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From the Battle Field to the Education Field

A bipartisan group in Congress hopes to expand the federally run Troops to Teachers program, which has helped nearly 12,000 former military members go from the armed forces to the classroom in the past 15 years, according to the New York Times.

By all counts it is a diverse group. Men account for roughly 80 percent of the participants, and about 35 percent are members of minorities. Participants are being encouraged to fill some of the toughest teaching positions in math, science, and special education.

Congressmen introduced legislation in October of this year that would allow service members with four years of service or three months of active duty since the attacks of September 11th to participate in the program. (Currently, a service member needs six years of duty to become eligible.)

The vets who have found their way into the classroom have typically found the transition easier than one might expect.

"We're finding that these teachers seem to be able to really manage a classroom from the start, which is the biggest problem a lot of teachers have going in," said C. Emily Feistritzer, president of the National Center for Education Information. "And they come in thinking all children can learn, without any sort of socioeconomic biases."

"Either way, you still have to kind of wipe their noses a bit and kick them in the behind every now and then," said Tammie Langley, a former Air Force instructor who now teaches at Kannapolis Intermediate School near Charlotte.

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