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6 Recruiting Scientists, Teachers, Technicians, and Physicians THE GENERALITY OF BASIC EDUCATIONAL GOALS IN SCIENCE The efforts to improve biological education that occurred in the 1960s were motivated by the competition of the Cold War and an anticipated shortage of scientists and technicians. The present concerns with science education, however, run deeper. There is good cause to worry about the rate at which we are training scientists, mathematicians, and engineers, although the shortages are more severe in some fields than in others Wetter, 1987; Atkinson, 1989; Green, 19891. We are also concerned that an insufficient number of talented and energetic young people are choosing to pursue careers as precollege science teachers. In addition, the limited interest in and understanding of science by most students, many of whom do not pursue further schooling after high school, constitutes a serious national problem. These students will become voters in a society of increasing technological complexity. Increasingly, they will seek employment in technical settings in which capacity for observation, inference, and simple calculation are likely to be prerequisites for even entry- level positions. In many ways, therefore, the students who do not continue with science constitute our largest challenge. We are convinced that instruction in biology that plants the seeds of discovery, awakens students to the beauty of the world around them, and instills some understanding of fundamental biological concepts will serve the interests of most students. Many students who now enter college expressing an interest in science nevertheless look back on their high-school science experiences as obstacles they have surmounted, rather than as gardens they have entered. The basic goals of a good tenth-grade course are appropriate for all students those who will become scientists and those who will pursue other careers. 72
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RECRUITING SCIENTISTS, TEACHERS, TECHNICIANS, AND PHYSICIANS 73 The phrases "science as a way of knowing" and "science as process" carry the conviction that science should be learned by doing. A substantial consensus has developed among investigators of "giftedness" that an environment that encourages inquiry provides the best opportunities for all students to learn (Brandwein and Passow, 1989~. The role of the laboratory (as described in Chapter 4) is therefore central to successful instruction; if opportunities are made available to all, students with the appropriate abilities and interests will identify themselves with scientific activities with an appropriate degree of challenge (Brandwein and Passow, 1989~. In some schools, it might be possible to provide opportunities for involvement in the scientific process outside the classroom and outside the curriculum. That involvement can be especially important in sustaining the enthusiasm of the students most likely to pursue . . careers in science. AN IMPORTANT ROLE FOR UNIVERSITIES AND UNIVERSITY SCIENTISTS We have not been very systematic about our quest to improve teaching, even though we value it highly and frequently do well at it. I am struck, for example, by the lack of conversation about what pedagogy means, and what makes it successful. It is our profession, yet it is mysteriously absent from our professional discourse. Here we are, engaged in an activity that is vital to ourselves, our students, and our publi~yet we speak of how to do it, if at all, as though it had no data base, lacked a history, and offered no innovative challenges. Donald Kennedy (1990) Most universities in the United States are staffed by outstanding science faculties. The faculty members are grouped into a series of departments, which are formed according to traditional research disciplines, such as biology, biochemistry, chemistry, physics, and geology-each with between 10 and 60 faculty members, depending on the discipline and the size of the university. The world leadership of the United States in the sciences depends on the excellence of these departments, which is maintained by competitive forces of three types: (1) Each faculty member competes nationally for the research grants that are required for the establishment and continuation of a first-class research effort. For biological scientists, the major funding sources are the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Science Foundation (NSF). The competitive nature of the system guarantees that the limited resources available for biological research are distributed to those best able to use them. (2) In each field of science, different universities compete to attract out- standing graduate students from a limited pool of college graduates. Success in recruiting these sophisticated young people nationally and internationally requires that the faculty members of each department work together to create
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74 FULFILLING THE PROMISE an effective graduate teaching and advising program, in which each member's efforts contribute to a departmental atmosphere in which most graduate students will prosper. (3) The central university administration often apportions new faculty po- sitions and other resources among the many departments in its university according to the total number of students that each serves. Each department in a university therefore competes with its sister departments to attract under- graduate majors. The courses that departments offer to undergraduate science majors are usually taken quite seriously by both the faculty and the department chairmen. If these courses are well taught, the department will be able to recruit a larger number of undergraduates to major in its discipline, and over the long run the department can hope to expand. Thus, competition for the limited pool of students within each university has a beneficial effect on the quality of the education that its undergraduates receive in their major fields. The various competitive forces described above encourage faculty members to concentrate their efforts on their own laboratories and on graduate and undergraduate teaching programs that cater to the students wishing to specialize in their discipline. Most successful faculty members in science departments are already overcommitted from their efforts in research and "professional" teaching (the teaching of graduate students and undergraduate majors). It should therefore not be surprising to find that other important responsibilities of the university- in particular, providing good science training to precollege science teachers and to nonscience majors have traditionally been seriously neglected. At present, the major pressures with regard to the aspects of a science professor's job that are most relevant to this report are all negative ones. Because the time and effort spent on precollege teachers and on conscience majors are bound to detract from the time available for department majors, graduate students, and research efforts, success in the former endeavors may be viewed as hurting the department, rather than helping it. Thus, the current reward system for university faculty helps to explain the unsatisfactory nature of the general science training that we provide to most of this country's undergraduates (Westheimer, 1987~. The current reward system also explains why most university scientists and science departments do nothing at all for the precollege science teacher. By providing neither preservice nor inservice training, most university science departments have cut off themselves and their students from the world of precollege education. This is clearly detrimental for the precollege teacher; in addition, the faculty thereby sends a clear signal of disapproval to any student who might otherwise wish to choose such a career. University science departments therefore must accept a share of responsi- bility for the present unsatisfactory situation with regard to science education. Despite their world-renowned excellence in scientific research and advanced
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RECRUITING SCIENTISTS, TEACHERS, TECHNICIANS, AND PHYSICIANS 75 teaching (or perhaps because of it), our universities have become a significant part of the problem of inadequate K-12 education in science. The university scientists must strive to make precollege science teachers visible members who are respected by university scientists and treated as colleagues with shared goals. That represents a complete change from the present situation, in which precollege science teachers are routinely ignored by the research universities in their communities. Precollege teachers will benefit from the help and status that they derive from their university contacts. But the universities will also benefit from the interaction, because their students will become familiar with many precollege teachers and thereby with an important career option that most of them would otherwise never consider. Recommendations · The various national organizations of college and university pres- idents, professors, and administrators should be made aware of their role in the crisis in precollege science education in the United States. They should act together, in concert with professional organizations of scien- tists, to develop new reward systems on each campus that counteract the present tendency of science departments to ignore the training of precol- lege teachers. In particular, university leaders must make it clear to their science departments that the quality and quantity of the service that each department provides to precollege science teachers (both preservice and inservice training) and in the general education of Conscience majors will be important considerations in the distribution of university resources and faculty positions. · Universities should develop programs that integrate all interested local precollege science teachers into the various science communities of the university. Possibilities include partnership programs between the precol- lege teacher and faculty, postdoctoral researchers, technicians, and graduate students; periodic laboratory tours for teachers and their students; avail- ability of surplus equipment and supplies to the teachers; science contests for students; and summer research opportunities for both teachers and outstanding students. · Major universities should be encouraged to develop permanent summer inservice institutes for precollege science teachers, on the basis of successful model institutes held elsewhere. Outstanding faculty from uni- versity science departments should be recruited to teach in these institutes, side by side with outstanding precollege mentor teachers. The professional organizations of teachers, scientific societies, and state academies of science can do more to provide information to students on college and university campuses about careers in science teaching. For example, the National Association of Biology Teachers could work with
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76 FULFILLING THE PROMISE college departments of biology and career-placement offices to schedule visits by outstanding precollege teachers and otherwise to make sure that information about opportunities in teaching is readily available. THE NEED FOR A NATIONAL FELLOWSHIP PROGRAM TO ATTRACT OUTSTANDING YOUNG PEOPLE INTO TEACHING Gifted students or those who are excited by biology do not require a conceptually different curriculum from other students. The needs of all students will be best met by seeing that classrooms are staffed with able teachers who have a deep understanding of concepts, enjoy teaching science as a process of discovery, and are flexible and creative in addressing the needs of individual students. All the recommendations in this report are directed to that goal. The future supply of outstanding science teachers is therefore central to improving science education. Recruitment of future life-science and biology teachers (grades 6-12) and of those able to teach natural sciences (grades K-5) is a major issue with which none of the reforms suggested by the Holmes and Carnegie groups deals directly. Recommendations have been made to raise both the entrance (grade- point average) and exit (National Teacher Examination or other competence- examination score) requirements for programs educating teachers. Such changes might improve academic competence, but they will not address recruitment of future teachers. Common practices, both subtle and overt, discourage biology undergraduates from electing careers as precollege teachers. Discouraging able students from teaching careers begins in the high schools, where biology teachers actively encourage their best students to become scien- tists, not science teachers (Kahle, 1985~. It continues in college, where biology faculty discourage undergraduates indirectly by failing to present information about teaching options and directly by opining that precollege teaching is not a worthy choice of career for able students. Recommendation A particularly promising mechanism for addressing teacher recruit- ment is a national fellowship program in which selected prospective teachers are paid for their schooling. Such a program could have several features that would further collateral goals as well: A competitive fellowship program could attract some of the most able biology or education majors into science teaching. It could be of immense help in reaching minority groups that are underrepresented in the teaching force. With foundation underwriting, it would be possible to couple the use of fellowships with institutions that have shown interest and imagination in
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RECOUPING SCIENTISTS, TEACHERS, TECHNICIANS, ED PHYSICI^S 77 addressing the kinds of changes that are required in preservice education. Prestigious fellows who have studied at institutions that created the best conditions for research have made some of the most important contributions to science, and a corresponding formula needs to be tried in education. -Fellowships need not be exclusively for future high-school science teachers; they could be used to attract future science specialists for ele- mentary schools and middle schools, thereby boosting the prestige of that calling, as well as increasing the numbers of such teachers. -Similar fellowships could be offered to established teachers. In the most ambitious form, they might be used to underwrite year~long sabbaticals, during which teachers would attend a university and participate in the development of new preservice and inservice programs, as well as improve their own knowledge of science. SEX, DEMOGRAPHICS, AND RECRUITMENT Most scientists, engineers, and science teachers have been white men; women and minority groups have been underrepresented. The asymmetry has many reasons, and there are many reasons for seeking change. Among the latter is one that follows from demographics. Forecasts for the United States indicate a shifting composition of the workforce, which will be aggravated by a projected shortfall of scientists and engineers in the coming years (Atkinson, 1989; Green, 1989~. In 1982, the population of students 5-17 years old was 73.3% white, 14.9% black, and 8.9% Hispanic; but by the year 2020, these numbers will have become 52.7, 19.8, and 23.9% respectively. In 25 of the nation's largest cities, minority groups already contribute most of the students (Vetter, 1989), and the trend is expected to continue. Yet those fastest-growing segments of the American population are generally lost from the science pipeline. Women and minority groups must be encouraged to help to bridge the gap between the decreasing supply and the increasing demand for scientists and engineers. Research suggests why women and minority-group members do not traditionally enter science and engineering careers. Among the cultural and social factors contributing to the male-female discrepancies in achievement in science and in choice of science as a career are educational and attitudinal differences between boys and girls that influence who goes on to study science and mathematics (Kahle and Lakes, 1983~. A growing body of research indi- cates that many white girls and minority-group boys and girls have substantially different experiences in science from white boys in grades K-12. For example, they have fewer routine daily experiences with the tools, materials, and equip- ment of science, and they are called on less often in science classes (Kahle and Lakes, 1983; Whyte, 1985~. Moreover, an analysis of 1976-1977 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) data showed that, "by age nine, females, although expressing similar or greater desires to participate in science
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78 FULFILLING THE PROMISE activities, had consistently fewer experiences than boys of the same age.... At ages 13 and 17, girls again reported fewer classroom and extracurricular science activities than boys" (Kahle and Lakes, 1983, p. 131~. Similarly, a study of minority-group attitudes toward science based on 1976-1977 NAEP data showed that, "overall, black students appear to like science, but, perhaps due to their limited exposure and experiences, many do not understand its methodology, technology or potential" (Kahle, 1982, p. 542~. The author concluded that science programs and curricula had not capitalized on the positive attitudes exhibited by members of minority groups. Women and minority groups are often dissuaded from science, either consciously or unconsciously, by teachers, parents, and guidance counselors (Linn and Hyde, 1989~. Moreover, because they often do not have as much exposure to science activities as white males, their ability to decide about careers in science and engineering is more limited. As the Committee on Policy for Racial Justice (1989, p. 2) has concluded: The essential problem lies not with the academic potential of black children but with unproductive institutional arrangements, lowered expectations, and narrow pedagogical processes that characterize the American educational system. Attracting Women and Minority-Group Members into Research Careers in Biology Numerous public and private efforts are being made to increase the par- ticipation of women and minority-group members in science and engineering careers. The Task Force on Women, Minorities, and the Handicapped in Science and Technology, established by Congress, was charged "to develop a long-range plan to advance opportunities for women, minorities and the handicapped" (Task Force on Women, Minorities, and the Handicapped in Science and Technology, 1989~. The task force was composed of representatives of 15 federal agencies and leaders in the private sector and education. It has issued recommendations requesting that actions be taken by school boards, states, the federal govern- ment, universities, industry, and the entertainment media to create a climate of high expectation for students from underrepresented groups to pursue careers in science and engineering. Private foundations and institutes have also taken an active interest in encouraging women and minority-group members to pur- sue careers in science and engineering. Appendix F describes several of their efforts.
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RECRUITING SCIENTISTS, TEACHERS, TECHNICIANS, AND PHYSICIANS Attractine Women and Minority-Group Members into Teaching Careers in Biology 79 The increasing cultural and linguistic diversity of the student population needs to be matched by an increasingly representative teaching force. Apart from considerations of social equity, diversity constitutes a pragmatic reason for wishing to have better representation of minority groups among the nation's teachers. But minority-group teachers are leaving teaching, and the number of new ones entering the profession is decreasing, in large part because of the lure of other opportunities. In the view of some, the widespread use of standardized tests both admission tests, such as the SAT and ACT, and teacher certification tests has put minority groups at a disadvantage in entering the profession (Ryder, 1989~. In addition, the enrollment of blacks in 4-year colleges and universities has decreased during the 1980s. Although Hispanic enrollment has increased since 1980, this group is still underrepresented (Alston, 1988; NRC, 1989b). Unless more minority-group students go to college, the pool from which minority-group teachers will be drawn will remain small. Currently, minority groups (black or Hispanic) make up a small percentage of science teachers: 13% in grades K-3, 12% in grades 4-6, 7% in grades 7-9, and 6% in grades 10-12 (Weiss, 19871. Similarly, whereas 94% of teachers in grades K-3 and 76% in grades 4-6 are women (grades for which little or no specific science training is required), only 41% of science teachers in grades 7-9 and 31% in grades 10-12 are women (Weiss, 19871. Conclusions Studying science as a process of discovery about the natural world is appro- priate for all students, whether or not they will ever be professionally engaged in science and teaching. Practices that discourage girls and minority-group children from achieving their full potential in science and mathematics must be identified and eliminated. The disparity between the number of minority-group children and the number of minority-group teachers is growing. Moreover, programs for educating teachers must compete with other attractive professions for students. Current efforts to restructure the teaching profession-which will result in greater professionalism, higher salaries, better working conditions, and more appropriate assessment techniques will all make teaching more attractive to the ablest minority-group students. Recommendations · At all grade levels, teaching strategies are needed that encourage the active involvement of girls. That will be easier if the teachers in the early grades, most of whom are women, can be made more comfortable with
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80 FULFILLING THE PROMISE science. The recommendations in the sections on preservice and inservice programs bear on this need. · Those who develop preservice and inservice science and science- education courses need to be aware of research that demonstrates how prospective and practicing teachers can develop and implement specific teaching behaviors and instructional strategies that lead to more equitable science classrooms. · Greater attention should be paid by colleges and universities to recruiting women and minority-group members to careers in science and science teaching. To that end, stronger links could be forged between the historically black colleges and graduate and professional schools in research universities. Community colleges represent another source of potential talent that has not been fully tapped. · To interest students in science, and women and minority-group members in particular, teachers should be provided with up-to-date infor- mation on career opportunities in the biological sciences, including such diverse fields as biotechnology, agriculture, wildlife management, ecology, and biomedical research. Ideally, such information should be supplied as part of preservice education, but to keep up with changing technologies and demographics it should be updated regularly and made available na- tionally. The task of conveying the information to students requires special knowledge of biology and is therefore not appropriately left entirely to guidance counselors. Much of the organization and support of our system of public education originates locally; constructive involvement of everyone with a stake in the outcome is essential to its success. For example, early awareness of the wide array of vocational opportunities available to students with an interest in biology should help motivate them and raise their expectations for success after gradua- tion. The information provided to students must be current, must relate to local conditions, and must, wherever possible, engage the cooperation of potential employers. The participation of local employers can vary widely: making known their needs for entry-level positions, involving themselves directly in inservice programs, offering advice to students and teachers on research projects they have undertaken, and providing opportunities for students and teachers to become engaged in research projects. The various community-based activities that foster involvement of parents (such as some of those described in Appendix F) should be encouraged and extended.
Representative terms from entire chapter: