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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The longer our students stay in our public system the poorer they do in science.

Just one or two US students out of every 100 scored well enough to be considered advanced in science according to a recent report by the National Assessment of Education Progress in Science. This gives a bleak forecast for America’s ability to stay competitive in the world technology markets.

“Highlights of the national results show that 34 percent of fourth-graders, 30 percent of eighth-graders, and 21 percent of twelfth-graders performed at or above the Proficient level, demonstrating competency over challenging subject matter.” The longer our students stay in our public system the poorer they do in science.

And of course the study points to the shortage of science and math teachers. There are no shortage of History teachers. This is not to diminish the role of History teachers but when we pay them as much as science and math teachers, the few science, math and engineering grads we have graduating from college these days will generally accept much better paying jobs outside of teaching. And even if they want to be a teacher, the school districts, with their teacher unions won’t hire a recent science teacher when they are laying off an experienced History teacher. With union seniority rules, the school districts will instead ask the History teacher to do their best at teaching Chemistry. What a mess.

Is it any wonder that only about 2.5% of college graduates today are US students in Engineering?

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