Teacher Shortage Easing Except in Key Math, Science, and Foreign Languages

As I was perusing stories around the internet I found in the Baltimore Sun a report that the perennial teacher shortage was easing. Apparently this always occurs at a downturn in the economy.

All is not well, however. The article states that there are still significant shortages of teachers

of special education, math, chemistry, physics and foreign language teachers. The state has designated those as shortage areas in its report released Friday.

Colleges and public schools have been working hard recently to produce more math and science teachers, said John Smeallie, acting deputy superintendent of the Maryland State Department of Education. Wiseman said College Park produced about 25 math and science teachers last year; that is expected to nearly double this year.

Still, two years ago, College Park produced one physics teacher and last year only two.

Wiseman noted that science teachers must complete all of the courses in their major as well as a full set of education courses. “That is a lot of work to do,” she said, given they will earn significantly less than their peers who go work in a lab or do research.

This is bad news. As the number of engineers and science grads increases in our major competitors for the future, India and China, our basic educational infrastructure is falling behind in its ability to provide a substantial science based curriculum to our children. We will undoubtedly lose our technical edge as a result.

I’m wondering more and more if the strategy that works for home schoolers would also work for in-school schooled (is that the opposite of home schooled!?) students. That is, that they have to learn it at home and within volunteer groups of students with similar interests.

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