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Where Are All the Math Teachers

As if things weren't bad enough for U.S. students in math and science classes, a new report coming out in the November 2000 issue of the American Mathematical Society's Notices tells of another problem down the pike: In as few as 10 years, the nation may face a critical shortage of math teachers. Fully 115 math education doctorates were awarded in the 1997-98 academic year, according to data from the National Research Council. But in an informal survey, Robert E. Reys, a professor of mathematics education at the University of Missouri-Columbia, turned up more than 300 open positions for people with these degrees over the past two years. Furthermore, he found that almost 80 percent of the faculty in 48 departments awarding math education doctoral degrees are due to retire within the next decade. "The shortage of doctorates in mathematics education does not have a quick or simple solution," Reys said. "We need an aggressive campaign to alert people of the opportunities that exist for doctorates in mathematics education, and also to establish a structure that supports more people entering the field."

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