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On March 7 the Congressional Committee on Science will be having it's first meeting of the new Congress to discuss the state of math and science education. I will be testifying before this committee and would like to get feedback from this forum as I prepare my testimony. So here's the question: What do you think the federal government can/ should do to help improve math science ed? There are many issues that could be addressed, but I have been told that the committee is most interested in learning what role the federal gov't can play in math/science ed reform. Please be as crazy, creative, long winded as you like. If you would rather e-mail me directly, my address is jonnybren@aol.com Thank you very much, in advance, for your input.


-- Jonathan Brenner (jonnybren@aol.com), February 25, 2001


Every year my school's Science Department is riddled with vacancies. I have to believe that this is because anyone who is really good at science is making more money than teachers make in hospitals, labs, etc. My solution: Extra (federal) dollars for licensed teachers in the shortage areas of Math & Science. There should be enough money to make teaching science an economically feasible consideration for our brightest scien

-- Peter E. Grosett (PGrosett@aol.com), February 27, 2001.

For the record, here are the (slightly edited for public viewing) suggestions that I gave to Jon as to what needs to be fixed. Obviously federal gov't can't address all of the problems:

1. You must mention class size, that's the only "larger issue" that I would absolutely not neglect to bring up. 2. Facilities: science should be taught in rooms designed for science instruction. 3. Materials are inadequate in most schools, management of materials (storage space!, access, replenishment, etc.) is also a major issue. 4. Training: increase in-service training for teachers already in the system, attract science majors to teaching or education majors to science -- it's a shortage area, practically guaranteed employment, provide TFA type incentives if you go to areas of greatest need. But target people who at least plan to make teaching a career -- no guarantees in life, but they should be leaning in that direction. 5. Short term: extra stipends (like teacher's choice) for science teachers to purchase materials, as schools and districts now not meeting that need. 6. Now that I think of it, get rid of the "education major." Major in a content area(s), minor in education. These aren't sexy items (like Giuliani's questionable Saturday Science idea) and none of this will cause drastic, long-term improvement until the overall systemic problems are also addressed, e.g., raising teacher salaries, restructuring the school/calendar (including incorporating professional development into the school day or week), instituting "peer review" as a means of hiring and firing teachers/administrators, improving the way teachers are trained at the college level, apprenticeships etc. And they all cost time & money.


-- Michael Gatton (mg143@aol.com), February 27, 2001.

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