• Recommendation 6. Provide new teachers with a support system.

BACKGROUND

In the early 1990s, the DOD began downsizing military bases and other operations which greatly affected the economy of Southern California. The aerospace industry was especially hard-hit. From 1988-1993, approximately 108,000 jobs were lost in aerospace in Los Angeles, Orange, and San Diego Counties.1 This accounted for the loss of over $4 billion in wages and almost $3.5 billion in other indirect services. One-third of the unemployment claimants from aerospace were long-term unemployed, with especially high rates for engineers, scientists, and older workers. One-fourth of reemployed aerospace workers found jobs in retail and low-skill service industries. African American and Hispanic workers suffered from higher than average layoffs and lower than average reemployment.

At the same time, Southern California schools were suffering a shortage of well-qualified mathematics and science teachers, especially in large urban centers such as Los Angeles. At the start of the 1993 school year, LAUSD had a shortfall of approximately 100 science and mathematics teachers.2 Moreover, in many inner city secondary schools in Los Angeles, as well as other urban districts, over 50 percent of the mathematics teachers were not credentialed to teach mathematics.3 In some cases, these teachers were teaching on an emergency credential and possessed a rich content background, but little knowledge of how to present the material to students, especially ethnically diverse students and students coming from impoverished environments. In other cases, these teachers were credentialed in disciplines other than mathematics, and thus did not have sufficient content expertise.

In 1993, as LAUSD prepared their Urban Systemic Initiative proposal to the National Science Foundation (NSF), teacher preparation and enhancement in mathematics and science was placed at the “highest priority.”4 LAUSD administrators and teachers were especially concerned with the quality and quantity of mathematics and science education in their inner city schools, the facts and figures of which coincided with those reported nationally.5 In large urban school districts, fewer than 7 percent of high school students were taking advanced mathematics courses and fewer than 10 percent were taking advanced science courses. Among Hispanics and African Americans, the figures dropped to 2.7 percent for those taking advanced mathematics courses and 6.8 percent for those taking advanced science courses. Jane Butler Kahle, a noted science educator from Miami University of Ohio, has identified increased availability and enrollment in

1  

International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, data collected from diverse sources, 1994.

2  

Christopher Holle, United Teachers of Los Angeles, report to Planning Meeting, 1993.

3  

Los Angeles Unified School District Urban Systemic Initiative (LA-SI) report, 1994; Superintendent, Santa Ana School District, personal communication.

4  

LA-SI. Proposal submitted to the National Science Foundation, 1994.

5  

Strategies for Success: Achieving the National Urban Education Goals. The Council of Great City Schools, proceedings from meetings with representatives of 70 national education business and philanthropic organizations. 1991.



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FINAL REPORT TO THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE On the DEFENSE REINVESTMENT INITIATIVE Recommendation 6. Provide new teachers with a support system. BACKGROUND In the early 1990s, the DOD began downsizing military bases and other operations which greatly affected the economy of Southern California. The aerospace industry was especially hard-hit. From 1988-1993, approximately 108,000 jobs were lost in aerospace in Los Angeles, Orange, and San Diego Counties.1 This accounted for the loss of over $4 billion in wages and almost $3.5 billion in other indirect services. One-third of the unemployment claimants from aerospace were long-term unemployed, with especially high rates for engineers, scientists, and older workers. One-fourth of reemployed aerospace workers found jobs in retail and low-skill service industries. African American and Hispanic workers suffered from higher than average layoffs and lower than average reemployment. At the same time, Southern California schools were suffering a shortage of well-qualified mathematics and science teachers, especially in large urban centers such as Los Angeles. At the start of the 1993 school year, LAUSD had a shortfall of approximately 100 science and mathematics teachers.2 Moreover, in many inner city secondary schools in Los Angeles, as well as other urban districts, over 50 percent of the mathematics teachers were not credentialed to teach mathematics.3 In some cases, these teachers were teaching on an emergency credential and possessed a rich content background, but little knowledge of how to present the material to students, especially ethnically diverse students and students coming from impoverished environments. In other cases, these teachers were credentialed in disciplines other than mathematics, and thus did not have sufficient content expertise. In 1993, as LAUSD prepared their Urban Systemic Initiative proposal to the National Science Foundation (NSF), teacher preparation and enhancement in mathematics and science was placed at the “highest priority.”4 LAUSD administrators and teachers were especially concerned with the quality and quantity of mathematics and science education in their inner city schools, the facts and figures of which coincided with those reported nationally.5 In large urban school districts, fewer than 7 percent of high school students were taking advanced mathematics courses and fewer than 10 percent were taking advanced science courses. Among Hispanics and African Americans, the figures dropped to 2.7 percent for those taking advanced mathematics courses and 6.8 percent for those taking advanced science courses. Jane Butler Kahle, a noted science educator from Miami University of Ohio, has identified increased availability and enrollment in 1   International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, data collected from diverse sources, 1994. 2   Christopher Holle, United Teachers of Los Angeles, report to Planning Meeting, 1993. 3   Los Angeles Unified School District Urban Systemic Initiative (LA-SI) report, 1994; Superintendent, Santa Ana School District, personal communication. 4   LA-SI. Proposal submitted to the National Science Foundation, 1994. 5   Strategies for Success: Achieving the National Urban Education Goals. The Council of Great City Schools, proceedings from meetings with representatives of 70 national education business and philanthropic organizations. 1991.