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(Sun Sentinel)   Tougher standards may worsen science teacher shortage. In fact, they may even have to know that Earth, Wind, and Fire are more than just a 70s R&B band   (sun-sentinel.com) divider line 31
    More: Interesting, Earth, standards, Florida Department of Education, Professional certification, academic standards, deputy commissioner, crack stem, Florida State University  
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3845 clicks; posted to Main » on 29 Jul 2012 at 8:09 AM (2 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-07-29 09:06:47 AM  
5 votes:

letrole: Bad teachers don't like standardised tests.
This is because their teaching efforts can be quantified and evaluated.

Good teachers do like standardised tests.
This is because their teaching efforts can be quantified and evaluated.


You obviously don't know any teachers.
2012-07-29 10:41:50 AM  
4 votes:
I was one of the writers for these tests in Florida - specifically, forSocial Sciences. That includes history, government, economics, psychology, and sociology.

The main question we kept returning to was: "Do we expect a recent college graduate to know this?" In some cases, it eliminated questions because they were too easy and in others, because they were too difficult. Because of the point mentioned above about coaches and social studies, I had a strong interest in making sure the test was a good instrument.

The problem with science is a bit different though. You don't have the problem of random people taking the test because they think it will be easy. You have the problem that, as TFA briefly touched on, the most promising students don't go in to teaching because of the low pay, and now decreasing benefits. There are exceptions, but you can't build a pprofession on the backs of altruists and masochists.

Eventually, we will have to pay more to get more qualified teachers. But since that's not the goal here, it won't happen.

The true goal is, of course, to delegitimize public schools and to replace them with vouchers to reward politocal cronies. But i digress.
2012-07-29 08:56:39 AM  
4 votes:
Tougher standards=measured based on arbitrary standards that don't always take into account circumstances surrounding the students.

My wife teaches kids in small groups who have reading problems. The district is trying to implement performance based pay/contracts but doesn't understand that you can't expect every kid to read on grade level by the time they leave her class, particularly when they come in reading 2-4 years behind and in some cases have no/limited parental support.

Obviously changes are needed BUT I'd wager that a significant percentage of students will never do well in school due to (no) parental support. Oh, and those kids often make it more difficult to teach everyone else and no one really suspends them anymore for behavior problems.

Most of the people my wife teaches with send their kids to private school, including us starting this year. They are tired of the bs in public schools and it is only getting worse. If your kids has a standardized test that year you can rest assured that when January hits learning has stopped and test prep has begun; it sucks.
2012-07-29 09:59:06 AM  
3 votes:

randomjsa: Provided the subject is biology, I bet I could pass any certification exam they've got. What do these exams consist of anyway? Can we as the public see them?


Yes and no. The exams (FTCE SAEs) are generated from a massive body of questions. This coming year, the tests will have a quick overhaul which should release the current test for use in study aids, akin to other standardized tests. Here is a helpful guide to current pass rates from the FLDOE. Not strictly available to the public, but close.

Provided someone studies and tests reasonably well, the exams are not difficult to pass. However, the body of questions, as said, is massive which increases likelihood of missing some. The exams are actually designed this way (including exam items being purposefully nebulous, though this occurs less with the specific subjects because content rather than methods and practices are a bigger focus) with an assumption Y will be missed out of X by a competent test-taker. Have known people who are science majors or science education majors (dramatically different things) and have failed despite being capable and knowledgeable as well as people who are asked by a school to teach new subject areas yet inevitably pass despite little prior knowledge or interest. I would imagine, though I have no evidence to back this up other than my own experiences with the exams are teachers, those who fail tend to be those who did not study with quality materials.

The minimum scores being raised is not an effort to increase standards but to make an empty gesture and further reduce available teachers for public schools. Knowing rote information about content area is not the same as having strong content knowledge which does correlate to better student outcomes (further, the other major FTCE for all, the PEd, features incorrect information with the design being reduction in lawsuits). I have no problem with raising standards for teachers in Florida, accountability, pay for merit, etc.. What is an issue is how policy-makers purport to raise standards and accountability, establish merit pay, and so forth.

/little tangent there
2012-07-29 09:40:27 AM  
3 votes:
It's pathetic the way we gang up on teachers, and have demonized public schools.

Instead of trying to help, we just place blame. It's shameful.

The only people who get talked about worse than teachers on FARK are black people and pedophiles.
2012-07-29 12:10:48 PM  
2 votes:

WhippingBoy: So while there will always be a shortage of "good" teachers, there will never be a shortage of "teachers", per se.


Interesting fantasy. Tell you what: Take Praxis II in your content area. http://www.ets.org/praxis/states Not the PLT, you can't attempt it without education credits (let alone pass it), but content area. And I double-dog-dare you to try it with either Math or History. Pass your state's standard on your first try. Then tell me that there will never be a shortage of dumb teachers, per se, because then, you'll have an idea of what you're talking about.
2012-07-29 09:36:13 AM  
2 votes:

SevenizGud: A lot of teachers must be dying, because lord knows teachers don't get fired. Unless you sleep with your students. And he blabs his big fat mouth. Damn you, Jason!

Teaching - the only profession where you can't get fired for outright incompetence.


How about the police, with their paid vacations when they are incompetent?
2012-07-29 09:07:56 AM  
2 votes:
When we wanted safer cars, Congress mandated safety standards. Automakers complied. When we wanted greater fuel efficiency, Congress mandated CAFE standards. Automakers complied.

If we want more competent teachers, why doesn't Congress mandate the minimum standards for a teacher and force universities (which are in charge of manufacturing teachers) to comply?
2012-07-29 08:42:31 AM  
2 votes:
Pretty simple - place whatever higher standards you want on the tests and requirements to be a teacher then fund a statewide supplemental contract for anyone who teaches science (or math). Teaching science and math well requires someone who is not only good at the geek stuff but can also communicate that knowledge effectively. It's kind of difficult to attract people who can do both when they're getting the same pay as the gym teacher. A PhD in engineering is no guarantee that a person can teach high school chemistry - do they know the material?l, hell yeah, can they make someone 20 year younger understand and want to know more? Maybe, maybe not.
2012-07-29 08:15:13 AM  
2 votes:
NASA's been laying off rocket scientists...
2012-07-29 02:58:16 PM  
1 votes:
Most fundie schoolboards think a teacher is qualified enough if they are a Good Christian and can recognize three of the four elements. Of course, knowing who "Earth, Wind and Fire" was is a definitie disqualification.

Darned old hippies, remembering how things were before the teetotalitarian Republican Church of America(TM)* changed all the facts.

*A subsidiary of Crackpot Religions Inc., a Division of Sensible Religion Transworld of South Korea Inc. (formerly the Reverend Sun Moon Industries Inc.)
2012-07-29 01:20:04 PM  
1 votes:

NeoCortex42: I think compensation is the biggest problem, by far. There were few teachers I knew during my time in high school that didn't have to hold down a second job to make a decent income.


theactorsdiet.com

It's not so bad. Los Pollos Hermanos always has job opportunities for chemistry teachers. The pay's good, the only issue is that their non-complete clause is a killer.
2012-07-29 12:40:07 PM  
1 votes:
It's hard to believe that a career that features low pay, crappy benefits (in many places, YMMV), constant attacks from politicians and the general public and daily interactions with over-protective parents, spoiled, entitled children, incompetent administration and pandering, spineless school board members doesn't attract the best and brightest. It's a real head-scratcher.

Luckily my state, which has the lowest teacher pay in the nation, has come up with an ingenious plan to eliminate teacher shortages: lower the bar.
2012-07-29 12:25:51 PM  
1 votes:

kukukupo: For those who are serious on the subject - what needs to be done is getting the federal government out of education.


For those who are serious on the subject - what needs to be done is a group of changes because the system has several interlocking parts which include funding, students, education culture, educators, standards, materials, and more, and anyone who suggests one change is pressing a narrative.

Federal funding for education is low. Schools do not get additional funds for progressing students. Failing students would keep students in a school for longer, which would suggest motivation to fail in order to gain additional funds. The reality of why students do not fail is because there are pressures from several administrative members and policy-makers across a variety of levels including the school and district and state, short-sighted and unsubstantiated theories on motivation via lack of any negative reinforcement being adopted, litigious nature of parents, decreasing autonomy of teachers, and more.

Surpheon: but when they're working on counting by twos it is a complete and utter waste of resources to be requiring excessively educated teachers.


Knowledge of child and adolescent development and motivational theories, as well as practice in the application of both, are more necessary in earlier levels. The earliest teachers are responsible for assuring the healthy social, emotional, and cognitive developmental of the child as children progress through several levels in language acquisition, reading, moral developmental, etc.. Plus, those years will help determine students developing independence, an internal locus of control, and positive perception of education which lead to academic achievement. Those are also the years when disabilities and service needs will start to be identified, and accurate identification will lead to earlier intervention which will have better outcomes.

I do agree with you to some extent because we do not construct our earliest grades in such a way, instead keeping a consistent formula which believes a five year old is half of a ten year old and a third of a fifteen year old.
2012-07-29 11:52:30 AM  
1 votes:
My wife just got a teacher's degree specializing in high school science. The stories she has about the pig-ignorance of today's youth make me think they'll all be speaking Mandarin in labour camps in ten years...except there's no chance these dopes could possibly learn a second language, being largely ignorant of their first.
2012-07-29 11:48:39 AM  
1 votes:
"Go back to locally funded schools and a huge improvement would be seen overnight "

? The vast majority of schools are locally funded. If you had any kids of school age, you would know pretty well the correlation between buying a house in a high tax district and having decent schools. Non-local funding is just enough to keep lights on and toilets working (sometimes). Local funding - property taxes - mean the difference between an Oakland hills school (best in California) and downtown Oakland school (worst in California).
2012-07-29 11:45:51 AM  
1 votes:

SevenizGud: A lot of teachers must be dying, because lord knows teachers don't get fired. Unless you sleep with your students. And he blabs his big fat mouth. Damn you, Jason!

Teaching - the only profession where you can't get fired for outright incompetence.


You must not have ever looked at the membership of Congress at any point during your life.
2012-07-29 11:17:28 AM  
1 votes:
I took a combination geology/chemistry class aimed at education majors just to see what it was like.

One example: the prof had the class memorize the first several rows of the periodic table, through the first complete row. In fact, he told the class to just focus on the first full row and ignore everythinh else. Why? Because he believed rote memorization was worthless and turned non-majors off from the sciences. He focused on concepts such as what the periods mean. He would say over and over again that if you needed to know something from a chart you would have access to it via the internet.

I looked up the state education standards for science and it looked like rote memorization and very little concept.

Now, this was not the usual instructor for the course, that individual had to take a year off after a nasty accident. But it was fascinating to see how divergent the views are between those within the sciences and those who set arbitrary standards for educators.

This was echoed within my own program, where we were tested more on our understanding of how to use laboratory references than know facts off the tops of our heads. There's too much stuff to know. I can seperate out animal and human bone fragments that have been run through a woodchipper but anything more than that and we'd be consulting Grey or Bass, whereas in the past they would have required much more specific identification without using aids.

Tl;dr:

Meaningless metrics are meaningless. Every test measures something, but rarely in education is it measuring what everyone believes it is measuring. The best thing policymakers can do is read The
Mismeaure of Man and take a chill pill.
2012-07-29 11:05:25 AM  
1 votes:
The easiest classes I took in college were the education college courses. The ed majors were on average much dumber than other college students. Significantly. They knew that this was an easy field with low standards.

We should bar education majors from the field of education, ironically enough. I'd be happy with increasing the pay significantly while firing anyone who can't demonstrate true mastery of the topics taught on standardized tests AND demonstrate real improvement on standardized tests (give a similar test at the beginning and ending of each semester, and the teachers showing bottom 25% improvement are fired every few years). If the pay is high enough, this will lead to a much better system.

I'd also eliminate school administration almost entirely. It's largely useless if the teachers are effective. There's no need for field trips and technology needs are very limited. What you need are standards. Flunk out the weak students, fire the weak teachers, and suddenly a high school diploma is a bona fide credential (that many do not obtain).
2012-07-29 11:05:13 AM  
1 votes:

Vangor: Bob16: The old shortage lie. Yeah I believe that in the middle of a depression they can't find any science teachers.

We do have a shortage of teachers. This is a result of a few factors. The first is the requirements are strict; I do not mean tough, but without the proper degree you simply cannot get the position, and any temporary measures are still an underqualified individual occupying the position which is still indicative of a teacher shorter. The second follows right with the first which is shortages occur in various specialties; exceptional education is sorely lacking, and hard sciences never have all the positions needed. The third is the amount of children continues to rise; additional work force will always be needed until this trend stops.

While true we could occupy the positions with plenty of underqualified folk and not all areas have shortages, to say the shortage is a lie is either a vast oversimplification of what this means or repeating some talking point.

Lawnchair: But, are you ready to pay for merit pay? Because the American public isn't. They'll say they're for merit pay. But, when it comes down to it, they'll do what they're doing now because it's cheaper. Most Americans shop at Walmart, too.

Merit pay is not pay commensurate with merit. I have not seen a system (implemented by a state or other government agency which handles teacher salary) where a highly-qualified, highly-capable, veteran educator is able to make a salary higher than under a basic annual pay scale. Taxpayers will pay less under merit pay for a system which does not identify or reward merit.


Where I grew up - you could have a PhD in Computer Science, invented the internet, built Google.com from scratch, travelled around the world giving lectures, even been a college professor and you'd still not be 'qualified' to teach high school seniors 'AP Computer Science'.
2012-07-29 11:00:47 AM  
1 votes:
Disclaimer: Science teacher.

Increase the standards, even more if needed - I know for sure that more rigor would be useful in NC, and I went through a graduate level program. However, if this is done, and the state worries about losing good candidates, increase our salaries. Make it merit-based, do what you need to do to make yourselves feel better about paying teachers more money. My take home from running a movie theater was nearly double my current take home, which makes me sad.
2012-07-29 10:42:37 AM  
1 votes:
images1.wikia.nocookie.net

Alchemy class pet.
2012-07-29 10:08:58 AM  
1 votes:

kukukupo: It won't be difficult - Science is becoming as crowded as English and "Social Studies". It isn't quite there yet - but close. Math is the only place a real shortage exists.

Besides - who would want to go into teaching anymore? Most teachers don't get benefits now or they are going to have to pay for them (the only thing that really offset the poor pay). If things keep going the way they are, only the independently wealthy will be able to afford a "career" in education.


Highly unlikely. Unless universities raise the entrance requirements for Education, there will *always* be an overabundance of mediocre, passionless drones entering the teaching profession.

Think about it: you're in your last semester of university with a 2.1 GPA in English Literature or History. The past 3-5 years have been great: non-stop party, no classes Mondays or Fridays, getting drunk, tons of casual sex... but graduation is looming, and your lack of any tangible goals whatsoever (other than "go to University on student loans") are starting to rear it's ugly head. What on earth do you do?

1. Get a low paying job at Starbucks or at the museum gift shop? "No way, that's beneath me. I'm "educated" doncha' know?!?!?"
2. Continue with your education in a more advanced faculty (like Law or Architecture)? "Wow, those sound hard. Besides, my grades aren't good enough to meet the entrance requirements."
3. Take one more year and get your teaching certificate? "Hmmm... one more year eh? That won't make too much of difference to my student loan. I really can't stand kids, but summers off! And benefits! And a 'respectable' job! And I get to party for one more year! Yeah, I can do this."

And then the problems start; these people have spent their entire lives taking the path of least resistance, and then suddenly, the big bad world hits them square between the eyes: "Wow, this is hard... I never realized that teaching would be so hard... I have to work extra hours??? Unfair!!! Unfair!!! No one else works as hard as I do! They're not paying me enough!!!! Strike!!! Strike!!! Or I'll quit. That's it, I'll quit and go into... oh shiat."

So while there will always be a shortage of "good" teachers, there will never be a shortage of "teachers", per se.
2012-07-29 09:46:14 AM  
1 votes:

SevenizGud: A lot of teachers must be dying, because lord knows teachers don't get fired.


They can get pressure put on them to leave, though, which is not uncommon if administration doesn't like you. Yes, you can stay because usually you aren't fired, per se, but if they criticize your teaching methods, force you to go to countless, unpaid workshops, unleash every biatchy parent on you, unmine your authority in front of students, and pile more and more thankless bs work on you that has nothing to do with teaching, then you will probably be inclined to leave.

Administrations assassinate teaching careers, particularly of really good teachers, because those tend to be the ones that are smart and self-assured enough to speak out against stupid policies.
2012-07-29 09:42:28 AM  
1 votes:

Louisiana_Sitar_Club: Fizpez: Teaching science and math well requires someone who is not only good at the geek stuff but can also communicate that knowledge effectively.

Damn skippy. It's farking tough to do. If you go to great lengths to explain something to someone thoroughly, simply and in a way that makes perfect sense and they say, "I don't get it.", it takes a special person to know what to do next. (That special person is not me.)


Pictures and drawings help sometimes. But if the student is simply not able to grasp the concept, like me trying to teach my cat Calculus, there is nothing you can do. :(
2012-07-29 09:12:09 AM  
1 votes:
Looking to boost the quality of science education, Florida has just made it tougher for aspiring teachers to pass required certification exams.

Provided the subject is biology, I bet I could pass any certification exam they've got. What do these exams consist of anyway? Can we as the public see them?
2012-07-29 09:10:41 AM  
1 votes:

Dinki: letrole: Bad teachers don't like standardised tests.
This is because their teaching efforts can be quantified and evaluated.

Good teachers do like standardised tests.
This is because their teaching efforts can be quantified and evaluated.

You obviously don't know any teachers.


Did you look at his handle by chance?
2012-07-29 09:04:08 AM  
1 votes:
Bad teachers don't like standardised tests.
This is because their teaching efforts can be quantified and evaluated.

Good teachers do like standardised tests.
This is because their teaching efforts can be quantified and evaluated.
2012-07-29 08:39:50 AM  
1 votes:

kukukupo: It won't be difficult - Science is becoming as crowded as English and "Social Studies". It isn't quite there yet - but close. Math is the only place a real shortage exists.

Besides - who would want to go into teaching anymore? Most teachers don't get benefits now or they are going to have to pay for them (the only thing that really offset the poor pay). If things keep going the way they are, only the independently wealthy will be able to afford a "career" in education.


A lot of places are using ed-techs in place of teachers. Fully qualified and paid minimum wage with no benefits and no chance at tenure. The future of American education is McSchools.
2012-07-29 08:32:10 AM  
1 votes:
It won't be difficult - Science is becoming as crowded as English and "Social Studies". It isn't quite there yet - but close. Math is the only place a real shortage exists.

Besides - who would want to go into teaching anymore? Most teachers don't get benefits now or they are going to have to pay for them (the only thing that really offset the poor pay). If things keep going the way they are, only the independently wealthy will be able to afford a "career" in education.
2012-07-29 08:19:42 AM  
1 votes:
Science too hard? Try religion!
 
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