Certified science teachers are in short supply

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I read with interest letter writer Tom Gordon’s comments about Teach for America (“Teacher Recruits,” Nov. 20) and his statement that he can attest to the fact that numerous certified science and math teachers exist.

In the 2012 Title II report that provides the area of certification of graduates from Pennsylvania colleges and universities, approximately 102 persons graduated certified to teach chemistry and 55 graduated certified to teach physics. Biology fared better with more than 200 people graduated to teach biology.

Slippery Rock University, where Mr. Gordon works, graduated nine people certified to teach biology, three to teach chemistry and none to teach physics. But you now add to this the fact that there are more than 750 public high schools in Pennsylvania and you see the magnitude of the problem.

Obviously not every high school needs to hire science teachers every year, but finding those teachers is difficult. I would ask that we bring some data to this discussion.

My comments are not about supporting or not supporting Teach for America; it is about getting teachers who know their content in front of students. I do agree with Mr. Gordon that the Pittsburgh Public Schools need to work to find these folks, but you cannot find what does not exist.

Franklin Park

The writer, chair of the A+ Schools advisory board, worked in public education for 49 years.

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