The Research Corporation for Science Advancement published a report recently called Science Teaching as a Profession: Why It Isn’t How It Could Be. I’m not aware of many studies that specifically examine the profession of science teaching in our public schools, so this is an interesting look at what is going on. The authors are up front about their methodology, which might be lacking a bit in objectivity as far as studies go. But what they discovered is nonetheless an intriguing breakdown of the state of science teaching as a profession and what might be done to improve it. I haven’t read the whole thing yet, but it seems that the primary solution the authors suggest is that teachers need to step up and take control of their profession. They need some ownership over what they do. I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts in the comments concerning this publication.
Our proposition is simple but revolutionary. Until and unless science teachers are given back substantial control of the subjects they teach, including curriculum content, pedagogy, pacing and assessment, and successfully recruited into leadership at the school, the district, the state, and the national levels, we won’t have robust student achievement.
We narrowed our original question—how to stem science teacher attrition—to this one: What would it take to return science teaching to the elite, highly respected professional status it once enjoyed (and still does in many other countries)?