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School Systems Hiring Science Majors As Teachers

Many observers endorse waiving the pedagogy requirement initially, but say additional training in education is crucial Facing a shortage of qualified applicants, some public school districts have begun hiring college graduates who majored in the sciences, rather than in education, to teach science, primarily in high schools. Science education observers say the practice is likely to increase in coming years. Most are cautiously optimistic about its effectiveness, although many warn that greater

Thomas Durso


Many observers endorse waiving the pedagogy requirement initially, but say additional training in education is crucial
Facing a shortage of qualified applicants, some public school districts have begun hiring college graduates who majored in the sciences, rather than in education, to teach science, primarily in high schools. Science education observers say the practice is likely to increase in coming years. Most are cautiously optimistic about its effectiveness, although many warn that greater facility with science must not come at the expense of teaching skills.

Photo: Carol Clayton

NO TRADEOFFS: AAAS's Shirley Malcom says both scientists and nonscientists can make good science teachers.
In cities such as New York and Oakland, Calif., the number of teaching openings, especially in science and math, has exceeded the number of licensed teachers available to fill them. New York, for example, lost nearly 6,000 teachers in 14 months over 1995 and 1996. As a result,...

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