Many STEM Teachers Don’t Hold CertificationsPosted: June 15, 2011
Tom Luce, CEO of the National Math and Science Initiative (NMSI) and a former assistant secretary at the U.S. Department of Education, says that, oftentimes, a certificate to teach science isn’t enough.
“In our mind, a certificate doesn’t necessarily mean somebody has content knowledge,” he says. Although subject certification varies state to state, Luce says that taking one chemistry class in college might qualify a teacher to teach the subject. […]
According to the NCES study, which surveyed high school teachers during the 2007-2008 school year, fewer than half of chemistry and physics teachers majored in those subjects, and a quarter of math teachers don’t hold math degrees. The problem extends to history, where less than two thirds of teachers hold a history degree. Conversely, 82 percent of English teachers, 90 percent of art teachers, and 95 percent of music teachers hold a bachelor’s degree or higher in their field.
Luce says the problem is most prevalent in middle school, where more than two thirds of math teachers aren’t qualified to teach the subject, a 2007 report by the National Academies shows. Only 1 in 10 middle school physical science teachers have a degree or certification in the subject, according to the same report.