A Survey of State Initiatives
The state board of education in Missouri is considering raising high-school graduation standards to include two units of study in mathematics and three units in science, according to R.V. Wilson, director of teacher certification for the state department of education.
If the new standards are approved, schools will be short some 1,750 math teachers and 1,800 science teachers, he predicted.
The legislature has appointed an interim committee to study supply-and-demand problems. Hearings are being held throughout the state to discuss specific problems in districts. In addition, the state's Educational Conference (a group of education-school deans and state education officials) is completing a study on the supply of and demand for teachers of math, science, special education, and industrial arts.
Preliminary findings of the study will include an analysis of teacher mobility, longevity, and salaries, as well as a look at student-enrollment patterns. The preliminary report is to be released in September and should provide the legislature with a "basis for decisive action," Mr. Wilson said.
The state department of education has initiated discussion with three retired engineers to survey public schools to ascertain the interest in hiring engineers as part-time instructors.
Southeast Missouri State University in Springfield and Northeast Missouri State University in Kirksville have established summer math institutes to provide 11 credit-hours of training through the summer to retrain up to 30 laid-off elementary-school teachers to teach math in junior high schools. The colleges charge a reduced rate of $450 for the summer program. Teachers attend at no charge because local districts pay $350 and the state department of education pays $100 per teacher.
In addition, the University of Missouri at Columbia and Maryville College in St. Louis recently announced two separate programs that will provide inservice training for a limited number of math and science teachers.
Officials of state education schools are discussing requiring computer study for all new teachers, according to Mr. Wilson. And officials at the University of Missouri at Columbia are considering new admission standards that would require students entering the university in 1987 to have more preparation in math and science as well as in other areas.