The 2007 National Academies of Science Report, Rising above the Gathering Storm, found the following disturbing results in connection with K-12 education in the United States:
· Fewer than 33% of U.S. 8th-grade students performed at or above a proficient level in mathematics;
· About 20% of 4th graders and 33% of 8th graders lacked the competence to perform even basic mathematical computations;
· In 1999, 69% of US 5-8th-grade students received instruction from a mathematics teacher who did not hold a degree or certification in mathematics;
· In 2000, 93% of students in grades 5-8 were taught physical science by a teacher lacking a major or certification in the physical sciences (chemistry, geology, general science, or physics);
· In 1995 12th graders performed below the international average for 21 countries on a test of general knowledge in mathematics and science.
These statistics show the need for qualified teachers with the ability to impart a rigorous curriculum capable of providing a competitive edge. A quick check of one of the junior high schools in my district revealed that three of the five teachers teaching 8th grade science, did not have a single subject credential in science, or a science certification. The same held true for mathematics.