The acute shortage of trained maths teachers is finally beginning to get some attention in the national media, thanks in part to the NCMS strategy paper mentioned in the previous post. From today’s Australian:
ADVANCED mathematics is disappearing from public school classrooms, leaving students able to learn only basic maths, because the few qualified teachers are being snapped up by the private sector.
The shortage of maths teachers will become more acute as fewer students continue maths at university, undermining the nation’s skills base in engineering, the sciences and technology, scientists warn.
“The inequitable access to quality mathematics education is a national disgrace,” the National Committee for the Mathematical Sciences says in a report calling for a national strategy to boost the discipline.
An estimated 40 per cent of senior school mathematics teachers do not have a maths major, the minimum needed to teach the subject to senior years, the committee believes. That is up from 30 per cent in 1999.
There is a lively discussion by readers following the article.
See also an opinion piece by Justine Ferrari today in the Australian entitled “Subject of shame: we suck at sums“, and a recent article by former mathematics lecturer Marty Ross in the Melbourne Age, entitled “Summing up a failure“.