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Re: [Phys-l] Physics First Revisited

How about not very qualified means we can pay less! After all isn't the
school supposed to be improving under NCLB???

There is a very revealing article that points out that the real problem of
finding science and math teachers is the high rate of attrition, not the
supply. Shouldn't one hang onto good teachers?

John M. Clement
Houston, TX

Doesn't "overqualified" translate to "we have to pay her more under the
terms of our contracts"?

On Thu, 29 Jan 2009, Arts, Robert W. wrote:

Unfortunately, administrators are less interested in student performance
in science versus their bottom line. Case in point (a personal one) my
wife was employed at a local elementary/middle school several years ago.
She lost her position due to budget cuts which caused the school to go
from two science teachers to one, class sizes of 24 to 36 and class
periods of 90 minutes to 50 minutes. Recently, the position opened back
up (as their funding was resorted) and she reapplied for her old job that
she so enjoyed. The administration did not even call her in for an
interview for the position...seemed strange. A week or so later, she
happened to run into one of the principals from that school and was
informed that she was over now educated for the position. In between the
time that she lost the job she'd gone back to school for a masters in
science she now has an undergraduate degree in biology, an
undergraduate degree in education, teaching certification !
for high school biology, teaching certification for middle school
science, and a masters in science teaching. However, seeing as she would
have to be paid more for her masters' degree than a newbie teacher, she
lost the opportunity to once again teach public school. It seems as if
priorities are a little mixed up in the public education arena these days.
I was under the impression that a "highly qualified" educator was the
desire and the mandate of districts; however, that does not appear to be
the case in our area. Hopefully something gives soon that allows them to
see the error of their ways and once again promotes the best practices in
hiring so our next generation of students gets the best that we have to

Regards, Robert.

Dr. Robert W. Arts
Professor of Education & Physics
Pikeville College
147 Sycamore Street
Pikeville, KY 41501
Office: (606) 218-5476


From: on behalf of Edmiston,
Sent: Thu 1/29/2009 9:38 AM
To: Forum for Physics Educators
Subject: Re: [Phys-l] Physics First Revisited

R. McDermott said his daughter is not finding it easy to become employed
as a K-6 science teacher. Current administrators and teachers at those
levels seem to be stuck on strong math and English but not science.

Exactly. That's what I'm talking about. Our physical science battle is
not at the ninth-grade level. The battle is already lost by then. This
is going to be a difficult thing to change. The math and English
programs already have all the momentum, and they will fight any
intrusion of science if time spent on science comes at the expense of
time spent on math and English.

This is indeed a chicken and egg problem because this attitude will not
change unless we get teachers and administrators into the schools who
see science on par with math and English. Yet how do we hatch these
science-conscious teachers and administrators in the first place, and
then how do we get them into the schools, when the eggs are being laid
by a non-science-conscious educational system?

Those of us at the college level can try to assure our
science-teacher-preparation programs retain strong content knowledge and
strong lab experience (if we currently have it), or that we implement
strong content knowledge and strong lab experience (if we currently
don't have it). This is a difficult battle. Your are up against
education departments that don't want the intrusion, and you are up
against an administration that does not want to see enrollments drop
because the curriculum is perceived as too demanding.

Those of you at the high-school level can notice students who really do
like science, and may want teach, to pursue a career in elementary
teaching or middle-school teaching with specialization in science. You
may find this difficult because you might be more proud to see your good
science students go on to careers in medicine or research etc. Don't
succumb to that. Becoming a well prepared and dedicated teacher is one
of the loftiest goals a person can pursue.

Also, take any opportunity you can to encourage your school system to
hire teachers who really do have a good preparation in science, and
really do seem to like science... especially physical science and not
just biology.

Also, take any opportunity you can to help existing elementary and
middle-school teachers realize they need to teach physical science, they
need to teach it well, and yes they can do it and you will help them.

Michael D. Edmiston, Ph.D.
Professor of Chemistry and Physics
Bluffton University
Bluffton, OH 45817
Forum for Physics Educators

"Trust me. I have a lot of experience at this."
General Custer's unremembered message to his men,
just before leading them into the Little Big Horn Valley