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of the problem. For example, Indiana is one state that currently reports a
shortage of math and science teachers; it 18 also a state that requires only
one year of mathematics and one year of science for high school graduation.
If the Indiana Department of Public Instruction doubles the math and science
credits required for high school graduation, as is presently planned, the
problem will worsen immediately. In 1982 Indiana's four major state univer
sities graduated sufficient mathematics teachers to fiu only 58% of the
vacancies listed in Indiana schools.
In 1982 these four universities graduated
a total of three people in chemistry, Pour in earth science, four in general
science, and two in physics who were qualified to teach these subjects in
Indiana secondary schools.
Some high schools no longer even offer physics
or advanced courses in foreign language. (It 18 not necessary to list a
teacher shortage 1f you have dropped the course.) The statistics about
our shortages are grim; but they do not reveal how truly serious the problem
In part, schools now manage the problem of teacher shortage by dropping
Student Interest and Competence in Mathematics, Science, and Foreign
Languages. Most of the facts presented to us deal with declines in high
school student performance on standardized examinations, the low rates of student participation in secondary school courses, and the growth in remedial courses in college. But the problem begins earlier than the facts suggest.
Students have lit le opportunity to study mathematics, science, and foreign
language in the elementary grades, where such subjects typically begin in
other nations. The result is that our students acquire fears or phobias
toward these subjects before they reach secondary schools. Attitudes are
set early. Few students choose a career involving math, science, or foreign
language in college if they have not acquired a sound background in these
subjects in junior high and senior high school. Most of our elementary school
teachers have little background in these subjects and tend to give them less
We shall not solve the problem of inadequate science, mathematics,
and foreign language instruction until we begin to have a greater impact on
instruction in the elementary schools as it relates to these subject areas.
Yet, consider the magnitude of retraining more than 1 million elementary
Worker Competence. Much attention has been directed to such issues as
inadequate preparation for college, shortages of engineers, and other problems
affecting the best educated of our population.
Too little attention, in my
view, has been devoted to the mathematics, science, and technology competence
that will be required of all Americans.
The fact is that the kind of education
that everyone will need to participate in an increasingly scientific, technological,
globally-interconnected, information-processing, service-oriented society is not
the same education we deemed sufficient in the past. The ability of our schools
and colleges to help us through a period of rapid transformation of the work
place will likely prove decisive for the economic future of our society.
Currently 20 million workers, 20 per cent of the labor force, are employed in
blue collar manufacturing. By 2005 it has been estimated that only seven to
twelve million workers, or five to ten percent of the work force, will be
engaged in blue collar manufacturing jobs. The decline in birth rates, the
need for greater worker productivity in order to make our products more
competitive with those of other nations, and the appearance of entirely new
products and services will force curriculum changes on the schools.
Following is a list of jobs that are forecast to be available in 1990.*
Many of these jobs did not even exist ten years ago.
Consider their implica
tions for science, mathematics, and education in technology.
Industrial Laser Process Technician 2,500,000 jobs
It is not likely that the schools and colleges can provide all of the
particular technical skills such workers will require. But industries will
demand greater entry-level performance in all of the basic skills, if workers
are to acquire the technical skills needed.
In short, schools must educate
to new levels of "literacy" that include: math literacy, science literacy,
computer literacy, and ability to read technical manuals and other materials
appropriate to the job.
For the past 15 to 20 years, we have asked the public schools to pursue
two main goals: increase access to schooling and equalize opportunity for all
groups in our society. By these criteria the schools have been remarkably
We provide formal schooling for more full-time students than do
*Marvin Cetron and Thomas O'Toole. "Careers with a future: Where the Jobs Will Be in the 1990's." The Futurist (June, 1982) 14-15.
most other Western nations.
More than 75 percent of American youth ages 15-19
are full-time students; comparable per centages for youth of the same age are
51 percent for France and Germany, 44 percent for Great Britain, and 40 per cent
for Italy. We have also shown progress in equalizing opportunity for all
Americans, regardless of race, social class, or ethnic identity. Thirty years ago approximately 55 per cent of white students graduated from high school
whereas only 30 percent of black students graduated. Today, 85 per cent of
white students and 75 percent of black students complete high school.
not want to lose these gains, but now we must ask whether the kind of schooling
we are providing is sufficient.
It is not enough merely to complete high school
or attend a college. Education must be closely geared to the kind of society
in which young people will live and the kinds of careers they will have.
should be obvious that there is a considerable gap between what the schools
provide now and what they must be able to offer in the future.
The Appropriate Response to these Problems at various Levels of Government, and by the Private Sector
The effort to bring about changes in schooling so as to provide a proper
education for Americans now and in the future will require cooperation among
all levels of government
local, state, and Federal
and with the private
I wish to postpone my comments on the Federal role until the last
section of this paper.
And rather than offer general comments about what state
and local governments can do in collaboration with the private sector, I should
like to report briefly on some efforts underway in Indiana.
First of all, it should be noted that Indiana
like its sister Great
has been hit hard by the recent recession. Unemployment in
January was 13.8 percent; in some cities such as Kokomo, Anderson, and Fort
Wayne, unemployment has been hovering near 20 per cent.
In spite of this
or perhaps even because of it
Indiana's political and business
leaders have decided that Hoosiers should devote more attention to their
schools. Approximately one year ago, the Governor, with the advice and support
of the ceral Assembly, appointed a Select Advisory Commission for Primary
and Secondary Education; Commission members include representatives from
both Houses and both political parties of the General Assembly and lay people
drawn from communities across the state. They have submitted a preliminary
report whose recommendations have already taken the form of legislation; a
final report is due within a year.
Last summer and fall, a group of scientists, mathematicians, and
educators at Indiana University held discussions on what could be done to
advance the cause of science and mathematics instruction in the state of
One result of their discussions was a state-wide conference held
on October 19, 1982 on the Bloomington campus of Indiana University.
than 300 persons from all sections of the state attended the meeting to hear
leaders from government, business, labor, higher education, and the public
schools express their concern about the status of science and mathematics
instruction and what should be done about it. (A copy of the conference
report is attached to this testimony.) At the end of the conference the
participants approved a set of recommendations aimed at strengthening math
and science instruction in our state. Many of these recommendations have
subsequently been adopted by relevant groups.