America’s future math teachers, on average, earned a C on a new test comparing their skills with their counterparts in 15 other countries, significantly outscoring college students in the Philippines and Chile but placing far below those in educationally advanced nations like Singapore and Taiwan.
The researchers who led the math study in this country, to be released in Washington on Thursday, judged the results acceptable if not encouraging for America’s future elementary teachers. But they called them disturbing for American students heading to careers in middle schools, who were outscored by students in Germany, Poland, the Russian Federation, Singapore, Switzerland and Taiwan…
“The study reveals that America’s middle school mathematics teacher preparation is not up to the task,” said William H. Schmidt, the Michigan State University professor who was its lead author. To improve its competitiveness, Dr. Schmidt said, the nation should recruit stronger candidates into careers teaching math and require them to take more advanced courses…
“There are so many people who bash our teachers’ math knowledge that to be honest these results are better than what a lot of people might expect,” said Hank Kepner, professor of mathematics education at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, who is president of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. “We show up pretty well here, right in the middle of the pack.”
Sorry, folks; but, I can’t get excited about “middle of the pack”.
Face the essential history of American education – which showed the way to the rest of the world at providing sound qualifying knowledge to high school students, preparing them well for university education.
In my admittedly extended lifetime, I went through typical urban elementary and secondary schools which turned out university-level students. Add the dynamic that rushed through this land – led by returning soldiers and the GI Bill – after World War 2, and the U.S. was an education dynamo.
We have lost too much to be happy with half-measures.