You will not understand what I’m talking about in this post if you don’t read my new op-ed in the Tallahassee Democrat first.
But now that you’ve read it, here’s some details that don’t fit into the op-ed’s 500 words:
Florida’s 4th and 8th graders are only average on NAEP math and science tests. I’ve plotted these results in this post.
The state’s results in Advanced Placement courses in everything but math and science are really quite impressive. But again, in AP math and science our students are only average. I show results in this post.
My assertion about the importance of elementary specialists in reading, math and science is based on Sherman Dorn’s recent conversation with Washington Post education reporter Valerie Strauss in her Answer Sheet blog.
The Florida Legislature showed in this spring’s aborted session that they are willing to consider differential pay for teachers. Their particular proposal – basing $10,000 annual bonuses in part on the SAT/ACT scores the teachers earned themselves when they were 17-year-olds in high school – was an eye-roll special. But if somehow they could redirect the differential pay impulse to something that makes a little more sense (like having a bachelor’s degree in math or science) then we might have something really useful going.
My allusion to “instructional constraints that restrict science and math departments from offering the hands-on instruction such specialists need” is necessarily a bit mysterious. You can read about my frustrations on this count at FSU here.