More, better math and science teachers

California universities are trying to grow more math and science teachers.

Among the carrots will be waiving the repayment of $19,000 in loans for some students.

In addition, an accelerated-degree program now in place at three CSU campuses will be expanded and introduced at all UC campuses, awarding students a teaching credential when they get their four-year degree in science, math or engineering. A teaching credential normally takes a fifth year of study, but students in the program will take credentialing classes in place of some electives and will also take extra classes during one summer.

Once they become teachers, the program’s graduates will be offered summer jobs with private companies to boost income and keep them updated on advances in science and technology.

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  1. Whoa! That’s a carrot that I might actually grab at – if I lived in Cali. I’m 3/4 of the way finished with my Mathematics BS at TAMU and had planned on teaching but that is SO SO SO SO out of the question now. There’s no way I’d spend this much time and money to be able to teach algebra.

  2. This is a good idea – especially the last part which is the only way teachers will be able to survive on their comparatively low salaries – they need summer income. The median price of a home in Silicon Valley is now 680,000.

  3. So once you become a teacher, you work your butt off for 9 months, then you work your butt off for 3 months in summer. I can see the ready appeal of *that* plan.

  4. Nels Nelson says:

    Andrew, the goal of this program isn’t as much to steer away from the humanities, and toward math and science degrees, those called to the profession by the prospect of an annual three-month vacation, as it is to entice students already interested in the relevant fields to go into teaching rather than some other, likely year-round, sector.

  5. ‘Dynes said that many students graduating from UC have “noble intentions” and would like to teach, but that they are currently trained for research and industry. ‘We will build a curriculum aimed at preparing teachers,’ he said”

    Not a good sign. A big part of the problem with education today is the curricula “aimed at preparing teachers.”

    And the thought that there is automatically something more ‘noble’ about teaching than about science and industry is, frankly, offensive.

  6. In 1987, I moved from Texas to the Sacramento area (my husband was in the military). I had recently graduated from Baylor University with a degree in Secondary Education, with math being my 1st teaching field (33 hours) and spanish being my 2nd (27 hours). I went to apply to teach school, and the state of California said that because I didn’t have a degree in math, I couldn’t teach! They wanted me to take a state test and go back and take a few more courses before they would let me set foot inside a classroom (and they already had a shortage of teachers!). I angrily snubbed my nose at them and worked at Sylvan Learning Center for two years before moving back to Texas. I have no respect for the California state school system. Making a math teacher spend 5 years in college before teaching is ludicrous.

  7. U of Texas has an interesting program called UTeach which drops a satellite teaching program directly into the natural sciences department.

    Well worth looking at.

  8. Jill,

    I have a Bachelor of Science degree in math. When I applied to teach, I was told that if I’d gotten my degree here in California then I’d be granted “subject matter competence”. But since I got my degree in New York, I’d have to take 3 (relatively expensive) tests to get subject matter competence.

    I did, but it still ticks me off to this day.

  9. ragnarok says:

    I suspect that the hoops through which you have to jump to become a teacher in California have nothing to do with ensuring competence and everything to do with protecting turf. Make it too much trouble to qualify and competent people will say “The heck with it!”.

    See the CBEST to understand how low the bar is set. And yet this ridiculously easy test has been challenged in court for “discriminating against people of colour” – i.e., the bar has apparently not been set low enough!

  10. Walter E. Wallis says:

    My chemistry teacher worked summers in the canneries. Ask him a cannery question and relax for the day.

  11. I was taking a sophomore level math logic/proof class when I realized that I wasn’t going to teach mathematics. Another guy in the class was already a history teacher but had returned to get enough math credits to be able to math in high school. Well, he was graduating and I was still there.

    So, since he’s got a degree in history and a couple of sophomore level math credits, he’s now qualified to be a math teacher? This is lousy. I don’t have my math degree yet but I have more than twice the math credits that he has.

  12. Mr. Davis says:

    One of my better math teacheres drove a Greyhound bus between Pniladelphia and Pittsburg weekends during the school year and ran a construction company in the summer.