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Improving K12 Science Education Judy Franz. Symposium in Honor of Helen Quinn April 16, 2010 SLAC. Chair of the National Reseach Council Board on Science Education (BOSE).

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Improving K12 Science Education Judy Franz

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Improving K12 Science EducationJudy Franz

Symposium in Honor of

Helen Quinn

April 16, 2010

SLAC


  • Chair of the National Reseach Council Board on Science Education (BOSE)


“ My major goal for the coming year is to take a long range look at the Society. Where do we want to be five and ten years from now, and what do we need to do to get there?”


Why is Improving K-12 Education Important?

  • Workforce and economic development

  • General Science Literacy

  • Production of future scientists and engineers


President Obama:

“If we as a nation do not prepare one of the world’s most educated and scientifically and mathematically literate workforces, then we have no chance of continuing to be one of the world’s most secure and competitive economies.”


What is needed to improve K-12 science education?

Most important: an excellent teacher in every classroom


Rising Above the Gathering Storm

Action A-1: Annually recruit 10,000 science and math teachers by awarding 4-year scholarships and thereby educating 10 million minds

Action A-2: Strengthen the skills of 250,000 teachers through training and education programs at summer institutes, ----


What we need to do

  • Increase the number of well-prepared math and science teachers at all grade levels

  • Improve professional development for science and math teachers

    +

  • Support and retain good teachers

  • Ensure good teachers for all students, regardless of socio-economic background


Good teachers are not the only thing that is needed

  • Good curriculum and curricular materials

  • Equipment for hands-on experiments

  • Better understanding of how students learn

  • ?

  • ?


Why don’t we have sufficient excellent physics teachers?

  • Low priority in physics departments

  • Low salaries and no merit pay

  • Lack of mentoring and professional development

  • Erratic funding for teacher support programs

  • Poor school management

  • Lack of good standards and assessment


Why don’t we have sufficient excellent physics teachers?

  • Low priority in physics departments

  • Low salaries and no merit pay

  • Lack of mentoring and professional development

  • Erratic funding for teacher support programs

  • Poor school management

  • Lack of good standards and assessment


Need for High School Physics TeachersFields with the highest demand(listed in order of decreasing demand)

Severe/Profound Disabilities (Spec. Ed)Multi-categorical (Spec. Ed)Emotional/Behavioral Disorders (Spec.Ed)Mild/Moderate DisabilitiesPhysicsMental Retardation (Spec. Ed)Learning Disability (Spec. Ed)Mathematics Visually ImpairedChemistry

2004 AAEE (American Association of Employment in Education)Educator Supply and Demand in the United States Report


Physics Teachers

~20,000 physics teachers

1/3 have a degree in either physics or physics education

Most of the rest have at most a set of introductory courses

AND there is a dearth of even bad teachers

(But many are very, very good!!!)


1999 Joint Society Statement

“The scientific societies listed below urge the physics community, specifically physical science and engineering departments and their faculty members, to take an active role in improving the pre-service training of K-12 physics/science teachers. Improving teacher training involves building cooperative working relationships between physicists in universities and colleges and the individuals and groups involved in teaching physics to K- 12 students. Strengthening the science education of future teachers addresses the pressing national need for improving K-12 physics education and recognizes that these teachers play a critical education role as the first and often-times last physics teacher for most students. –”


APS/AAPT/AIP Joint Efforts

  • We asked universities and colleges to endorse the statement, acknowledging their responsibilities

  • Now over 360 have now done so (including Stanford)

  • Started a major effort to work with universities to develop models for good teacher education programs (PhysTEC)

  • Received major funding from NSF and FIPSE


Key Elements

  • Teaching intro physics courses with active learning

  • Real cooperation with the School of Education

  • Teacher-in-Residence (Master Teacher)

  • Mentoring throughout the early teaching years

  • Assessment


Two additional elements have been added:

  • Active recruiting of students

  • Early teaching experiences often as a TA in intro courses


Program has become a great success

  • Recently received a second $6.5M NSF grant

  • Often cited as a model program


12 PhysTEC Universities

Ball State University

Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo

Cornell University**

Florida International University**

Seattle Pacific University

Towson University

University of Arizona

University of Arkansas

University of Colorado, Boulder**

University of Minnesota, Twin Cities**

University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill**

Western Michigan University


Why don’t we have sufficient excellent physics teachers?

  • Low priority in physics departments

  • Low salaries and no merit pay

  • Lack of mentoring and professional development

  • Erratic funding for teacher support programs

  • Poor school management

  • Lack of good standards and assessment


Weekly wages of full-time teachers and comparable workers: 1996–2006

TeachersComparables

  • 1996721728

  • 1998753793

  • 2000791872

  • 2002836950

  • 2004894 1007

  • 2006920 1073


USA Today Op-Ed by Bill Frist

“Something remarkable is happening in American public education. In a matter of months, the Obama administration’s Race- to-the-Top competition engineered the kind of wholesale reform that ordinarily would take a generation to pull off.”


Why don’t we have sufficient excellent physics teachers?

  • Low priority in physics departments

  • Low salaries and no merit pay

  • Lack of mentoring and professional development

  • Erratic funding for teacher support programs

  • Poor school management

  • Lack of good standards and assessment


Why don’t we have sufficient excellent physics teachers?

  • Low priority in physics departments

  • Low salaries and no merit pay

  • Lack of mentoring and professional development

  • Erratic funding for teacher support programs

  • Poor school management

  • Lack of good standards and assessment


Gathering Storm Report

“The US education infrastructure suffers from a recurring pattern of abundant short-term thinking and insufficient long-term investment.”


Why don’t we have sufficient excellent physics teachers?

  • Low priority in physics departments

  • Low salaries and no merit pay

  • Lack of mentoring and professional development

  • Erratic funding for teacher support programs

  • Poor school management

  • Lack of good standards and assessment


Why don’t we have sufficient excellent physics teachers?

  • Low priority in physics departments

  • Low salaries and no merit pay

  • Lack of mentoring and professional development

  • Erratic funding for teacher support programs

  • Poor school management

  • Lack of good standards and assessment


Taking Science to School: Learning and Teaching Science in Grades K-8

  • Knowing, using, and interpreting scientific explanations of the natural world

  • Generating and evaluating scientific evidence and explanation

  • Understanding the nature and development of scientific knowledge

  • Participating productively in scientific practices and discourse


  • Achieve: Diploma Network Project States

    85% of high school students


Achieve and Common State Standards

Achieve and the National Governor Association trying to set benchmarks for all students to receive a ‘world-class’ education.

48 states launched an effort to formulate ‘Common Core Standards’ in math and English

Released on March 10 to good reviews


Science Standards: Why so Difficult?

Currently two sets of standards exist

  • AAAS Project 2061 (1989/1995)

  • National Academy (1996)

    Characterized as “a mile wide and an inch deep”


Co-chairs Stanford Initiative on Improving K-12 Education


Thank you, Helen!


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