Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Stemming the Tide - Letís pay science and math teachers more.
City Journal ^ | 16 January 2009 | Marcus A. Winters

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).

It’s 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). That’s 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 don’t 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 we’ve been losing that edge since our educational attainment began to stagnate in the mid-1970s—and 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 K–12 education. The primary issue—and our best chance to make improvements—concerns teacher quality. A wide body of research has consistently identified teacher quality as the most important means within a school’s 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 today—based exclusively on seniority and number of advanced degrees held—doesn’t 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 they’re currently shunning for understandable reasons—the coursework required to become a teacher in a non-technical subject is much less demanding than what’s 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 teachers—so 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 last—but 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.


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Editorial; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: education; science; scienceeducation; stem; teacherpay; teachers
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first previous 1-20 ... 81-100101-120121-140141-156 next last
To: Coyoteman

And then the fundamentalists got a jumpstart and haven’t helped the situation a bit.


Uhhhh, show us the creationist/fundamentalist curriculum in public schools that did so much harm to science since the 60’s, confucius.


121 posted on 01/22/2009 2:17:45 PM PST by tpanther (The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing---Edmund Burke)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 103 | View Replies]

To: Coyoteman
And the fundamentalists keep pushing for science to be taught their way.

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.

122 posted on 01/22/2009 2:29:14 PM PST by SuziQ
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: metmom
...why don’t you homeschool them, or send them to a private school?

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.

123 posted on 01/22/2009 2:30:04 PM PST by tpanther (The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing---Edmund Burke)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 119 | View Replies]

To: Coyoteman; tpanther
You are advocating teaching religion as science; your religion in place of science.

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.

124 posted on 01/22/2009 2:31:27 PM PST by metmom (Welfare was never meant to be a career choice.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 105 | View Replies]

To: Coyoteman; metmom

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.


125 posted on 01/22/2009 2:33:19 PM PST by tpanther (The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing---Edmund Burke)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 113 | View Replies]

To: tpanther

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.


126 posted on 01/22/2009 2:35:48 PM PST by metmom (Welfare was never meant to be a career choice.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 123 | View Replies]

To: tpanther
LOL...the miserably failed “peer review” fallacy once again....

And evos keep saying that science is not done by consensus.

127 posted on 01/22/2009 2:37:23 PM PST by metmom (Welfare was never meant to be a career choice.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 125 | View Replies]

To: metmom
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.

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.

128 posted on 01/22/2009 2:42:41 PM PST by tpanther (The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing---Edmund Burke)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 126 | View Replies]

To: RochesterFan

Well said!!


129 posted on 01/22/2009 2:43:52 PM PST by SuziQ
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 74 | View Replies]

To: metmom

“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.


130 posted on 01/22/2009 3:13:52 PM PST by tpanther (The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing---Edmund Burke)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 124 | View Replies]

To: metmom
And evos keep saying that science is not done by consensus.

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?

131 posted on 01/22/2009 3:23:52 PM PST by tpanther (The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing---Edmund Burke)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 127 | View Replies]

To: tpanther

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?


132 posted on 01/22/2009 4:01:55 PM PST by metmom (Welfare was never meant to be a career choice.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 131 | View Replies]

To: metmom
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?

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 doesn’t even have any good theories about origins, how can they tell us that we’re 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.

133 posted on 01/22/2009 6:42:16 PM PST by Coyoteman (Religious belief does not constitute scientific evidence, nor does it convey scientific knowledge.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 132 | View Replies]

To: Coyoteman
You are advocating a particular narrow religious belief, not science.

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.

134 posted on 01/22/2009 7:19:20 PM PST by metmom (Welfare was never meant to be a career choice.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 133 | View Replies]

To: metmom
And once again you are showing that you are anti-science.

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.

135 posted on 01/22/2009 7:30:32 PM PST by Coyoteman (Religious belief does not constitute scientific evidence, nor does it convey scientific knowledge.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 134 | View Replies]

To: metmom

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.


136 posted on 01/22/2009 8:28:34 PM PST by valkyry1
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 134 | View Replies]

To: Coyoteman; metmom; tpanther; ari-freedom
Sure now, here you are again slumming in one of those humble ‘Net chat rooms wasting your time gabbin’ with ordinary folk when you probably ought to be preparing an important lecture for a seminar, or writing an article for a technical journal.

But, since you’re 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 there’s 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 doesn’t 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 wouldn’t 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 you’ve been doing is throwing out propaganda talking points that would do no credit to anyone better than a Liberal. The rhetoric you’ve been inflicting on the forum is approximately equal to what one would have heard at IWW district convention in the Thirties.

137 posted on 01/22/2009 8:37:36 PM PST by YHAOS
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 133 | View Replies]

To: YHAOS
Sure now, here you are again slumming in one of those humble ‘Net chat rooms wasting your time gabbin’ with ordinary folk when you probably ought to be preparing an important lecture for a seminar, or writing an article for a technical journal.

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 you’re 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

138 posted on 01/22/2009 9:07:04 PM PST by Coyoteman (Religious belief does not constitute scientific evidence, nor does it convey scientific knowledge.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 137 | View Replies]

To: Coyoteman
No, it isn't. I'm not opposed to research or the search for knowledge or the practical use of science in the form of technology. I do not reject the scientific method as a means to study the physical world. I do not reject teaching science and the scientific method in school.

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.

139 posted on 01/22/2009 9:16:56 PM PST by metmom (Welfare was never meant to be a career choice.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 135 | View Replies]

To: YHAOS
I'd still like to know why more the more reasonable options of opting out of the section on creation wouldn't wrok for evos? Why the need to ban it entirely from all schools against the wishes of the taxpaying parents whose children are being educated in those same schools?

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?

140 posted on 01/22/2009 9:21:14 PM PST by metmom (Welfare was never meant to be a career choice.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 137 | View Replies]


Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first previous 1-20 ... 81-100101-120121-140141-156 next last

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson