Thursday, June 04, 2009

The crisis in math, science

Solomon Friedberg writes this op-ed in the Boston Globe:
This week's announcement that nearly three-quarters of aspiring elementary school teachers failed the math section of the state's licensing exam is the latest example. ...

Last June, the National Council of Teacher Quality, a nonpartisan research and advocacy group, reported that the average 2007 mathematics SAT score of high-school seniors planning to major in education in college was 32 points below the national average for all college-bound students. And colleges themselves are too often not helping. The council surveyed 77 education schools, and it rated 37 of them as "fail on all measures" in preparing elementary teachers to teach math. The situation in science is no better - a 2007 report of the National Academies described the scientific knowledge of K-8 teachers as "limited" and "often quite thin." ...

To break the feedback loop, we need a new Mathematics and Science Education Act. Its principal points should include:

# Financial incentives to attract mathematically and scientifically able students to become teachers.It should provide low-interest college loans for top math and science students who want to become teachers, with debt forgiveness for those who remain teachers for a certain period of time.

A focus at colleges and universities on developing math and science content knowledge along with teaching skills. We must ensure that new teachers know these subjects thoroughly - the why, not just the what.
No, this is completely crazy. Our colleges graduate plenty of people with the necessary competence to teach math and science. These suggestions will not help anything.

The K-8 schools in the USA have been taken over by women who hate math. They have joined teachers unions who insist that pay be based solely on seniority and education degrees. They get tenure after a couple of years. If a man wants to teach kids, he is suspected of being a pedophile.

American K-8 math and science education will never improve until the systemic problems are addressed.

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