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Math + Teachers = Shortage

The fractions sixth-graders at a class in Union, N.J. are wrestling with aren't much different than the ones school administrators are trying to solve. The need for math teachers is greater than the supply and that is equal to a problem that some believe is already hurting our kids, reports CBS News Correspondent Jeffrey Kofman.

"To my mind that threatens the future of this country, because today this is an information age, we need math literate citizens," says Alice Artzt, a math professor at Queen's College, New York.

At education job fairs in New York and elsewhere, school recruiters are searching for qualified teachers.

"We are desperately looking for math teachers, definitely," says Noah Rogers of the Norfolk, Va., public schools.

That's because of the 200,000 math teachers in the nation's schools, more than a third don't have math degrees.

It used to be pretty easy to recruit math teachers. There wasn't much else you could do with a math degree. But now that same degree is a ticket into the high-tech world of computers, big business and big money. That's leaving schools with big vacancies.

The Omaha School District is here looking for 12 math teachers. The starting salary: $24,000.

"We're not only competing with other school districts, we are competing with business," says Sandra Hodges of the Omaha school district.

Sylvan Haseley is a rare breed. He has a degree in math and he wants to teach math. He's the kind of candidate school recruiters dream about.

"I feel very special because I understand math is very much in demand, I am enjoying it," Haseley says.

School administrators know there just aren't enough teachers like Sylvan Haseley. It's a problem even mathematicians can't solve. As they look ahead they just see it multiplying.

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