Obama to Fix America's Overstaffed, Underachieving Schools by Hiring 10,000 More Teachers. On Facebook!

Two charts, courtesy of Cato's Andrew J. Coulson, prepared from publicly available data:

And here's President Obama's response to these facts, from a press release this week:

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, President Barack Obama announced a new goal of recruiting 10,000 Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) teachers over the next two years.  This announcement will move the country forward on the Obama Administration’s ambitious goal of preparing 100,000 STEM teachers over the next decade.

Ok, maybe Obama knows that we already have way more teachers and administrators than we know what to do with, but also knows that we need better ones. That could be what this is about, right? Secretary of Education Arne Duncan clarified that, unlike the bazillion ineffective teachers we already have, these new 10,000 teachers will totally be different and awesome, because we are going to get them from Facebook.

Read lots more about America's always-impending teacherpocalypse.

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  • bubba||

    Those test scores seem remarkably flat. They aren't re-scaled each year are they?

  • JRD||

    You realize of course that your statistics are totally irrelevant to your claim that additional STEM teachers are unnecessary? Your charts indicate total employment, but say nothing about the number of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math teachers in public schools. It's entirely possible that public schools are overstaffed generally but understaffed as to STEM personnel; the information you provide says nothing about that.

  • ||

    Then fire all of the lousy teachers that are overstaffing our schools first. Don't hire more teachers (even teachers that fill a necessary role) to compound the problem.

  • NEA||

    Why do you hate the children?

  • G-Ray Goo-Se||

    RTFM

  • ||

    The use of the word "recruiting" implies that there are thousands of good "STEM" teachers just laying around waiting to be picked up. I rather doubt that's so. They'll probably end up "recruiting" 10,000 more Womyn's Studies grads, and then wonder why the kids aren't learning math.

  • Abdul||

    For those of you who haven't been in school for a while, the big trend now is "team teaching." It's driving the education hiring.

    You grew up with just one teacher in your class. Educational researchers have concluded that each class really needs two. Among the justifications for this is that so many kids in non special ed programs have IEP's that even Honors classes need special ed teachers. Cynical, child-hating bastards that you are will blame some union feather-bedding as the real incentive.

    Teachers I know love it/hate it based on whether their team teacher is competent/jerkoff. The beuaty of this is that when teacher peers start complaining to management that none of them want to work with Mr. Jerkoff, we may move an incremental step closer to teacher accountability.

  • zoltan||

    Classes should be separated by ability, not age.

  • ||

    We need a teacher-student ratio of 20:1.

    Paid for by the National Education and Sex Worker Alliance.

  • I want my OWN||

    What ever happened to the Golden Ratio, 1:1?

  • Ted S.||

    The golden ratio is 1.618033989...:1

    It's designated in math by the Greek letter phi (φ), but if I try to include a phi in this comment the server squirrels will probably have a conniption fit.

  • In MY school||

    I'll take 1.6:1, any day, all day. We need some deltas and lambdas also.

  • ||

    Where are my 20 sex workers? Congress left town you say? Without addressing this problem?

  • ||

    I can only learn with...uh, 6 sex teachers per me.
    Blond
    Brunette
    Asian
    Black
    Latina
    Hmmmm, I keep thinking I'm forgetting something...

  • ||

    I'll tell you what you're forgetting...a few more latinas.

  • Trespasser||

    Redhead

  • The Gobbler||

    I've been spending the last several years forgetting a redhead.

  • ||

    You need to learn how to handle explosives. Fire in the hole!

  • Urkobold™||

    IT'S TRUE. THE TEACHER AND SEX WORKER UNIONS MERGED BECAUSE OF THIS WOMAN.

  • ||

    maybe Obama knows that we already have way more teachers and administrators than we know what to do with, but also knows that we need better ones. That could be what this is about, right?

    I thought it was about unions and the November elections. Too cynical?

  • Abdul||

    Sincere question: is there any reputable business that solicits applications through Facebook? What do I do, write on Dewey and Latham's "wall" that I'm interested in corporate mergers?

  • Paul||

    Just hit the 'Like' button and wait for the offers to roll in.

  • ||

    It's true! I saw it on CNN!

  • ||

    It's not really different than a website...if just happens to be where the college kids are...I have a client (they pay their bills, so I guess they are a reputable business) that posts open positions on their facebook wall so that all those who 'like' them see the open positions. They post the same things to their corporate website. INterested parties are encouraged to apply...via the corporate website.

  • Paul||

    By any normal market metric, this would cause teacher salaries to drop.

  • ||

    Nope, because they're not going to be able to get qualified STEM teachers from teacher's school. They'll have to be hiring actual science and engineering grads. And to drag me away from my engineering job that pays pretty well they're going to have to pay me a hell of a lot more than they usually pay a first year teacher. Even in Vermont.

  • adam||

    They will invent a teaching certificate in STEM that will provide proof that they are qualifed in STEM. The certificate will require two years of classes involving important STEM tasks, like making models of molecules from wires and styrofoam balls.

  • Paul||

    This.

  • Bingo||

    Not to mention that engineers typically like refining work or developing new things more than they like rehashing the basics with an unmotivated and uninterested audience (which is what 99% of K-12 students are by default, especially if they were forced to take an engineering class).

    I almost think that engineers would do better with an apprenticeship program. Get interested kids around 16, have them do actual work while studying, maybe help pay for a university education in return for further work while they are still students. While working, they are automatically going to deal with real world business, marketing, and finance. At graduation, 21-23 years of age, you'd have someone grounded in a ton of real experience that could even further specialize in Science/Tech/Engineering/Mathemetics if they desired.

  • JEP||

    You can do this, but it's not as widespread as it needs to be.

    The FIRST robotics program is supposed to get kids interested in robotics and engineering while in high school. The trick is that you need to teachers who know something about engineering and robotics.

    I tried it, but the teachers didn't know what I wanted to learn, and the competition was 50% based on "team spirit" instead of the performance of what you "designed."

    They say that the best coaches are the athletes who weren't naturals, but worked like hell to be good at something.

    STEM teachers would be the same way. People with education degrees are neither naturals at STEM subjects nor are they able to practice what they're trying to teach.

    Most states require that you have a teaching certificate in order to teacher in public schools. Some private schools don't really care, and higher anyone they want - mainly people who have retired from industry.

    My engineering friends and I have all basically decided that we're going to be teaching high school math/science at some point.

    I'm one of those people who always needs something to do. So my plan is to work for 30+ years in industry, then retire and teach high school students.

  • Spiny Norman||

    Why do the science scores stop in 2000? Don't they teach science anymore?

  • Hugh Akston||

    Science is offensive to certain religious and racial groups. It has been replaced with parachute day in gym class.

  • Al Sharpton||

    Science is racist!

  • Wind Rider||

    At AlGore's request, no, they don't. He almost got away with the 'no math' thing in Florida a few years back, and had hoped to have refined the technique enough to take the science tack and convince everyone that the sky was about to burst into flame or something if you didn't buy a Prius and push it everywhere you wanted to go and so people could pay him a lot of money for saying so. These lines are merely reflective of the tracks of my tears that his latest sceme is blowing up in his chubby little face even as we while away our time on his 'greatest achievement'. . .

  • ||

    They'll probably end up "recruiting" 10,000 more Womyn's Studies grads, and then wonder why the kids aren't learning math.

    "Teh Paternalist Oppressors unfairly stigmatize irrational numbers!"

  • igilmore||

    Something seems wrong with the first graph. The US population has increased by 50% since 1970. Why is public school enrollment only increased approximately 10% ? Are the rest of those students in private schools?

  • Hugh Akston||

    Not all population increase is due to people falling out of vaginas.

  • Hah||

    I'll tip you for that delicious hamburger sandwich!

  • Bingo||

    The K-12 demographic didn't increase 50%. A large chunk of the US population is taken up by the long-lived, self-centered leeches known as baby boomers. I'd also like to note that we are quickly approaching 50 years of baby boomer voting. What a splendid job they've done!

  • ||

    As a boomer myself, I have to agree, we suck.

  • Paul||

    Wait 'til Gen X has all the political power. Imagine all the new and crazy shit that will be banned or illegal then!

  • Gen Z||

    Yeah, but the Gen X'ers are crazy enough to start legalizing things again. The totalitarian-leaning 60's radical geezers will go nutso.

  • Paul||

    Yeah, but the Gen X'ers are crazy enough to start legalizing things again.

    As a card-carrying member of the aging Gen-X set, uhh, no they're not.

  • bubba||

    Gen X is too small. It's the Gen Y slackers that will take over.

    Self-Esteem for everyone!

  • The Gobbler||

    The Worstest Generation

  • Rrabbit||

    I thought that, too. When I checked the numbers, I was quite surprised that the enrollment numbers were represented correctly.
    http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=65

    But the employment numbers are not:
    http://nces.ed.gov/programs/di.....09_064.asp (additional security guards etc. hired should not be counted as "teachers").

    Still, an almost 60% increase in teachers from 1970 to 2010. So, whatever the problem is, it doesn't seem to be "not enough teachers".

    I suspect that the actual problems are
    o too many bad teachers, not enough good teachers
    o much more bureaucracy than 1970.

  • Bingo||

    You can get a better STEM (first i've heard of this acronym!) education on the internet for FREE than you will ever get in a public school.

  • Zeb||

    I got very good math and science education in highschool. But I was in the smart classes and that is getting to be a long time ago now.

  • Bingo||

    I thought my HS education was damn good too, but it's nothing compared to whats available online. Hell, MIT has entire programs online, including lectures.

    I've probably learned more in the past couple years reading blogs, watching TED talks, looking up stuff on Wikipedia, and asking questions (that get expert and dissenting opinions) than I learned in 4 years of high school.

  • ||

    Is this the October Suprise?
    Pretty sucky suprise Barry.

  • Wind Rider||

    Well, 'progressives' have been 'reforming' education long enough that the pipeline has finally stopped coughing up graduates with enough actual education to be able to handle the 'hard' subjects. Color me surprised? No, because even the jumbo box of Crayolas doesn't have a color named 'surprised'.

  • The Gobbler||

    I'm amazed there is still a black crayon.

  • JEP||

    My favorite is "Mr. Kurtz, he dead!" black...

  • ||

    Get interested kids around 16, have them do actual work while studying, maybe help pay for a university education in return for further work while they are still students. While working, they are automatically going to deal with real world business, marketing, and finance. At graduation, 21-23 years of age, you'd have someone grounded in a ton of real experience that could even further specialize in Science/Tech/Engineering/Mathemetics if they desired.

    That's just crazy talk!

  • ||

    I thought my HS education was damn good too

    I thought my high school education sucked, until I got to college and saw how ignorant the kids from places like Denver and Edina were.

    I guess this means the New York Board of Regents had not yet gone off the rails, circa 1972.

  • Abdul||

    NY Regents keeps that state's schools pretty decent. It should be as screwed up as Albany, but because the Regents is a body created by the NY State Constitution, the legislature can't pack it full of cronies and special interests.

    Oh, cronies and special interests get in, but it's not as bad as it would be otherwise.

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