Joining a growing movement to remedy the troubles in science and mathematics education, the American Federation of Teachers has announced that it will form a special, high-level task force to "examine the emerging shortage of math and science teachers, to review the question of how these subjects are being taught in our public schools, and to develop viable proposals for eliminating the shortage and for improving math and science education."
Albert Shanker, president of the 600,000-member union, described the shortage of qualified teachers as "just the tip of the iceberg." Mr. Shanker asked the group to study the overall labor market in relation to public education.
Among the issues that the task force plans to study:
The use of differential salary scales for mathematics and science teachers. Historically, the union has opposed such measures, but the group will review the question;
The effectiveness of existing curricula in mathematics and science;
Current teacher\preparation and certification programs; and
Federal legislation dealing with mathematics and science education.
The group will issue a final report in January.
The National School Boards Association has received a $235,000 grant from the U.S. Justice Department's Office of Juvenile Justice for a "Project on School-Based Strategies for Delinquency Prevention."
The grant, which is the largest ever received by the association, will be used to develop sources of information on successful delinquency-prevention projects, according to the association. The group will publish a 300-page source book that will be available to school personnel. The book is scheduled for publication in October 1983.
"A primary objective of the project is to link the Justice Department's vast information resources with nsba's dissemination network of 16,000 school districts," said Thomas A. Shannon, executive director of the organization.
The project, which is expected to run for three years, will also "promote coordination and cooperation among school leaders and component groups of the juvenile-justice system."
In an extension of its efforts to promote liberal-arts education, the Association of American Colleges in Washington is beginning a yearlong public information campaign targeted at high-school students, high-school counselors, and the parents of prospective college students.
The campaign will be titled "Get a liberal education ... it's the course for life." The theme emphasizes the "importance of educational choices over the entire course of a student's life," according to aac president Mark H. Curtis.
At a time when the job market is unpredictable because of rapidly changing technology and complex economic and social problems, students can no longer use higher education solely as a means of preparing themselves for their first job after graduation, Mr. Curtis said.
"A liberal education gives students a foundation of skills and knowledge that will never be obsolete. Skills in communication, decision making, and problem analysis can be applied to the careers they pursue five, 10, or even 20 years from now."
The National Education Association has committed its 1.6 million members to a new coalition against the nuclear-arms race.
Terry Herndon, the union's executive director, announced the creation of Citizens Against Nuclear War earlier this month.
The group will campaign for "bilateral, verifiable arms reduction with a freeze as a start," Mr. Herdon said. The 26 organizations that belong to the coalition have between 18 million and 20 million members, he said.
Besides the nea, which is the nation's second-largest union, the coalition includes such organizations as the American Association of University Women, the National Black Caucus of State Legislators, the National Council of Senior Citizens, and the Young Women's Christian Association.