Monday, January 20, 2020
US flag

Openings for good math teachers can be found

A few teachers will be retiring this year at Meridian Senior High School, writes Brian Reed in The Meridian Daily, the student newspaper at the school in Macon, Illinois.

Although the district has “received at least one application for each of the other positions currently open, they have not received applications for math.” Math teacher Jeannine Rude will retire at the end of this school year, and district officials at the school, which serves about 263 students, have been looking for a high school math teacher to replace her since November.

“It may not be because of the view of Meridian by math teachers but the lack of teachers themselves,” he continues, citing both stats from the Learning Policy Institute and anecdotal evidence from the University of Illinois, Springfield.

“Many teacher education programs at universities throughout the state have seen a drop in enrollment in recent years; math is definitely one of the harder-to-fill areas,” he quotes Meghan Kessler, an assistant professor at UIS, as saying.


(NYCTF-MI is an alternative-certification pathway.)

One study in 2012, conducted by the Center for Educational Policy Analysis at Stanford University found that using alternative certification pathways for teachers who aren’t necessarily strong in a desired content area, such as math, can be helpful.

For well over a decade school districts across the United States have struggled to recruit and retain effective mathematics teachers. In response to the need for qualified math teachers and the difficulty of directly recruiting individuals who have already completed the math content required for qualification, some districts, including Baltimore, Philadelphia, Washington, DC, and New York City, have developed alternative certification programs with a math immersion component to recruit otherwise well-qualified candidates who do not have undergraduate majors in math.

The study concluded that teachers who follow one of the alternative pathways to math teaching generally have higher academic credentials than their math-major peers, but their students showed lower gains in their math performance over several years of measurement if alternative-certification teachers were used than if math-major or Teach For America peers were used. In some cases, though, the differences in student achievement, particularly in middle school math, were not statistically significant.

Because about half the math teachers in New York City’s public schools got to their jobs through alternative certification pathways, it’s worth considering whether this can be an effective answer to the teacher shortages in math that have been in the headlines since at least the beginning of this century.

Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.

Recent posts

Feds boost Bay funding

Restoration efforts in the Chesapeake Bay watershed received a boost in federal funding in the budget Congress passed last month.

Md. & IL bands perform on New Year’s in...

Bands from IL and Md. once again entertained thousands of people who lined the streets of London and Rome on New Year's Day.

Howard Co. sounds an under-staffing alarm

Teachers in a Md. district have filed a grievance over missing planning and lunch periods and, as a result, putting the most vulnerable students at risk.

Top 11 school stories of 2019

We find these 11 stories to have the greatest potential for influencing activity and direction in schools for the near future.

Girls’ volleyball champs in Illinois

We congratulate the Illinois state champions in girls' volleyball: Newark, St Teresa, Sterling, & Benet Academy.

A weekend of ‘band geeks’ across America

The musical Band Geeks was in performance at a MD high school, just as marching bands from across America named a national champion.

2 dead, 3 wounded in Calif. school shooting

Another school shooting has resulted in the death of 2 California high school students. The suspect shot himself and is in custody.

Mercury makes a transit; next in 2032

A transit of Mercury occurred today and was visible from the US, provided you had sunny skies. It was one of longest possible transits.

On the Naperville BWW racist incident

A racist incident at a Naperville, IL, sports bar indicates that the threads of racism are strong, perhaps as strong as ever.

IL bill could excuse absences to vote

A proposed law in IL could give students up to two hours during the school day so they could vote in the upcoming election.

Loan forgiveness gains some bipartisan support

One Republican from GA, who used to work under Betsy DeVos at the US Education Dept, offers a plan to forgive some student loan debt.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.