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Three Harvard Students to Receive Bonus for Teaching

$20,000 pledge is part of campaign to improve teaching

By Barbara E. Martinez, CRIMSON STAFF WRITER

The most recent Massachusetts teacher certification tests showed dismal results--43 percent of first-time test takers failed to pass the test, according to results released Monday.

The results from the first test administration in April 1998 were even worse, prompting Massachusetts politicians to institute a series of incentives to attract talented adults to the profession of teaching.

As a result of one of these initiatives, the Teacher Bonus Program, three Harvard seniors will receive $20,000 over the next four years as a reward for teaching in Massachusetts public school districts.

But Abdur-Rahman Syed '99, William S. Triant '99 and Liana R. Tuller '99 said that their excitement to teach--rather than the bonus--drew them to apply.

Tuller and Triant said their interest in local schools stems from experience in Harvard's Phillips Brooks House Association (PBHA) programs.

"It made sense to continue there," Tuller said, adding that her interest in the local community began when she participated in the Freshman Urban Program.

"That made me aware of the importance of being involved in the community outside of Harvard," she added.

Although Tuller participated in UTEP, which means she could have been certified in Massachusetts, another benefit of the signing bonus program is that recipients do not need formal certification.

Instead, the signing bonus recipients were screened in a rigorous selection process and will attend a full-time training program this summer.

Triant said the chance to teach without certification is the main attraction of the bonus program. Next year, he will be expanding the PBHA program CHANCE--in which Harvard students work with students at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School-to other high schools and colleges.

He hopes to teach in one of the schools participating in the program.

"This program allows you to teach without being certified. I was very excited to be able to do that," Triant said.

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