The Naples News is carrying comments from Collier County administrators at both the district and school levels who are concerned about the challenge of the new graduation requirements posed by SB 4.
The primary concern? The News described the comments of Gulf Coast High School science department chair Sandra Tussey and Collier Chief Instructional Officer Martha Hayes:
Sandra Tussey, chairwoman of the Gulf Coast High School science department, said the biggest issue is finding qualified teachers to teach physics and chemistry.
Of the school’s 14 science teachers, four are certified to teach chemistry and one is certified to teach physics, she said.
“Our physics teacher can teach six classes or about 150 students. To compare, there are 460 students in the senior class,” she said. “I think you are going to have a lot of out-of-field teachers or you are going to have to hire a lot more teachers.”
Hayes said while the district will be able to hire the new teachers, finding teachers qualified to teach chemistry and physics is difficult.
Tussey said finding qualified chemistry and physics teachers is often difficult because those with specialties in those fields take more lucrative jobs in the private sector.
On the last point: You betcha. Take a look at this plot of starting salaries for bachelors’ degree recipients in 2008-2009. While differential pay shouldn’t be necessary to attract biology teachers, it may be that differentials of $5,000 for chemistry teachers and $10,000 for math and physics teachers are necessary.