Sep 24, 2006

making math education better means paying teachers more

Forty percent of math teachers don't have a math degree. Multimillionaire James Simon thinks that's a problem worth his time and money.
On Monday morning, flanked by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Simons pledged to double his initial $25 million commitment to Math for America (MfA), an education program he founded in 2004. With this cash infusion, the program will provide training and support to some 400 new math teachers in New York City in the next five years.... The number of students pursuing math and science degrees in America is in decline. Those that do study these subjects often enter fields that pay better than education. Simons' idea for persuading more graduates to become educators is a no-brainer: Pay them more.

"With all the good will in the world, once you get married and have kids, it's a tough job and the alternatives are so attractive," Simons said, his voice a near-pitch-perfect Humphrey Bogart, with a slight Bostonian inflection. "Teaching math and science ought to be a professional activity in which those professionals are well-paid and happy to do that as a career."
To which this English major says, "Amen."

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