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Educating Teachers of Science, Mathematics, and Technology: New Practices for the New Millenium
Local, state, and federal governments should recognize and acknowledge the need to improve teacher education in science and mathematics, as well as assist the public in understanding and supporting improvement. Governments should understand that restructuring teacher education will require large infusions of financial support and make a strong commitment to provide the direct and indirect funding required to support local and regional partnerships for improving teacher education in these disciplines.5 They also should encourage the recruitment and retention of teachers of science and mathematics—particularly those who are “in-field”—through financial incentives, such as salaries that are commensurate and competitive with those in other professions in science, mathematics, and technology; low-interest student loans; loan forgiveness for recently certified teachers in these disciplines who commit to teaching; stipends for teaching internships; and grants to teachers, school districts, or teacher education partnerships to offset the costs of continual professional development.
For Collaboration Between Institutions of Higher Education and the K-12 Community
Two- and four-year institutions of higher education and school districts that are involved with partnerships for teacher education should—working together—establish a comprehensive, integrated system of recruiting and advising people who are interested in teaching science, mathematics, and technology.
For the Higher Education Community
Science, mathematics, and engineering departments at two- and four-year colleges and universities should assume greater responsibility for offering college-level courses that provide teachers with strong exposure to appropriate content and that model the kinds of pedagogical
A recent survey by the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) has concluded that nearly 40 percent of science teachers in the United States are considering leaving their jobs. The primary reason cited was job dissatisfaction, with low pay and lack of support from principals the most likely causes of this dissatisfaction (Education Week, April 19, 2000). A report from the Texas State Teachers Association pointed to similar levels of dissatisfaction among teachers in that state (Henderson, 2000). In comparison, for all subject areas, nearly 20 percent of 1992-93 teacher graduates who entered public school teaching in 1993-94 had left the profession within three years. The brightest novice teachers, as measured by their college-entrance exams, were the most likely to leave. Teachers who did not participate in an induction program, who were dissatisfied with student discipline, or who were unhappy with the school environment were much more likely to leave than their peers (Education Week, 2000).