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ODU Professor Owings' Troops to Teachers Studies Cited in Time Magazine

William Owings, graduate program director and professor of educational leadership at Old Dominion University, was quoted in an Oct. 8 Time magazine story, "From Iraq to Class: Turning Troops into Teachers."

Owings, who has worked on two studies of the TTT program, is quoted in the story saying, "Principals and other supervisors have reported that these teachers worked better with problem children, worked better with parents and worked better with colleagues." He also notes in the story that, according to administrators' observations, "the TTT people rated higher in exhibiting behaviors that are associated with increases in student achievement."

Troops to Teachers is a U.S. Department of Education and Department of Defense program that helps eligible military personnel begin a new career as teachers in public schools where their skills, knowledge and experience are most needed.

As noted in the story, the TTT program provides up to $10,000 for personnel leaving military service - due to retirement or after having served six years or more of active duty - to obtain a teaching certificate.

The story, written by Gilbert Cruz, states that TTT was established in 1994, and is now being considered for expansion. Cruz writes: "But as successful as the 15-year-old program has been, supporters say it needs to enlarge its talent pool in order to attract the waves of younger troops returning from hot spots such as Iraq and Afghanistan and making the not-always-easy transition to civilian life. A pair of House members, Connecticut Democrat Joe Courtney and Wisconsin Republican Tom Petri, are getting ready to introduce legislation that would greatly expand the program by opening its doors to tens of thousands of veterans of all ages."

Owings was the lead investigator of the 2006 study, "Troops to Teachers' Classroom Effectiveness: Implications for Principals," which was published in vol. 90, no. 2 of NASSP Bulletin, a journal published by the National Association of Secondary School Principals.

His second study, currently under peer review, was previously cited in a June 4, 2009, Washington Post story. "Basically, we examined student data from Florida comparing student achievement in TTT classrooms with student achievement in the classrooms of traditionally trained teachers teaching the same subject who had similar years of teaching experience," Owings explained. "The TTT teachers' students made greater achievement gains than in the comparison group."

Others working on this study were Leslie Kaplan, a retired administrator with Newport News Public Schools, and two faculty members from the ODU educational foundations and leadership department, John Nunnery and Shana Pribesh.

This article was posted on: October 12, 2009

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