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Sputnik shook everybody up because it was something our enemies did that we could see. But this is a quiet crisis and a lot of people don't believe in it. They need to be informed.-Robert Jentgens, Crane Naval Weapons Station
In the past, students easily succumbed to the temptation to drop out of high school and take jobs as unskilled laborers, We must now convince students to stay in school and train for the more demanding jobs that may be the only ones available for them when they enter the job market.
Are students responding to the demands of the job market? Data indicate that fewer
At the same time that the state is facing a need for a population that is better educated in science and mathematics, it is facing a critical shortage of secondary school mathematics and physics teachers and a shortage of chemistry, earth science and general science teachers. In 1982, Indiana's four major state universities graduated only enough mathematics teachers to fill 58% of the teaching vacancies. Even more shocking are statistics indicating that in 1982 these same four universities graduated a total of 3 chemistry students, 4 earth science students, 4 general science students, and 2 physics students with qualifaications to teach in these areas. Moreover, several (if not all) of these graduates probably chose not to take teaching positions because of the inability of school systems to offer salaries anywhere nearly competitive with those that business and industry can offer to people with their training in science or mathematics. The states and the private sector must now assume a greater role in seeking ways of improving education. We have convened this conterence to provide a forum for the three major constituencies—the private sector, state government, and the educational sector--to give their perspectives of the problem and propose ways that each can act, individually or cooperatively, to provide the improved educational climate Indiana needs so badly. Too much is at stake in this effort to even contemplate failure.
The AFL/CIO therefore has a number of recommendations for improving mathematics
Government Perspectives on the Crisis
The need for the state government to be involved in any effort to improve mathematics and science education in Indiana's elementary and secondary schools should be obvious. The state is responsible for providing funds to operate the schools, for licensing the teachers and for establishing the minimum requirements for graduation Indiana Lt. Gov. John Mutz said that the state needs to spend more money for education, although the governor's policy for the past two years has been not to raise taxes despite increasing requests for money from the state's school corporations.
“'The kind of commitment government needs to make is the one that reflects the importance of education in the future," he said. “Additional investments in the future of this state are essential."
If we could get our superintendents and principals to put as much effort into finding qualified math and science teachers as they put into finding coaches, I think we would have part of our problem solved.-Marilyn Schultz
Mutz, who is also director of the State Department of Commerce, explained that
Marilyn Schultz, the state representative from Bloomington, agreed that Indiana needs more money for basic education programs in the elementary and secondary schools, as well as a substantial investment in equipment, including computers, for the schools. But money is just the starting point, she said. Some of the options Schultz suggested for recruiting more mathematics and science teachers were forgiving student loans for those entering teaching in critical shortage areas, state-funded retraining of teachers, putting emphasis on part-time teaching to allow graduate students and retired scientists to teach, state-supported summer programs for students and teachers, offering teachers summer jobs with business and industry, and giving teachers more career opportunities by offering them 12-month contracts.
Schultz, who is a member of the Governor's Select Commission on Primary and
But as bad as the teacher shortage is, the shortage should be even greater, Harold
"The real shortage is that there wasn't a group of youngsters out there who were pressing, and whose counselors were pressing them, to cause a shortage of teachers," Negley said. He added that if students were taking as much mathematics and science as they need, the teacher shortage would be much greater than it currently is. Negley pointed out that a grassroots movement for more science and math education has begun, but that more leadership from school administrators is necessary. He added that the Commission on General Education, which he chairs, will be pushing to raise the minimum requirements for mathematics and science in the schools.
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Public Schools Perspectives on the Crisis
Whatever initiatives are eventually taken to solve the problems in mathematics and science education, Indiana's teachers will be a central factor for their success. But the supply of teachers is dwindling steadily. In Indiana, only about one-third as many persons entered teaching last year as a decade ago. Furthermore, 10% of the teachers under 40 years old recently responded to an Indiana State Teachers Association poll by saying they definitely plan to quit teaching as soon as possible, and another 62% said they plan to leave but either had not decided when or were waiting for something better to come along. Clearly, if a solution to the problems of mathematics and science education is to be found, then teachers' concerns must be taken into account.
Cordell Affeldt, the president of the Indiana State Teachers Association and an elementary school teacher, emphasized that problems causing the shortage of mathematics and science teachers are also causing shortages of teachers in many other areas Furthermore, these problems are likely to become much worse in the next decade. Alteldt said, adding that the use of quick fixes, such as "bounty pay" (paying higher salanes to teachers of particular subjects) and the use of unqualified personnel in the classroom, is simply shortsighted and will not solve the basic problem.
In education, it seems at times that it is forgotten that our final product is a vital piece of humanity.-William Lumbley
William Lumbley, a chemistry teacher at Bloomington High School South, agreed that
Lumbley stated that the conditions under which mathematics and science teachers
There are pressures now at work that are likely to intensify all shortages in the future.-Cordell Affeldt
All of the panelists agreed that the problems affecting mathematics and science teachers also affect all teachers. They emphasized that a commitment to quality education from the state is desperately needed, not only in terms of higher salaries but also for regular, tunded inservice training and continuing education for teachers. They also suggested that teacher professor exchanges, summer employment programs for teachers in business and industry, and forgiveable loans for education students be established as soon as possible.
Higher Education Perspectives on the Crisis
They find a warm body to slip into a classroom somewhere and turn off the kids, which is virtually what happens from day one.-F. Keith Ault
One of the major resources available for combasing the crisis in mathematics and
Clark recommended that national standards should be set for elementary and secondary school curricula in mathematics and science: "Not accreditation, not a huge system of boards investigating school districts, but publish what the curriculum should be and how many years of chemistry, physics and mathematics students should have to prepare for various college opportunities
H. Victor Baldi, vice president of Indiana Vocational and Technical College, said that many high school graduates have insufficient backgrounds in mathematics to be successful in post secondary education, including vocational training. Because of this, IVTC and other two-year institutions have to place tremendous emphasis on remediation and developmental studies
"Before the student can get down to the business of studying whatever he or she came to study, there has to be some effort to provide them with the basic skills to be successful enough in a particular program," Bladi explained, adding that the inability to handle mathematics is one of the major reasons why students drop out of their courses
Baldi said that mathematics is particularly important because all courses require
Money will not solve all the problems ... but certainly, this is one problem that wouldn't be hurt by having some money thrown at it.-Allan H. Clark
F. Keith Ault, a professor of chemistry at Ball State University, agreed that students are not learning enough mathematics and science, and suggested that part of the problem is the public's perception of the importance of these subjects.
"There is a school corporation within 20 miles of Muncie. I won't mention the name, but