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Re: [Phys-l] Physics First Revisited

I've been teaching hs physics for 13 years. I've heard people talk about a teacher with a graduate degree being rejected because of the cost. This does happen on occasion. Do not generalize this to all of public education. This past summer we had many applicants for two positions- biology and chemistry. We hired the one chemistry person with a masters in bio-Chem and the one bio person that was a practicing vet. Our middle school does the same whenever they can. My conversations with teachers in other area districts indicate they do as well.

I believe hiring pratices at schools are a reflection of local values.

The choices administrators make are determined by the dirction thy get from their superintendent and school board. Elect school board members that understand a better educated staff produces a better educated student body.

Sent from my iPod

Paul Lulai
St. Anthony Village Senior High
US First RoboHuskie Team 2574

On Jan 29, 2009, at 8:56 AM, "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 offer.

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, Mike
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
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