- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 27, 2002

Two women who know something about starting new careers first lady Laura Bush and first lady-turned-Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton joined to put in a plug yesterday for recruiting teachers by luring midcareer professionals from other fields.
The event at Powell Elementary School in Northwest was the first time the two women had promoted a favorite issue together. They greeted each other warmly, Mrs. Clinton at one point admiring a ring Mrs. Bush was wearing.
Last month they were at the same hearing on early childhood learning in the Senate, Mrs. Bush testifying while her predecessor sat across the witness table listening. Mrs. Clinton, New York Democrat, is the only first lady ever to be elected to office.
Yesterday, Mrs. Bush, Mrs. Clinton and Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, Texas Republican, told a small auditorium filled with teachers and fidgety third- and fourth-grade students that 2.2 million teachers must be hired in the next decade to handle an expected surge in retirements.
Mrs. Bush and the lawmakers promoted a program in the education bill recently signed by President Bush that allows certain professionals to enter the teaching field without going through the traditional time-consuming teacher training.
Mrs. Clinton and Mrs. Hutchison helped push through the amendment last year authorizing teacher recruitment efforts including the Transitions to Teaching program.
Similar programs are already in place in schools in some cities, including the District.
Mrs. Bush, a former teacher and librarian, said yesterday that since the terrorist attacks of September 11 there has been rising interest in public service. She urged Americans to consider teaching.
"I believe teaching is the greatest community service of all," Mrs. Bush said.
Mrs. Clinton said the program might take a cue from another successful recruitment effort in the Army and adopt the slogan "Uncle Sam Wants You to Teach."
"I have no doubt there is a tremendous untapped pool of potential teachers," she said.

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