Skip to comments.Stemming the Tide - Letís pay science and math teachers more.
Posted on 01/20/2009 7:55:40 PM PST by neverdem
The Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study, an international test of fourth- and eighth-grade student achievement, recently released its latest results. As in prior years, the mean U.S. scores were roughly on par with those in most developed nations in Europe, though well below those in Asia. But students in other developed nations far outpaced U.S. students in top-level science scores. For instance, only 10 percent of American eighth-graders performed at the highest level in science, placing the U.S. 11th among the tested nations and well behind countries such as England (17 percent), Japan (17 percent), and Singapore (an astounding 32 percent).
Its no surprise, then, that the U.S. also lags the world in the proportion of students earning a college degree in technical fields. According to the National Science Foundation, only about 17 percent of U.S. college graduates earned a degree in subjects related to science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM for short). Thats well below the world average of 26 percent. We trail not only economic competitors such as China (52 percent), India (24 percent), Japan (64 percent), and Russia (33 percent), but even Mexico (25 percent) and the nations of the Middle East (24 percent). These figures become even more disturbing when we consider that American colleges grant many of their STEM-related degrees to foreign students, the majority of whom go back home.
American schools simply dont produce the scientists and engineers whom we need to remain competitive in a technology-driven world. In their excellent recent book The Race Between Education and Technology, Harvard University economists Claudia Goldin and Lawrence Katz convincingly show that the economic and political dominance of the U.S. throughout the twentieth century was based on its better-educated workforce, which could create and swiftly adapt to new technologies. But weve been losing that edge since our educational attainment began to stagnate in the mid-1970sand as more nations surpass us in education, they also chip away at our economic dominance.
The troubles in STEM education mirror the broader problems of American K12 education. The primary issueand our best chance to make improvementsconcerns teacher quality. A wide body of research has consistently identified teacher quality as the most important means within a schools control to improve student learning. That likely goes double for STEM subjects, which require instructors not only to be knowledgeable but also to be able to convey difficult technical information in a graspable way. Attracting such people to STEM teaching requires a compensation system that recognizes their talents. Unfortunately, though, the way we pay public-school teachers todaybased exclusively on seniority and number of advanced degrees helddoesnt work.
Research consistently finds that these two attributes have little or nothing to do with teachers actual ability to improve student learning. Paying the same salaries to teachers of widely varying effectiveness is inefficient, to say the least. But another big problem with the current pay system, especially when it comes to STEM teaching, is that it compensates teachers in different subjects equally, too, and this ignores labor-market realities. With the same number of years in the classroom and the same number of advanced degrees, a high school gym teacher earns the same salary as a high school chemistry teacher.
A better system would pay STEM teachers more than their counterparts. After all, the skills required to teach STEM subjects are often more valuable in the broader labor market than those required to teach most other subjects. Of course, not every good math teacher would make a good engineer, and vice versa. But an individual with math and technology skills has more attractive job opportunities than, say, someone with the skills to teach elementary-level reading. The bottom line: public schools must dig deeper into the labor skill pool, hiring STEM teachers of lower quality than teachers in other subjects.
A system of differential teacher pay, on the other hand, could not only attract new teachers from the outside labor market, but also encourage the current crop of teacher talent to move into STEM subjects, which theyre currently shunning for understandable reasonsthe coursework required to become a teacher in a non-technical subject is much less demanding than whats necessary for STEM subjects. We need to give these people a financial motive to take the more difficult STEM path. Teachers unions support increasing the pay of STEM teachersso long as the pay of all other teachers goes up as well. But spreading dollars around equally means giving small increases to all teachers instead of large pay increases to those we most need.
We can still ensure that this century will be as much an American Century as the lastbut only if we address our students performance gap in math and science. And the best way to do that is to incentivize more teachers to master the hard stuff.
Marcus A. Winters is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute.
And then the fundamentalists got a jumpstart and haven’t helped the situation a bit.
Just like the enviro-fundamentalists keep pushing for science to be taught THEIR way? Right now, the enviros are winning, because the science curricula in almost every public school in the nation has adopted the AGW theory, and are teaching it to the kids. Algore and his minions have spent the money to hold seminars all over this country for teachers to learn about 'Climate Change' and pass that along to the skulls full of mush. Almost every high school has a 'Green' club, in which the students learn how to 'reduce their carbon footprint' and cajole their parents and everyone else in the world how to reduce theirs also.
The AGW 'Climate Change' crowd is every bit as 'religious' as the Creationists, they just think their religion is more important, because according to them, they CAN save the world, if everyone will just do as they say.
Because they get the best of both worlds, they control the money AND we pay for their failures through school tax, WHILE they blame us for their failures.
Liberals do that. Be it govt, education, you name it that's what liberals do.
You need to quit lying about me. I never advocated that.
Creationism is religion--everyone agrees to that.
No they don't. Creationism is not a religion; Christianity is.
What you want is that your religion be taught as fact, as verifiable evidence, and as science--
You need to quit lying about me.
but I suspect you don't want your claims to be subjected to the scientific method, to testing of the "weaknesses," if you will. To "critical thinking." You are glad to have "weaknesses" and "critical thinking" applied to the theory of evolution, but that's really the last thing you want for your own beliefs.
That's not true either. Christianity can stand up to the closest of scrutiny.
Sorry, you (and a couple of others here) are the poster children for anti-science fundamentalists.
I am not anti-science.
You really need to stop lying about me.
I don't know where you get this stuff but making stuff up about people and accusing them of it as if it were fact, is more than intellectually dishonest. It's just plain dishonest.
LOL...the miserably failed “peer review” fallacy once again....
evolution is never EVER seriously challenged without the challenge being attacked as religion.
It’s no longer a theory because it’s been hijacked by cultists like you.
Suing the opposition into silence is a great way to have control over curriculum without the bother of having to pay for the kind of education you want for your kids yourself.
Make everyone else do it if they don’t like what you force on them.
Those who don’t like the kind of education the majority of the parents favor have other options open to them, the easiest of which is to simply have their children opt out of the class for the day.
I have yet to see any evo willing to compromise in that manner as a solution to the problem rather than support federal government control of education.
And evos keep saying that science is not done by consensus.
Neither have I but this is hardly surprising since liberals never ever seek compromise. Liberalism is about tearing own all things Christian.It's not just science class, it's education in general, law, politics, jopurnalism, EVERYTHING public...liberals think they are God.
“You need to quit lying about me. I never advocated that.”
Rush Limbaugh points this out about liberals all the time, they can’t argue based on the merits or issues, so they project, present strawmen, and so on, and evo-cultists are among the worst liberals.
yup, along with "evolution doesn't pretend to address origins"...which begs the question, why do they get bent into pretzels when ID attempts to address origins?
I’ve wondered that for some time. If evolution doesn’t address origins, why do they get so bent out of shape when someone proposes something that does?
And if science doesn’t even have any good theories about origins, how can they tell us that we’re wrong? Based on what?
Scientists can handle more than one theory at a time. Each theory addresses a specific set of facts. The facts dealt with by the theory of evolution and the different hypotheses concerning origins are different. What you are bringing to the discussion is neither scientific nor evidentiary.
And if science doesnt even have any good theories about origins, how can they tell us that were wrong? Based on what?
You are advocating a particular narrow religious belief, not science. You are supporting your contention with scripture and divine revelation, not scientific evidence. To date you have presented no scientific evidence to support your contentions.
Science has approached the problem using the scientific method and has made some progress. That progress has not reached the level of a theory yet, but it is at least attempting to address the question with evidence, rather than divine revelation and belief.
And once again you are showing that you are anti-science. I don't know how you can claim to support science when you avail yourself of every opportunity to dispute both scientific methods and findings in favor of divine revelation.
Not so narrow. The Old Testament is Scripture for an awful lot of people in this world.
I don't know how you can claim to support science when you avail yourself of every opportunity to dispute both scientific methods and findings in favor of divine revelation.
Scientific findings confirm the account in Genesis that the universe had a beginning which scientists in the early 1900's tried so hard to deny.
Science confirmed that the earth was formless and void at one time, just like Scripture says.
Science claims that many animals came from common ancestors, which is not in conflict with God creating kinds and animals descending from them.
There are many areas where the findings of science verify Scripture, whether atheists and evos like to admit it or not.
Evos and atheists reject divine inspiration because they think that science is true. So why condemn someone who rejects some of the findings of science because they believe divine revelation is true? Why condemn someone for doing something you do yourself; that is accept what you believe as true and reject what you believe is false?
And once again you are showing that you are anti-science.
You really do need to stop lying about me.
You really do need to stop lying about me.
You have shown by your post that you accept revelation over science when the two conflict. That is anti-science, and I have told no lie.
You can believe what you want, but where we disagree is when you consider your beliefs to be science in spite of being contradicted by the methods and findings of science. If you tell me that your beliefs are religion, rather than science, we have no disagreement! It is when you try to distort what science does, and what it has found, that I disagree.
Someone really wants to win their banned from FR wreath from you anti-science luddites before he gets burned at the stake/sarc>
For someone who claims to be a champion of science we see little or no science but a lot of claims that cant be proven as true.
But, since youre here, could you be telling us what science text books it is that have been prepared for the day when the Creationists force the state and local education boards to approve religiously oriented science classes in the public schools? Those text books have to be prepared before anything else can happen, you know. And have the books been reviewed and accepted by the various regional accreditation associations? Then theres the curriculum outline and the course of study workbooks and the other teachers aids. Have those also been prepared and submitted for acceptance to the state ed departments and the accreditation associations?
It doesnt end there. Students have to be trained and certified by colleges to become the teachers of this new kind of exciting creation science of which you speak. Is that happening? And, what schools would it be that are preparing the teachers who will be conducting these classes? Can you name any? Almost assuredly, these schools would have to be bible-thumper colleges. State colleges and universities wouldnt be conducting any these classes. Would they?
So, are you able to relate to us any of those things? Or are you just blowing smoke? To this point all youve been doing is throwing out propaganda talking points that would do no credit to anyone better than a Liberal. The rhetoric youve been inflicting on the forum is approximately equal to what one would have heard at IWW district convention in the Thirties.
I have been working on a journal article, thanks. It should be submitted for that peer review process creationists hate so much within a week. And I peer reviewed an article by another researcher this week as well. And I have three major lectures in March for which I am preparing.
But thanks for asking.
But, since youre here, could you be telling us what science text books it is that have been prepared for the day when the Creationists force the state and local education boards to approve religiously oriented science classes in the public schools? Those text books have to be prepared before anything else can happen, you know. And have the books been reviewed and accepted by the various regional accreditation associations?
A text book? Sure, that's easy -- Of Pandas and People. But I don't think I would consider it as a science text book. And of course, there was this problem with a speed bump in Dover. Perhaps the problem is its evolution: Creation Biology (1983), Biology and Creation (1986), Biology and Origins (1987), and finally Of Pandas and People (1987) -- after the U.S. Supreme Court issued the Edwards decision. Details
What I do reject is the abuse and misuse of science as a tool to promote leftist and agenda and establish political policy. I reject the misuse of it to justify government control of education. I reject the misuse of science as a weapon with which to bash and discredit religious beliefs and to make the Bible out to be a lie.
My decision to not accept the interpretation of the forensic and circumstantial evidence found in the fossil record that are used to support the ToE does not mean that I am anti-science. All it means is that I do not accept the interpretation of the fossil record because I think that their interpretation is wrong and that there are other better ones.
By your own definitions, the best scientists can do is say that the evidence supports their theory. That's not good enough. That's not a better reason to accept the ToE rather than to accept Scripture. On the contrary, believing the God who doesn't lie makes much more sense than believing the uncertain, indeterminate conclusions of men.
Calling me anti-science is a lie, plain and simple. It is not true and will never be no matter how often you repeat it and how much you wish it were so.
Why don't THEY private school or homeschool at their own expense instead? The same option that they throw back in the face of anyone who objects to having their lives controlled by the liberal, big government cabal?