survey of more than 400 schools nationwide. And in the latest reaccreditation visit from NCATE, our College of Education and Human Development received full accreditation with no weaknesses and no recommendation of change -- a very outstanding report, indeed. "

ULM, for its part, assures that all candidates completing an approved teacher education program:

Further, the University guarantees that any teacher so warranted will perform acceptably for a period of three years following the induction year (first year of teaching). Unacceptable performance will be defined as failure on the Louisiana Assistance and Assessment Program for first-year teachers or two consecutive years of significantly substandard ratings by the supervising principal. Teachers not performing acceptably according to the criteria will be provided one semester of undergraduate or graduate coursework specifically designed to focus on the areas of improvement needed by the teacher or a year-long intervention program through extended support from the College of Education and Human Development which shall be at the expense of ULM.

Jindal said the teacher warranties are part of a "seamless education experience" the UL System is creating through effective partnerships with the K-12 system. He said the goal is to make sure that every student who attends ULS schools knows what is expected of them, gets an excellent education, and graduates with the tools they need to guarantee their success.

"We warrant our teachers because we believe in their future success," Jindal said. "While future teachers are on our campuses completing their studies, we stand before them with the best instruction possible. We don't stop there. After our new teachers graduate, we stand behind them with any help necessary to guarantee their success in the classroom."

"Given that most teachers who leave the profession do so within their first three years, we want to help Louisiana reverse that disturbing trend and help retain excellent, career teachers," Jindal said. "When our classroom teachers succeed, our students succeed by advancing academically. In turn, Louisiana benefits through boosted economic development, productivity and prosperity."

"We are pleased to further extend the cooperative efforts between ULM and the public schools in the areas we serve," said Dr. Arlen Zander, ULM Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. "By way of these agreements, we are saying to the schools that we stand behind the claims we make regarding a quality educational experience for our students. And to the public at large, we are sending a message that their sons and daughters who are in the classroom of an ULM graduate will receive the finest education possible."

Superintendents and the school systems that have signed the Teacher Warranty Agreement with ULM are: Martha Simons, Caldwell; Keith Guice, Catahoula; Pete Peterman, Concordia Parish; Bobby Blount, Franklin; Archie Chandler, Jackson; Dr. Gerald Cobb, Lincoln; Dr. George Cannon, Monroe City; Michael W. Faulk, Morehouse; Dr. Lanny Johnson, Ouachita; John R. Sartin, Richland; Donald Pennington, Tensas; Mike Lazenby, Union; and Jerry Dosher, West Carroll.

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