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'Making Better Teachers'

March 27, 1988

My compliments to Roark for the series on elementary and secondary education as a career. I was particularly pleased to see the inclusion of the third article on the lack of proper training. Bad as it was described, the problem is even more acute than the numbers indicate. Many of the students who have come to us seeking to convert temporary credentials to full at either level are embarrassingly low in mathematical competence. At the elementary level, they are taking our elementary mathematics for teachers and some are having great difficulty. This, incidentally, is the lowest level course our department offers that allows university credit. At the secondary level, candidates come in with terribly wide gaps between their current knowledge and our program requirements. In both cases, these are often people currently trying to teach mathematics and perhaps have been for several years.

Given that the mathematical preparation of potential teachers is so low, I would expect that a concerted effort to recruit our stronger students would be under way by high schools and junior highs. That is simply not happening. Literally years go by without anyone from any school district contacting our department for potential teachers.

WAYNE BISHOP

Chair, Department of Mathematics

and Computer Science

Cal State LA

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