Thursday, December 29, 2005

Addressing The Science And Math Teacher Shortage

A group of Albany, New York businessmen think that they've found a way to recruit more science and math teachers:
A business group wants the state to provide scholarships to college students who want to be math or science teachers.

Under the Business Council's plan, students receiving grants of up to 20-thosuand dollars a year would have to agree to teach for at least five years. The lobby group is proposing a 50 (m) million dollar scholarship fund to provide up to 500 scholarships a year.

The Business Council says the competitive scholarships would eventually provide the state with thousands of new science and math teachers -- which are needed if New York wants to keep its high-tech industry and workers from going elsewhere.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that U-S demand for science and engineering workers will grow at least three times as fast as the overall economy in the next 10 years. But the number of U-S engineering students has dropped 20 percent since 1985.
While state-funded scholarships might help recruit some who would serve the required 5 year stint in the classroom, I think that I know an even better way to substantially increase the applicant pool for teaching positions.

If the powers-that-be truly want to attract large numbers of higher-caliber would-be teachers into teacher training programs, raise the level of compensation sufficiently so that teaching isn't nearly always at the bottom of those lists of entry-level salaries for college graduates.

Supply and demand. The basic law of economics. Increase the compensation, (demand) and the supply of teachers will also go up, as will the overall quality of the applicant pool. Any business person should be able to understand that simple premise, as it's the same one that is used in the business world to attract top executive talent.

When it comes to quality, you get what you pay for.
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