From the Chronicle of Higher Education comes news that the Obama administration is looking to augment the number of science and math teachers in American elementary and secondary schools through college partnerships:
Leaders of 121 public universities have pledged to increase the total number of science and math teachers they prepare every year to 10,000 by 2015, up from the 7,500 teachers who graduate annually now. Forty-one institutions, including California’s two university systems and the University of Maryland system, said they would double the number of science and math teachers they trained each year by 2015.
The new initiative is part of Obama’s Educate to Innovate program, announced in November, that aims to improve math and science education through government partnerships with academia and industry.
For years Americans have worried about a shortage of people competent to teach math and science in public schools. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, almost 30 percent of public schools had trouble finding math teachers in 2003-04. The Business-Higher Education Forum estimated that schools are going to need more than 200,000 new math and science teachers in the next ten years.
This is promising, though it’s somewhat unclear how the universities are planning to train these new math and science teachers. Grueling freshman survey courses in the sciences are famous for turning students off science for life.