The University of Maine- Fort Kent has announced the launch of an accelerated three-year bachelor’s degree program in education in fall 2010. The program is intended for “the academically-gifted and talented student aspiring to become an exemplary teacher.” Admission to the program will be competitive. The program seeks students with a high school gpa of 3.0 or better, standing in the top 15% of high school graduating class, SAT of 1500 or higher, ACT of 21 or higher, and early college and advanced placement experiences. Completion requirements don’t cut any corners. Graduates of the program must complete a minimum of 120 credit hours with a minimum 2.5 gpa, successful completion of Praxis I and II and one semester of student teaching.
I am very excited about the possibilities of this Main-Fort Kent’s program and other similar ones. We have to start to be innovative in attracting some of our best young academic talent into teacher education programs. It is not appropriate that a profession as vital to our nation’s prosperity as teaching should be the career of choice for those who can’t get into the career that they would really want to pursue. Programs such as this one help to put us back on the track of making teaching a career of choice rather than one of last resort. Clearly, it will take a whole lot more than attracting new talent to teaching to get our education system to where it needs to be. We need to also develop innovative programs to retain the outstanding talent that we have. But I am inspired by the program’s innovativeness. Let’s not be afraid to try new things and see what happens.