Pilot Program for Teaching Earth Science in New York



During the 2009–2010 school year, 40% of New York City (NYC) Earth science teachers were not certified to teach Earth science [New York State Education Department (NYSED), 2011]. This highlights a longstanding shortage of certified teachers, which persists today and prevents many schools from offering courses on the subject, thus diminishing student opportunities to study or embark on careers in Earth science. More generally, the paucity of qualified, effective science teachers hinders student achievement in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), and research has consistently shown that improving the quality of teaching substantially increases achievement in STEM-related fields [National Science Board, 2007]. With only 36% of NYC 8th graders scoring at or above the basic level of proficiency in science and with even lower scores for African-American and Hispanic students [Livingston and Wirt, 2005], the need for more qualified science teachers is clear.