Monday, March 10, 2008

Oh, You Silly....!

The News Tribune is a great punching bag, because they almost never get it right. The latest example of that is this editorial from the March 7th edition talking about the general low state of math education in Washington. Consider:

Washington’s community colleges have long complained about the large numbers of incoming students who need remedial math instruction. But when University of Washington professors join the chorus, you know our math problem has reached epidemic proportions.
Yes, because unless the U-Dub says it, it must not be true. Never mind that math has been an integral part of the WASL since 1993, or that "Math Wars" has become part of the cultural vernacular, or the many reports that have chided K-12 for not sending colleges math-prepared students; since Montlake has spoken, we may now attend to the matter.

(I may have lived in Cougar country for too long)

Later on:

Face it: Differential pay is the future. Washington needs skilled teachers if its students are to get the math and science education they need to compete in the real world. Simply ramping up teacher recruiting won’t be enough.
And this is why I support the budget line item in question, because it raises an interesting issue: exactly how much money would it take to get our best and brightest to commit to teaching in the public schools? If software engineer can net you six figures easily for work that you can do on your own time in your own home, then shouldn't teaching with its myriad responsibilites be paid at an even higher rate?

And what of the private schools? I've long wondered if they have the same problems getting math teachers. Another interesting case would be a place like KIPP or Green Dot, too--do they struggle to get math and science certified people, or does the attractiveness of their program put them in a better position?

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Blogger Dr Pezz said...

Since I enjoy reading your blog, I'd be interested to see what you come up with using this meme:

10:20 AM  
Anonymous Former Teacher said...

It's an interesting question: How much would we have to pay to fill all the science/math positions with teachers who have excellent academic credentials?

However, I think that low-quality math teachers are not really the problem behind the low math skills of America's students.

Teachers don't need fabulous math skills to teach basic algebra or geometry or science. In fact, the really smart science/math geeks can have problems teaching run-of-the-mill school kids b/c they can't teach the basics.

I'm not sure why so many students have poor math skills by high school graduation, but since learning math is a cumulative process, the students need to be on track in elementary school and middle school as well. You can't tell me that elementary schools kids need a rocket scientist to teach fractions.

There must be other factors at work here...

9:16 AM  
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7:14 AM  

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