100,000 new teachers in 10 years?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by cruiserteacher, Feb 21, 2011.

  1. cruiserteacher

    cruiserteacher Comrade

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    I'm just wondering how everyone feels about Obama's plan to recruit 100,000 new teachers in 10 years for math & science. As primarily a reading teacher, the first thing that comes to my mind is that students need to know how to read first. I know there is Title 1, but when students get to 4th grade (in my district, at least), there is no Title 1. So, if students are not identified as special ed, they are just lumped into a regular-ed class with 29 other students and they do not get the personalized reading instruction necessary to get them on level. Currently, I probably only have about 10 students reading at or about grade level. What is everyone's thoughts?
     
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  3. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    With the current economic climate, I'd not be pinning any hopes on increased funding to recruit new teachers of any sort...the pension crisis in many states may lead to massive layoffs...
     
  4. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    I look at my school and see that we have three reading specialists for about 1000 students total. Then we have special education teachers that are trained only in reading interventions. Then we have two librarians and a library aide. So much has been put into reading and I'm glad. We have less low readers and the low readers are getting help.

    However, we have so many students struggling for math. 100,000 teachers wouldn't even be one math specialist in every school, let alone three!
     
  5. DaveG

    DaveG Companion

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    A lot of funding has been put into reading, in the hiring and training of countless reading specialists, curriculum specialists and special education teachers.

    Math and science have been considerably neglected in comparison. As a high school teacher, I see that many students do still struggle with reading (but there are interventions in place), but many more struggle with math because they lack basic computational skills.
     
  6. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Dave--I totally agree! If only my sixth graders knew they multiplication facts and how to add/sub with regrouping consistently. Yet, I see students who have no learning disability or other circumstances who still cannot multiply whole numbers!
     
  7. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

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    I see this in MS, as well. Does anyone have any ideas as to why this is happening? It just confuses me... my district has basically cut out almost everything in elementary except math and reading, yet they come to MS not knowing their multiplication tables or reading below GL. Has there been a shift in the way math is taught in elementary?
     
  8. scholarteacher

    scholarteacher Connoisseur

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    Wonder what he plans to do with all the teachers that are being laid off?
     
  9. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    There has been a shift in the way that math is taught. Many places are either using Everyday Math or some version of this. This program is designed to teach students multiple ways of doing math as well as the reasons why math is done a certain way. However, many of the teachers do not understand it, so they just brush over it with the students. There is a game fact component that many teachers skip, so students are not drilled on their facts.

    Also, more is expected to be taught younger. Instead of focusing on adding/subtracting in the younger grades, they are introduced to more word problems, algebra, multiplication, even division. When you are expected to teach so much, there is no time for mastery.

    Plus, many programs are using a spiral approach. No mastery is expected because the students will continue to see it again and again. However, the students then do not see how math builds on itself and just keep moving through the lessons.
     
  10. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    chebrutta~from what I've seen it's because they don't require students to memorize their multiplication facts. It's not really a focus like it should be here.
     
  11. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    Wait- I'm confused. Are these 100,000 people going to be math and science teachers (as in classroom teachers) or people that specialize in math and science interventions? I have several friends that majored in math/science middle childhood educ. (grades 4-9 in my state) or math or science aya (grades 7-12) who couldn't find jobs this year, which was extremely frustrating because all they were hearing was "we need people in math and science". Many of them did look all over the country as well- the only one I know of who got a job got a mid-year contract in Texas.

    I would agree though, that there is a lack of math interventions. I've gotten frustrated with that at my school. We have title 1 for k-5 (its only supposed to be k-3, but my school is so small she has time to work with k-5), we have sipps phonics interventions groups, we have fluency intervention groups, and we have comprehension groups on top of title 1 and what I'm doing in sped. There are tons and tons of reading interventions yet there is not one single thing in place for math except for what I'm doing in sped. Often teachers wait to refer students to the RtI process (which in itself is hard to implement for math when I'm the only one doing math interventions) so the kids I get referred to RtI with me for math are sooo far behind even my kids in sped. It's frustrating that we don't have early interventions in place for them. So yes, some sort of "title 1" type position for math would be great. However- the way this is worded "math and science teachers" leads me to believe that's not what they mean. Also, we apparently have absolutely no money for even the teachers we already have- where is this money for these new teachers coming from? Just trying to be realistic here.
     
  12. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    I know that there isn't a lot of money out there for teachers right now, but math and science is big in this administration. I think that interventionists are teachers as well, so I don't see why the money cannot be spent on math and science interventionists...but I just don't know.

    It will probably be something along the lines of money to be spent as the states see fit on math and science personnel. If there is money at all....
     
  13. CanukTeach

    CanukTeach Companion

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    You know, I've been on this board for quite awhile (had to change my name because I lost my password) and I am still stumped as to why math/science grades are low in the US. The reasons that have been addressed in this list (such as more earlier and not as much focus on the basics) is true in Canada too but for some reason Canada scores better on these international tests. One thing I am sure is a problem in Canada is not enough math/science specialists in elementary (not for support but actual classroom teachers).
     
  14. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    The majority of my tutoring hours are spent on math...in fact, a few families hired me specifically for math.
     
  15. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Canuk---very interesting!
     
  16. bondo

    bondo Cohort

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    I think it would be great. Math and Science are harder to teach, in my opinion, than other subjects. They require a certain mind to understand and then teach. Math is so abstract that it is difficult for students to grasp what they are being taught. Math and the logic, reasoning, rational step-taking are crucial to science and therefore I think more important. Without Math there is not science. I would say there needs to be an added (no pun intended) emphasis on Math more than anything and when students become better at Math then Science will quickly follow.
    However, I do not see this coming anytime soon with nationwide budget cuts.
     
  17. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

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    mopar & smalltowngal ~ thank you for the clarification! I've always been stumped when my kids don't know that 7/10 = 70% or can't add four numbers (all 25 & below) without a calculator. And then in MS, we shove them straight into Pre-Algebra :dizzy:

    I guess I ought to thank my dad for forcing me to do all those multiplication flash cards every night in 4th grade :lol:
     
  18. KatherineParr

    KatherineParr Comrade

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    This is a very interesting conversation. I am a big fan of what I now know is called Direct Instruction. In other words (it seems to me): teaching.

    I feel a lot of kinship with math teachers who need the curricular space to drill. In a lot of subject areas, there's just no substitute for knowing things. I wish I saw more balance between presenting information, drilling, and critical thinking.
     
  19. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Having taught for the last 37 years, I have seen lots of things come and go. I agree with other posters and I am certain that students are going to ms behind in math and science because we no longer teach to mastery and facts are left up to the parents to practice. There is not enough time in the day to work on mastery because we have to teach so many more concepts in less time.
     
  20. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    I agree with the having to teach more concepts in less time too. The other day I walked into a kindergarten room and they were learning to do problems like 2+x=6. That is crazy! And yet I am seeing 4th and 5th graders being referred to me for RtI because they cannot do simple calculations such as adding and subtracting. I think it's great that we have such high standards for what students should learn, but if they're not mastering anything, is it worth it?
     
  21. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    In math, I think that there could be an order to teaching that would have the students master the basics before moving on. For the students who master quickly, they could move into algebra or other areas.
     
  22. jenneke607

    jenneke607 Rookie

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    I agree that it's important for students to master facts, and that it's pretty widely acknowledged that we have too many standards in math at the elementary grades. NCTM (the National Council for Teachers of Mathematics) published "Focal Points" for each elem. grade, and these Focal Points were taken into consideration in the crafting of the national Common Core Standards.

    That said -- I am not certain that students who master their facts quickly are ready for algebra. They'll need a deeper understanding of mathematical properties as well, which memorization alone is not going to cure. Those kindergartners learning 2 + x = 6? They're working on prealgebraic concepts while reinforcing the properties of inverse operations and thinking about a math fact. I hope they weren't using x as a variable, though! Kids can figure out how many more they will need to get from 2 to 6, but it's probably with the use of manipulatives, or number lines and 'counting on' strategies.

    I am also not convinced that students 20 years ago were better off. If you read <i>A Nation at Risk</i> (1983), you'll know that math and sciences scores were of great concern then. According to the TIMSS (Trends in International Math and Science Study) test, US math and science scores have shown statistically significant improvement since 1995. In 1995, scores were below TIMSS averages (500), and in 2007 they were above (US 4th graders averaged 528). For teachers that have been teaching middle school 20, 30 years... did all of students come in with all their facts memorized back then?

    P.S. Mopar, I like that you pointed out some of the limitations of the programs... that even when they include some fact practice or games, some teachers are not trained properly or do not choose to use these components! There is just so much to do...
     
  23. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    In K the students are using manipulatives to figure out 2 + x = 6. They are using it more as a what goes here. I think that as the common core standards roll out this could help limit what is being taught to mastery at each grade.

    I do know that more students had their facts memorized, but not all. And yes, math has always been an area of struggle for many students. However, I have never had so many parents come to me before school starts and tell me about their child's fear of math.
     
  24. webmistress

    webmistress Devotee

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    It should be about quality (and time) over quantity.

    He could hire 1 million Math geniuses and I bet there would be little improvements if they are still required to rush the kids through the material and move on to new concepts daily whether or not the material has been mastered.

    So many kids get left behind because we gave an extensive amount of district tests and could not spend more time on the concepts.
    The district required us to test every week in every subject. Many of the kids are years behind. I had 5th graders that could not add 1+1 without counting on their fingers.

    When more advanced concepts were introduced, I would realize that they don't know basic information that will be needed to grasp the new info, so I end up going back and teaching those concepts and would end up behind the district's required schedule of testing in every subject weekly.

    So good luck to the new Math & Science teachers. In an ineffective system such as what I am familiar with here, their work is surely cut out for them.
     
  25. jenneke607

    jenneke607 Rookie

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    As someone whose job is always on the chopping block... :)

    It would be great if more schools had math coaches or specialists or intervention teachers, or some combination thereof! Right now, I work at two different schools as a math coach. At one of them, I am working to train our aides and student teachers to conduct RTI Tier 2 instruction. I am pouring a lot of energy into training them, to ensure that our struggling learners receive the highest quality of instruction we can provide, but we are hitting all sorts of road blocks. Most of them are organizational, or time-based. I love, love our staff, but we need more people, and we need them to be qualified! It's challenging to thrust our least experience, however talented, into this position. We're celebrating what progress we have had so far, but I would love to hear from someone that is currently experiencing more math RTI success.

    I wonder where those 100,000 recruits are going to go, too...
     
  26. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    webmistress-- I agree. We need to focus on a smaller quantity of concepts over longer time to truly master the concepts. If we could dive in deeper to a few concepts, the students may walk away remembering the basics. I think that this is what the common core standards are looking at doing.
     
  27. cruiserteacher

    cruiserteacher Comrade

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    There is definitely a lack of basic math skills in my school as well. I still see many 4th graders adding with their fingers. I just think there needs to be more school funding period. I don't think I'll ever understand why education is always the first to get funds cut, at the state & federal level. I think the sudden push for math & science teachers is to be more competitive with China. Obama mentioned this in his state of the union.
     
  28. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    We are just beginning our RtI journey into math. We have fully formed our reading RtI process, however, we don't have the time or personnel to do this with math as well. So, math will be something that regular education teachers are expected to teach. Where will I fit math intervention into my current class? I thought RtI was to be above the core curriculum...
     
  29. jenneke607

    jenneke607 Rookie

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    That's so sad! I definitely encounter a lot of math phobia, as well...

    We'll see how the Common Core changes things! I would love for math programs to go a little deeper into topics, rather than cover five million standards. Webmistress, I can't imagine having to administer assessments each week! What a huge drain on instructional time. Haven't they seen the data about how more minutes of instruction can dramatically improve performance? There are so many things we will need to adjust in this system if we want students to be proficient in multiple content areas.
     
  30. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    We assess weekly in reading. I have a feeling that math isn't far behind. With our current system we have seen incredible growth in reading...but I think this has little to do with the weekly tests and more to do with the reading specialists we have working with our students daily.
     
  31. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Keep in mind that Obama has 2 years left currently and the economy is a mess...I'm not too optimistic about 10 year goals...
     
  32. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    I can speak for my classes 20 years ago. We practiced and mastered facts much more than now. We had time in class to do that because we weren't testing every other day and we didn't have to spend time practicing test taking skills. We took one school wide test at the end of the year and didn't spend much time worrying about it. I feel that my children 20 years ago were much more prepared to go on in school and had a much more rounded education.
     
  33. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    20 years ago we also had much more parental support as well.
     
  34. webmistress

    webmistress Devotee

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    I definitely think education was better 20 years ago. The only thing is that we weren't always taught "why" a certain concept is true and we didn't do much hands-on activities in my schools, but other than that I know I received a wonderful education back then. I have no complaints.

    Just one example, I took Algebra I in about 1992. It was a favorite of mine. In 2009, I needed to tutor a college student in basic Algebra and though there have been some changes to it, I was actually able to go all the way back to my memory of 1992 and explain how to work problems the same way my teacher explained it to me.

    Of course I can't do that with most subjects, but my point is that good teaching can survive from generation to generation and has done so for all of these years.

    I wish they would have left well enough alone because it's hard to teach for long-term mastery in a broken system no matter how good of a teacher you are.

    Okay another example, my AP English teacher was one of the toughest teachers of my life and boy did she teach us how to write. She didn't use any special systems or district programs, research-based propaganda, scripts or anything like we are forced to use these days (in my area). It was simply good traditional teaching like great teachers have been doing since the beginning of time. I thought I was going to be allowed to be that type of teacher.

    I just don't think too many students will be able to look back and say they really developed a life time mastery of various topics because we just move them along too fast, plus they are being introduced to certain topics too soon. If I were a student in today's system I would not be able to keep up.

    jenn, it was horrible. (Testing weekly). I was just a new teacher in for a very rude awakening. But there were 30 year veterans just as frustrated and struggling to keep up just as I was. Something is very wrong with the system if 30 year veterans are having trouble with all of the demands and adjustments. I was shocked to hear they had the same complaints I had. I thought it was just me because I was new.

    Personally, it was too much for me to handle because I felt like a 'dirty bad teacher' for moving on to another topic when I know these kids have been cheated out of learning so much about the previous topic. I felt horrible & conflicted and could never accept doing that to those kids.
     
  35. KatherineParr

    KatherineParr Comrade

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    This is what I was trying to get at in another thread. How do we know when teachers are effective? And how do we know that all these "new" ideas work? Maybe it's just my field, but I believe in tradition. Sometimes, the old ideas are good ideas.
     
  36. timsterino

    timsterino Comrade

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    Based on what this country is paying current teachers, I can not see them recruiting future teachers. Period.
     
  37. timsterino

    timsterino Comrade

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    I completely agree.
     
  38. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    I think a lot of the times the "new ideas" ARE the "old ideas". Everything in education is recycled! Isn't direct instruction what teachers were already doing 30 years ago? What about this constant back and forth between phonics and whole language? Many of my family members are teachers so I've seen these ideas come and go. My dad told me a story the other day about how about 15 years ago his administration came in and literally took all of the phonics books out of his classroom and said "you do not teach phonics anymore. We teach whole language." Guess what they're back to teaching- that's right- phonics. I had to go to this reading training at the beginning of the school year to hear about this "new and exciting program!" My district is all over this scripted program that they think is the "new thing." I mentioned it to my dad, who said the program was popular when he was in college!! (well over 20 years ago). I think many of these commercial programs are just packaging up old teaching strategies and selling them too- I've never seen a scripted program that actually included something I really hadn't already seen or thought of myself. It's not new- it's just being sold that way.
     
  39. CanukTeach

    CanukTeach Companion

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    I do believe our teaching strategies (in Canada) are much better than they were 20 years ago. However, 20 years ago Ontario had a 25% drop out rate. Now the population is much more diverse and the drop out rate is much lower so we have more challenges. I am fully aware that the "traditional" methods used in my classes (as a student) would result in lower grades for my students (I've tried some of those strategies as a teacher :) ). However, I have a far wider range of student needs to meet now. We also don't segregate students the way we used to. I really see what we have learned about the brain, etc to be much more than old stuff resold. However, perhaps this doesn't apply internationally. Education is not an industry in Canada. Most PD costs Districts nothing.
     
  40. Major

    Major Connoisseur

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    Good post webmistress and I agree 20 years ago education was better ....... So what happened to "education?"
     
  41. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    I agree that a large part of the problem is that there is no time. We have this problem here too. What I do is have my kids work on their math facts in the hands-on center, and I can check them in centers by giving them a time test (usually 2 minutes or so) to see their progress. We are currently learning fact families, so this is a large part of what we learn this chapter. I think next year I will throw the math facts in early to have them continue memorizing them before I get to that chapter (they "learn" their facts in pre-first).

    My daughter, who is in 3rd grade, is currently leaning division. They spent a few weeks on multiplication. I think constant practice is needed to keep up on those skills.
     

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