Boles 1Taylor BolesMrs. LesterAdv. Comp.29 November 2011 Shortage of Math Teachers According to an article from Diverse: Issues in Higher Education, a little more than23,000 teachers, in California, were informed that in 2010 they would be let go (Phillip). It is nota surprise that there is a shortage of math teachers, when teachers are being laid off. The shortageis also not a surprise because of the economy with its ups and downs. For the past five years, themath teacher shortage has been similar to the economic crisis because one year there is not aneed for teachers, but the next year the states are looking at hiring up to a hundred teachers.Recently, the shortage is extremely high and it needs to be resolved. A shortage of math teachersis the single greatest threat to math education in the world today. To begin with, the shortage of math teachers is a major issue in the education profession.As teachers are starting to retire, college students are not going to college to be teachers.Therefore, a teacher shortage has become an issue because there will not be enough teachers tomeet the dramatically increasing number of students enrolling in elementary school. Alarmingly,this number is estimated to increase even more (Phillip). All the changes happening at once arecausing a shortage in math teachers because about 3.4 million people who are already teachersare retiring and there are not a large number of college students wanting to be teachers. It alsodoes not help that the number of primary school students has increased, so schools need morepeople to teach. Honestly, the problem is not getting people to major in math and science, butgetting them to become teachers instead of engineers (Phillip). The math and science majors
Boles 2want to be engineers because they are paid more and have more benefits, and in todayseconomy, money really matters. Therefore, people are going for the higher paying jobs in orderto obtain the lifestyle they would like, or in some cases their dreams of having the perfect life.Another reason there is a shortage is that state and local governments are cutting benefitsbecause of the economy, and college students get discouraged because they know there will befewer and fewer good benefits in the future (Phillip). The students are also changing their mindsabout being teachers because they want better job security. The job security is disappearingbecause the government is cutting jobs because of the economy. They want the security becausethey need to know they will be able to support themselves, and that they will have a job in thefuture. Therefore, the shortage of math teachers affects the lives of generations to come becausewithout job security people will not want to become teachers. The shortage of math teachers significantly affects the education that children receive.When there are not qualified teachers to accept the open jobs, schools hire temporary unqualifiedteachers to fill in the openings (Sausner). The schools hiring unqualified teachers are hurting thechildren because they are not receiving a proper education. The unqualified teachers usually donot know how to teach in-depth information about the subject they are teaching, and in this case,they do not know how to teach in-depth math. Therefore, being a qualified teacher is veryimportant because the “teacher can make or break a student, and studies show three years withineffective teachers can have a lasting negative impact on a child’s education” (Badertscher,Diamond, and Sarrio A1). It is very important that the children receive the best educationbecause it has a major effect on their future. The children need the good education in order tosucceed in life. Also, emergency hires have caused math courses to be taught by teachers whoare certified for other subjects, and who are not prepared to teach math (Darling-Hammond). The
Boles 3teachers are certified for other subjects, and they are teaching math because there is not ashortage for other types of teachers other than math and science. These quick hires affect thestudent’s education. Even though, the teacher is a certified teacher, she is certified for anothersubject, which means she might not teach the same way a math teacher might teach. The teacherswho are certified for other subjects are as qualified as substitute teachers, and from experiencesubstitute teachers are not able to fully answer questions the student might have about thesubject. The difference in teaching type might affect the student’s ability to learn. Importantly,several schools are not just looking for math teachers but male teachers, to inspire the children inlower income areas (Phillip). The male teachers inspire other male children to stay in school,and to try harder in school to get good grades. The male teachers affect the education of thechildren because they are encouraging them to stay in school, and they are good examples for thechildren. As a result, the shortage of math teachers is affecting the children’s future becauseschools are hiring teachers who are unqualified and the students do not get the proper education,which will cause the students to fail in the future. Although the shortage of math teachers is a major issue, it has several resolutions. Forexample, some colleges are encouraging their students, particularly math majors, to tutorelementary school students to see if they would like to become math teachers (Phillip). Thecolleges are trying to create a solution to the shortage by exposing the college students to theteaching field so they can see if they want to become teachers. It is a simple solution just byexposing more students to the field. They are also showing students who think they do not wantto be teachers that they should consider becoming teachers, especially if they enjoyed workingwith and helping children. Also, school boards need to give college students more of a financialencouragement to get them to consider choosing to become a teacher over higher paying jobs
Boles 4(Hoff). The financial encouragements will help the students and teachers feel like they havesomething to look forward to after college and at work. When they have bonuses or highersalaries, these perks encourage college students to become teachers which helps with the teachershortage. The encouragements also give the students and teachers the security that they will bepaid top salaries in education. Another solution is a program administrator to encourage peopleto try substitute teaching to prepare them to be teachers and to gain real classroom experiences,which gives them a competitive advantage over other applicants (Sawchuk). It is a solutionbecause the people with actual teaching experience will be showing the schools that they can beteachers and the schools should offer them the jobs. The people with experience will be offeredthe jobs first, so they do not have to worry about other applicants. The more jobs offered, themore that will be taken and the more the shortage decreases. In addition, parents are upsetbecause schools are saying that their teachers are the best despite decreasing test scores, and theparents fill as if they have been cheated of the education the schools promised (Badertscher,Diamond, and Sarrio A10). A solution to the issue would be to make sure the new and currentteachers are actually qualified to be teachers and not just saying they are qualified. The schoolscould do this check of qualifications by giving teachers a test and making the teachers teach aclass to get feedback on how to fix the class. Therefore, the improvements and solutions help theoutlook for the math field. Finally, the future of math teachers is promising because new programs are being createdto lure math majors into teaching. In some areas in the country, the number of applicants for ateaching program has increased compared to the last couple of years (Sawchuk). In the future,the number of applicants should increase even more because of the new programs being createdto improve the number of math teachers. Perhaps, the programs will encourage people to become
Boles 5teachers, and as time passes the shortage of math teachers will gradually disappear. In Texas andMassachusetts, school districts are offering signing bonuses now and will continue to do so in thefuture (Hartigan). The signing bonuses are already offered, and they are part of the solution.However, school districts that are not already offering signing bonuses are going to start offeringthem in the future. New teachers will be encouraged to go to the schools that offer the signingbonuses, and the teachers will sign, reducing the shortage. Also, there will not be any gaps to fillin the school because the teachers will be signing more. However, in the September 18, 2011issue of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, an article shows that signing bonuses are not workingbecause American teachers are not excepting the signing bonuses (Badertscher, Diamond, andSarrio A1). A solution might be that America needs to hire teachers from third world countries.This solution will be an issue with the language barriers, so in the future the signing bonusesneed to be increased in order to fix the shortage. In the future, the government should offerscholarships for college students who are going to be math and science teachers (Darling-Hammond). The scholarships will be given to college students who want to become mathteachers. The scholarships help the students pay for college, and it will help them make thedecision to become teacher because they do not have to worry about money straight after college.As a result, the future of math teachers is very promising because there are openings, but theshortage is decreasing which is good. Shockingly, the research reveals that citizens do not realize the extreme need for mathteachers. They do not realize the importance of a good qualified math teacher, and they need toknow because it affects the future of the world. The resistance to the suggested solutions is alsoshocking because they are reasonable ones that most would believe teachers would acceptwithout question. Becoming a math teacher is definitely a career worth going into because there
Boles 6are so many openings now. Furthermore, being a math teacher is a career that will always beneeded. People will always need math skills, so there will be jobs for years to come. Also,schools are starting to offer more money to math teachers, which also is a good reason to go intothe career field. Another good reason to go into the career field is to improve education, not justfor strangers but for their own family members. High school seniors and college freshman shouldlook into the secondary mathematics career field. The career field is a necessity and will alwaysbe needed because students need teachers to teach them math so they can be successful in theirfutures.
Boles 7 Works CitedBadertscher, Nancy, Laura Diamond, and Jaime Sarrio. “Georgia Fails at Improving Teachers.” The Atlanta Journal-Constitution 18 Sept. 2011: A1, A10-A11. Print.Darling-Hammond, Linda. “We Need to Invest in Math and Science Teachers.” Chronicle of Higher Education 21 Dec. 2007: B20. Academic Search Complete. Web. 12 Sept. 2011. <http://web.ebscohost.com/ehost/detail?vid=3&hid=127&sid=60b4b7fd-63f7-4400- 8e66- 93d036b25a03%40sessionmgr113&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#db=a 9h&AN=28105355>.Hartigan, Rachel. “If You Can Teach Math, You’re Hired.” U.S. News & World Report Winter 2002: 35. Academic Search Complete. Web. 12 Sept. 2011. <http://web.ebscohost.com/ ehost/detail?vid=3&hid=127&sid=60b4b7fd-63f7-4400-8e66- 93d036b25a03%40sessionmgr113&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#db=a 9h&AN=5559830>.Hoff, David J. “Effort to Recruit Math, Science Teachers Urged.” Education Week 4 Oct. 2000: 1. Academic Search Complete. Web. 13 Sept. 2011. <http://web.ebscohost.com/ehost/ detail?vid=6&hid=111&sid=e7a17aef-69d8-4776-ab3e- c7fd3d66bbd3%40sessionmgr111&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#db=a 9h&AN=3654649>.
Boles 8Phillip, Amara. “Academy Steps up Recruitment with Looming Nationwide Teacher Shortage.” Diverse: Issues in Higher Education 28 Apr. 2011: 7. Academic Search Complete. Web. 12 Sept. 2011. <http://web.ebscohost.com/ehost/detail?vid=3&hid=127&sid=60b4b7fd- 63f7-4400-8e66- 93d036b25a03%40sessionmgr113&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#db=a 9h&AN=60277310>.Sausner, Rebecca. “Desperately Seeking Teachers.” District Administration Oct. 2002: n. pag. Academic Search Complete. Web. 22 Sept. 2011. <http://web.ebscohost.com/ehost/ pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=91f79411-ae82-419a-a45c- 21365dec9d9d%40sessionmgr12&vid=4&hid=127>.Sawchuk, Stephen. “STEM Talent Increases, Jobs Decrease.” Education Week 26 Aug. 2009: 1- 14. Academic Search Complete. Web. 15 Sept. 2011. <http://web.ebscohost.com/ehost/ detail?vid=3&hid=12&sid=9f51dda3-9cab-4f3b-b565- 4a1bf6416c66%40sessionmgr13&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#db=a9 h&AN=44207021>.