Perdue signs math, science bill

A robot delivered Gov. Sonny Perdue the official copy of House Bill 280, which Perdue promptly signed into law to grant the state’s math and science teachers higher pay. 

The robots that frolicked in the Capitol’s north wing were created by Georgia students for a robotics competition this past weekend at the Georgia Dome. Those creations, Perdue said, are indicative of the need for the bill. 

HB 280 would encourage would-be educators to choose math and science tracks in college by automatically granting new teachers the pay-grade of a fifth-year instructor. Any current math and science teacher would likewise see a pay raise. 

The state has faced a shortage of qualified math and science teachers emerging from colleges. In 2007-2008, he said, Georgia produced 2,000 early childhood teachers but only one to teach physics, nine in chemistry and 140 in math.

4 comments Add your comment

d

April 23rd, 2009
1:55 am

HB280 is perhaps one of the most unfair pieces of legislation to have passed the General Assembly this year. Although I fully understand the importance of strong educators in the math and science fields, placing emphasis on these two at the expense of other fields of study robs students a well-rounded education. As an instructor of social studies myself, it is my job to prepare students to be citizens in the world that they live in. Our instructors of English prepare students to be able to communicate in a manner that is necessary for success in all other fields. Our instructors of world language prepare students for life in an increasingly global community. Our instructors of physical education teach students how to care for their bodies to prevent health issues later in life that cost taxpayers millions of dollars annually. Our instructors of fine arts teach about the culture that has made our country what it is. I could go on and on. We, as Georgians, though are so divided as you can see from the General Assembly’s failure to pass sufficient transit plans for the metro-Atlanta area. There are such great disparities between the levels of education in the metro area and other areas in the state. We could use this funding to improve education throughout the state. It is impossible for some of counties to offer the starting salaries that are offered in the metro area systems. Why not, instead of using this funding to focus on two specific disciplines, focus on improving education across the great state of Georgia? In 2010, the General Assembly could utilize the funding that is dedicated to math and science to draw teachers to counties that otherwise would be off the map for highly qualified teachers in all fields.

Personally, I am extremely hurt because as of next year, I will be a fifth year teacher, and my little sister, who is expecting to be a first year math teacher will earn a higher salary than I will next year because the DeKalb County Board of Education has frozen me now for multiple years at the salary of a third year teacher.

ellemem

April 23rd, 2009
7:59 am

d – While I understand your frustration, I also understand why the bill was signed. When I graduated from college, we had 75 students in my teaching cohort. Out of those 75, 8 majored in math, 6 in science, and 2 in both math and science. The painful truth is that the majority of education majors at the middle/high school level are certified to teach language arts and social studies.

Yes, language arts and social studies are important, as are the fine arts and physical education. Unfortunately, the State of Georgia has a shortage of qualified teachers in math and science. The pay increase isn’t meant to reward bad teachers, but to attract more people to these content areas. We have to have the bodies before we can draw teachers to counties that would otherwise be off the map.

In addition, math and science teachers have five years to meet additional criteria in order to retain the increase; if they don’t, their pay reverts back to what it should have been.

d

April 23rd, 2009
9:42 pm

You may be right, and frankly, I’ve been overly emotional about this particular legislation because as a teacher in DeKalb County, I will be paid the third-year rate for the third year in a row in 2009-2010, so teachers coming fresh out of college will be automatically making more than I do, despite any experience in the classroom. There is more to teaching than content knowledge, and that is not taken into account until it is too late. The state of Georgia also lacks quality teachers in all disciplines in areas of the state outside the metro-area. Those funds could have been better used to get teachers into the rural counties of this state.

?

May 3rd, 2009
2:50 pm

There is so much pressure on a math teacher to meet the standards–the stakes for math is very high. If they don’t pass the test, in critcal grades they fail the year. (Like Reading…) Parent pressure is unequally great, in my experience, compared to the other subjects. I also teach several preps having a regular and advanced class unlike my counterparts in LA, Reading, SS at my school. It just never seemed right to pay the Drama, Keyboarding, etc. teacher the same as a highly qualified math teacher. They are important but do not have the same preparation, high-stakes curriculum, and job demands as the math teacher. Often the elective classes have a curriculum that repeats every 9 weeks unlike ours which is only 1/year. I am grateful to the governor for having some understanding of the value of a math teacher. Thank you!