"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

. . .a pupil attitude factor, which appears to have a stronger relationship to achievement than do all the “school” factors together, is the extent to which an individual feels that he has some control over his own destiny. James Coleman, 1966

Thursday, May 25, 2006

NSTA Cites Poor Working Conditions & NCLB as Reasons for Drop in Science Scores

As you know, you have to read the newspaper with the headlines you have, not the headlines you want. That's why I blog - to get the headlines I want.

Buried way down deep in today's New York Time's story on NAEP science scores is the real story:
Michael J. Padilla, a professor at the University of Georgia who is president of the National Science Teachers Association, said that the problem was not that universities were failing to train sufficient numbers of science majors or that too few were opting for classroom careers, but that about a third of those who accepted teaching jobs abandoned the profession within five years.

"What happens is that the system tends to beat them down," Mr. Padilla said. "Working conditions are poor, it's a difficult job, and the pay isn't that great."

Some teachers cited the decreasing amount of time devoted to science in schools, which they attributed in part to the annual tests in reading and math required by the No Child Left Behind law. That has led many elementary schools to cancel some science classes. On average, the time devoted to science instruction among elementary teachers across the nation declined from a weekly average of 2.6 hours in 2000 to 2.3 hours in 2004, Department of Education statistics show
The media blitz over NAEP science scores has everyone scrambling just in time for the big push to to start science testing in 2007-2008. If NCLB is not scrapped there won't be a need for talented, dedicated science teachers who love the subject because the teachers can just follow the script. That should help America's global competitiveness.

As you know, you have to teach science with the curriculum and working conditions you have, not the curriculum and working conditions you want.


  1. I can tell you for a fact that at my school in the Spring the only Science kids receive is once every 2 weeks in my Science lab. The rest of their time is spent on reading and math test prep.

  2. To add to this discourse, I was ask to stop teaching science and teach additional math to sixth grade students about to take their state tests. The problem spoken about is not just short changing science, we are also taking away history.