Imagens das páginas
[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

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
Indiana students are now studying mathematics and science beyond ninth grade than a
decade ago. There has even been an 18% decline since 1972 in the number of students
taking algebra (compared to an 11% decline in total enrollment in Indiana public
secondary schools during the same period), and we must remember that algebra is the
key subject for further study in mathematics or science.
And how are we showing our determination to improve our educational programs? We
allow ourselves to rank 34th in the nation and last among Midwestern states in terms of
per pupil expenditures for education!

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.

[blocks in formation]

The AFL/CIO therefore has a number of recommendations for improving mathematics
and science education, Wright said. These include (1) encouraging students with talent
in mathematics and science to continue studying these subjects beyond high school,
(2) making school counselors more aware of job opportunities and their mathematics
and science requirements, (3) setting up scholarship funds to encourage students
talented in mathematics and science, (4) bringing teacher salaries more into line with
salaries for other professions, and (5) making funds available for continuing education
for teachers to help keep them up-to-date.
"The current and growing shortage of math and science teachers, and particularly good
ones, is occurring for the same reasons that students are not taking math or science:
lack of incentives," Dr. Frank Jaumot, the director of advanced engineering for the
Delco Electronics Division of GMC, argued.
"In industry we know that both the price and volume of a product are determined by the
marketplace if one wants to compete," Jaumot said. "If it means paying science and
math teachers more, whether directly or indirectly, so be it. If it means providing them
with better equipment than the home economics teacher, so be it."
Jaumot argued that Indiana should concentrate the training of mathematics and sci-
ence teachers in a very limited number of institutions and also require that teachers take
a reasonable amount of continuing education. He also said that more units of mathe-
matics and science should be required for students, even at the expense of units on sex
education, drugs and alcohol, nutrition and energy conservation.
Carole Garstang, vice president for the Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce, empha-
sized that partnerships linking business, industry and the schools are necessary both
for raising students' aspirations and interest levels in mathematics and science, and for
raising teachers' awareness of the use of mathematics and science in the real world.
All the panelists agreed that the economic well-being of the state depends on the
well-being of our schools. Several of the panelists suggested that differential pay for
mathematics and science teachers may be desirable but, by itself, will not solve the
problem. Other incentives are needed as well. All the panelists agreed that a closer
alliance between business, industry and the schools is necessary.

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
available jobs, and the kind of training that will be required for these jobs, are likely to
change dramatically in the next 10 to 15 years.
"The economic analysis section of our department is determining what we call the
targeted industries for the future in Indiana. They are significant in terms of why
mathematics and science, foreign language, and computer literacy and those related
subjects are important areas for concern in terms of our educational system," Mutz
said. He explained that these targeted industries are the communications/electronics
industry: the diesel engine industry; the materials industry, including the production of
steel and aluminum; and the energy industry, all of which will require a work force
knowledgeable in mathematics and science. He added that even the agricultural
industry, with the use of the new recombinant DNA technology, will require a highly
skilled work force.

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
Secondary Education, also said that stress and criticism should be applied to school
administrators who allow and foster unqualified personnel in the classrooms.
"I have heard case after case of qualified science and math teachers waiting to fill a
vacancy until after the coaching position was filled, because the highest priority in that
high school or middle school was getting a football coach who could if necessary teach
math, whether or not qualified, rather than getting that math teacher in," Schultz said.


But as bad as the teacher shortage is, the shortage should be even greater, Harold
Negley, the state superintendent of public instruction, explained.

"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.

21-390 O - 83


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
the salaries of science and mathematics teachers should not be raised above those of
other teachers. While inadequate salaries are a malignancy that continues to drive
teachers from the profession, Lumbley pointed out that there are many other problems
affecting teachers. He added that because of these problems, he can not counsel a
talented student to enter teaching.
"I could not, in good conscience, try to convince them to enter a field where the pay is
half of what they could receive in the private sector with the same background, where
the pressures of accountability are not based upon what you do and how well you do it
but rather on hearsay and personality conflict, where your product is never publicized
and seldom returns to say Thank you,' or where the hours that are necessary to
adequately prepare for the next day detract from the care and attention of your own
family members and their needs," Lumbley explained.

Lumbley stated that the conditions under which mathematics and science teachers
work must be improved. Some of Lumbley's recommendations include "that no science
laboratory course be conducted with more students enrolled than there are safe,
tunctioning laboratory stations available. that the science teacher be given the same
consideration in time and budget for preparing and maintaining curricular activities as
others are for extracurricular activities," and "that active support and observational
basis for that support create an awareness in the decision makers, the policy for-
mulators and the general public that the work of the science teacher is not simply an
amoeboid motion nor a puff of smoke."
Alfred L Bias, the principal of Elkhart Central High School, agreed that salaries and
working conditions must be improved, and added that the image of teaching as a career
should also be promoted both in the schools and universities and among the general
public. “Teachers want to be appropriately paid and appropriately respected," Bias

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
science education is the state's universities and technical colleges. It is in these
institutions that Indiana's teachers and skilled workers are trained. These institutions
also hold a large pool of scientists and educators who can be tapped to help retrain
teachers that are already in the classrooms, as well as providing the expertise needed
to design the programs and curricula that will be needed if the crisis is to be solved.
"I think we have come to the time where we must look for a revision of the state tax
structure," Allan H. Clark, the dean of the School of Science at Purdue University, told
the conterence participants. "The property tax freeze, the fact that we are very low in
income tax and in sales tax, simply means that we do not have the resources to do what
needs to be done and to make the improvements that need to be done"
Because Indiana's teacher shortages are severe, the state needs to move faster than
other states to solve the problem, Clark said. Incentives for elementary and secondary
school teachers should be increased, and the National Science Foundation Summer
Institutes for teachers, which ended eight years ago in the summer of 1974, should be
reinstituted, he added.

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
mathematics skills. He gave as an example a recent state-wide curriculum meeting
concerning their welding program Baldi said that welding instructors wanted two math
courses for their students but he thought that one would be enough: "because, after all,
it's just a welding course Until the welders told me, 'Well, all right. We'll go for one math
course provided you get the trig functions in the first mathematics course."
Many Indiana colleges have to focus on remedial education to supply skills that should
have been learned in high school, Baldi said "I do not think that there is a sufficient
amount of math, or science, or a few other meaningful subjects being required of
students. In fact, the graduation requirements seem to have reduced themselves to a
minimum common denominator approach which, in my opinion, can only lead to

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
that school corporation two years ago had $75 for a science budget that was to be used
by more than 300 students. That kind of effort on the part of the school administration is
insidious," Autt said.
All of the panelists agreed that the state must increase funding for the schools it quality
education is to be provided. It was repeatedly pointed out that Indiana must at least
bring the funding for its educational institutions up to the national average

« AnteriorContinuar »