Date: Oct 22, 2002 11:55 AM
Subject: A Quiet Crisis in a Perfect Storm
In late September a report entitled "The Quiet Crisis: Falling Short in
Producing American Scientific and Technical Talent" was released and can be
found on the web site www.bestworkforce.org. Taken with a couple of other
documents they portend a "perfect storm" in the next 15 to 20 years. A storm
that calculus-reform should address.
The components of the storm? Besides "The Quiet Crisis" take a look at the
report from the Glenn Commission on Mathematics and Science Teaching in the
21st Century (www.ed.gov/americacounts/glenn) and the report from the US
Department of Education "Meeting the Highly Qualified Teachers Challenge: The
Secretary's Annual Report on Teacher Quality" (www. title2.org).
They tell us that over the next decade 1/4 of the science and engineering
workforce will retire (Quiet Crisis) and 2/3 of the teaching force will
retire (Glenn). And that by 2006 teachers of mathematics and science in BOTH
high school and middle school will be required to have the equivalent of a
content area major in the topics they teach (ED). The federally funded
Teacher Quality Enhancement Grants to states are the beginning attempts to
raise the level of preparation for pre-service middle school teachers and to
recruit larger cohorts of the same.
The presence of these reports could be a source of relief if not for the fact
that they all propose to feed at the same small trough. They all have their
eyes on the same "pool of talent". Granted the pool is now considered to be
multicultural and diverse. But it is a strategy focused on the Talented Tenth
of this country's young people not upon the yet-to-be-developed math/science
talents of the other 90%.
It simply does not look like the numbers are there unless over the next
decade this country accomplishes a radical redistribution of fields of study
at the bachelor and associate levels in the direction of science and
engineering. And the bottle neck there is the CALCULUS.
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