The United States is experiencing a teacher shortage, and school systems from New York to California are feeling the pinch. Many children in kindergarten through grade 12 returned to school this fall to find overcrowded classrooms, substitute teachers, or in some cases, no teachers at all. Qualified science and math teachers are especially scarce. What's more, as the school-age population grows and a significant number of baby boomers who teach prepare for retirement, the U.S. Department of Education has projected that the nation's schools will need to hire 2 million new teachers in the next decade.

To meet this need, schools are trying all kinds of innovative approaches to recruit teachers--everything from holding out-of-state job fairs to offering hiring bonuses. But a highly qualified pool of potential teachers is being overlooked. Ph.D.s in science and math know their fields well and could greatly improve the way these subjects are taught...

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