How Teachers Can Dramatically Impact America’s Future
In the age of globalization, education—particularly in mathematics and science—has become critical to ensuring America’s role as a leader on the worldwide stage. Americans are convinced that mathematics and science skills are crucial for the future. An overwhelming majority of us believe that more jobs and college opportunities will be available for students with those skills.
Unfortunately, a growing body of research suggests Americans are falling behind in mathematics and science education when compared to students of other countries. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) ranked American students 21st in the world in science skills and 25th in mathematics. According to the 2011 ACT College Readiness Report, Only 43% of American students graduating from high school are “ready” for U.S. college-level math and a mere 27% are “ready” for U.S. college-level science.
The high priority placed on education in the United States will result in continued scrutiny of teachers. Jobs will be available, but teachers will be expected to be highly qualified and able to motivate, support, inspire, and guide their students. The public continues to have a great deal of trust and belief in teachers. In a survey asking which people were most trustworthy regarding public issues, teachers were rated the highest, above members of the armed forces, national experts, and community activists, according to the National Credibility Index. The public is also aware of the direct relationship between a highly qualified teacher and student learning. When asked to rate factors that have the greatest impact on student learning, 44% chose the qualifications of the teacher over other factors, such as class size or socioeconomic conditions of the student and school.
As a teacher, you have a unique opportunity to influence America’s position on the world stage. Don’t take this responsibility lightly.