Monday, November 26, 2007

Math: there is no substitute

Schools continue to use long term subs as a way to mask the critical issue of a shortage highly qualified teachers – especially in math and science. The latest is from Michigan which hired 20 long term subs even as they close schools and teachers graduating from schools of ed are leaving to find jobs in other states.

The quote from the Dominque - the student representative on the school board in Flint Michigan highlights the issue:

"That was my most difficult year of math," she wrote in an e-mail to The Flint Journal. "The long-term sub made the learning experience very challenging because the class was not understanding him. Sometimes he made it clear that he didn't understand himself."

Wow. Here is a school district in a state that has a teacher surplus yet they cannot find enough math teachers. It also highlights that having good teachers, who don’t know the math, try to explain complex math concepts does not work.

In Clark County, we heard from one person that some schools have more than 50% long term subs teaching. It is time to crack down on the use of long term subs and open up the certification routes to accept more qualified math and science teachers.

With teachers like this – no wonder we are falling behind the rest of the world.

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