54 COMMENTS

  1. ” Should Science Teachers Be Paid More Than Humanities Teachers? “

    Of course they should be. Will they be? Not as long as people are willing to dodge the rigor by doing anything but science and math just to get a credential.

    I, for one, do think science and math are more important than writing. By degree. Look to the accomplishments of, say, Steven King vs Paul Nurse. Nurse can write, but I doubt King can tell you how salt dissolves in water ( the fact ) and what this could imply for anyone needing a quick emergency illumination.

  2. Yet how well do either type of teacher prepare students for the world after high school? How well do they perform their role? I took calculus and honors science courses, and while I can bring up interesting anecdotes at parties (or hopefully have the wisdom to know when I’m in over my head during a serious discussion), I jockey a desk. Interpersonal skills are more important for my current job (though I don’t intend to stay there). Also, what of history? Understanding the errors of humans to date is critical if we wish to avoid repeating them. If voters in the USA believe that a politician wishes to enact something similar to what happened to the Japanese-Americans during the Second World War, and they understand the implications, then they are more likely to vote against said politician. Or what about the history of various corrupt organizations? Nothing dissuaded me from orthodox Christian thinking like the history of the Catholic Church did.

    In a free market economy, I will say this; we should pay teachers based on their level of education. If a science teacher has a Masters, bravo; pay them accordingly. If an English teacher doesn’t need one, and doesn’t have one, so be it.

    “It would be possible to describe everything scientifically, but it would make no sense; it would be without meaning, as if you described a Beethoven symphony as a variation of wave pressure.” -Albert Einstein

  3. Some loose ideas:

    1. It starts in college — as a science major, I was doing high level experiments and topics and my time was occupied, not partying, but rather working. A friend of mine was busy drawing posters while I was isolating lipids under nitrogen. Her A counted as much as mine.

    2. It is very hard to judge the magnitude of the feat. What I mean is that if you manage to teach a mentally retarded child how to tie their shoe, have you done something greater than another teacher who teaches a gifted student glycolysis?

    3. We all seem to be falling into the pattern of thought that says that high school success predicts future happiness and/or earnings. Does it????

  4. I would say the fairest way to solve the problem of finding qualified science educators would be to make the education they need a lot less costly. In fact, for the pittance we pay teachers in this country we should be making it free to become one.

  5. Our economic progress is absolutely science dependent!
    The charlatans who study sociology are a part of the arsehole community which endorses political correctness
    and Gramscian dogma.
    Here’s a question I read about Islam(directed at any people here who believe in sociological dogma and the suppression of free speech)
    Could one (or more) of you explain to me how the positive contribution Islam makes outweighs the disadvantages of allowing this ideology to establish itself amongst us.
    (N.B. I did not frame this question ; but believe that it should be posed to politicians for a logical answer)
    Lawrence Krauss is becoming a strident logical polemicist .

  6. Given that students are falling behind in both mathematics as well as English, isn’t it more reasonable to conclude that our education system is flawed (i.e., that it is a systemic problem)?

  7. In reply to #7 by This Is Not A Meme:

    It’s not about literature vs science. It’s about teaching vs engineering. This is an area where the free-market fails, which we know because of sociology, snackbar.

    In reply to #7 by This Is Not A Meme:

    It’s not about literature vs science. It’s about teaching vs engineering. This is an area where the free-market
    fails, which we know because of sociology, snackbar.

    Could you provide me with a somewhat clearer explanation.
    Having read about post modernist deconstruction and the destruction of the same by Richard Dawkins,Terry Eagleton and a New York Physics Professor(forgotten his name) who had a spoof paper combining quantum theory with PMD published in an American sociology journal It is clear that do called social science lies more in the area of astrology and homeopathy than real science.
    Sociology graduates seem to end up in personnel departments as well as public sector bureaucracies.
    Most graduates of any ilk could perform such tasks ; but sociologists could not apply themselves to engineering ,maths or science.
    If one reads their literature the applied vocabulary and syntax is a joke.

  8. When I was dating my wife to be in college, she was getting her MS in a health related field. I was taking strictly hard sciences. I tried to explain to her friends why what they were doing wasn’t really science and got into some heated discussions, but never convinced them that some of the “woo” they were learning was far from scientific. In reply to #3 by crookedshoes:

    Some loose ideas:

    It starts in college — as a science major, I was doing high level experiments and topics and my time was occupied, not partying, but rather working. A friend of mine was busy drawing posters while I was isolating lipids under nitrogen. Her A counted as much as mine.
    It is very hard to judge the magnitude of the feat. What I mean is that if you manage to teach a mentally retarded child how to tie their shoe, have you done something greater than another teacher who teaches a gifted student glycolysis?
    We all seem to be falling into the pattern of thought that says that high school success predicts future happiness and/or earnings. Does it????

  9. I thought that when I received my teaching credential that getting a job would be a cinch, after all, I had a strong background in science and mathematics, among other subjects. My problem was, that few of the people doing the hiring understood why science and mathematics were important in elementary school. I finally left teaching because many of my colleagues were hired for the reason that they were good at “classroom discipline”. One was a lady who was horribly mean, weighed 280 lbs and treated the children cruelly. Unfortunately, she was dumb as a post and she imparted very little to her students except rote learning from the textbooks. It is sad to see who can become a teacher, not that there aren’t wonderful teachers out there, but some really suck. One teacher like this can turn a child off to learning and they should be let go. And yes, math and science teachers should be paid more and there should be more of them in elementary school.

  10. So far as I know the STEM positions are among the highest paid positions…and surprise surprise, dominated by men. And guess who’s corralled into the humanities, an overpopulated, underpaid, and under-appreciated field? Women of course. We need to recognize the role of socialization and gender inequality–solutions are not so clear cut. Men and the sciences are already extremely privileged anyway…I’m not sure what the purpose of this is. The university is under attack because administrators are getting hired more and paid more…and teaching positions are getting cut and doled out to exploited adjuncts with no benefits or job security.

    Basing curriculum on what students are interested in needs to recognize that boys and girls are socialized into being interested in different topics…even by age 2 girls prefer pink, for instance. By high school, girls are less interested in science and math. And this isn’t a biological difference.

  11. Sociology graduates seem to end up in personnel departments as well as public sector bureaucracies.
    Most graduates of any ilk could perform such tasks ; but sociologists could not apply themselves to engineering ,maths or science.

    Excuse me but I am a sociologist and I perform science on a daily basis, thanks.

  12. Well, I agree in principal but don’t be surprised when in such a scenario, Universities (especially in the US) escalate already ridiculous costs of education. It does require a certain combination of analysis, originality, ‘widely read’, memory and humor (a bit of daring and courage is what would make them all possible) to actually be an interesting teacher of Literature or History. But I guess one could very well apply that to science.

  13. Coming from Germany maybe I don’t understand the situation in the US-educational system, so just for clarfaction (and excuse me if I have a wrong concept of it; then it would be nice if you clarfify how it works in the US)

    Is it that teachers in the humanities don’t need any university degree to teach but its only the science teachers who do? If so, of course they should be paid more beeing the only ones who actually were well trained in the scientific method.

    Here in Germany, a degree is a requirement for any teacher at any school-level and since sketical inquiry and the principle of falsification is also adapted to the humaties, I don’t see a reason why Physiscs or biology teacher should be paid more.

    LK argues it is because they deal with the “Big Questions”, like where do we come from and hw did this happen..agreed that those are big questions but students might also be interested in how our ancestors lived (History), how our society developes rules (law) and why foreign languages are important.

    However, e has a point when stating that scientists also have more options in the free market then those from the humanities so simply due to the supply/demand aspect they should be paid more

  14. Problem: You don’t need a Masters in Biology to teach about evolution. You certainly don’t need one to teach about electricity. Yet that’s the standard you have to meet to become a teacher. An alternative solution in the free market would be to have the highly qualified scientists doing actual science, and have those who are highly qualified at relating/controlling children do the actual teaching, with say one qualifacation above the level they are teaching at. (A level for GCSE, etc.)

  15. Are teachers paid according to how many students they help to achieve their ambitions? I teach Biology, and according to my students who claim I’ve helped them get into Medical School, I do a good job. I also happen to be the student counsellor, helping the bereaved, the abused, or students who are struggling with the stresses of life. I also have some pretty grateful students in that line. There are also some on both sides that I just couldn’t help, but other people could. I don’t think we can quantify anything by results. There are good and bad teachers, and students, in all subjects, and as long as we are equally committed to empowering our students to make the best of themselves, we are equally valuable.

  16. If the problem is the free market, it seems a jolly good idea to make said market a little less free. Quite why nobody questions the received dogma that we should let market forces decide the structure and direction of our society is beyond me – why should we adapt to the impersonal forces of free-market economics, rather than adapting them to our needs?

    Also, the idea that money-earning potential is the only or primary thing that can attract people to a job is a noxious one – and it stems from exactly the same fetishisation of free-market economics. In the case of teaching this approach is doubly flawed, because an essential part of teaching is a dedication both to the subject itself and to passing it on. If someone is dissuaded from teaching because it doesn’t pay as well as other things, they’re probably not all that dedicated to teaching. If someone is only interested in teaching because of the financial rewards, they’re not going to have the passion for the job that someone who is willing to do it for any level of remuneration will bring.

    The real problem, it seems to me, is societies and cultures which do not value teachers, do not value teaching and do not value education in general. The US is particularly bad for this, with Britain better but still worse than continental Europe and Scandinavia. If we started treating teachers with the prestige, respect and support they deserve then more and better qualified people would go into the teaching profession, rather than into professions we currently fete and cosset and shower with praise (lawyering, industry, private enterprise etc.). In places like Finland and Germany teachers are treated as important and respected professionals, in America they are seen as plodding quotidian functionaries, despised by right-wing ideologues, bound by impossible bureaucratic pressures and prevented from asserting their needs by the nation’s anaemic trade union system. And it’s these social and cultural factors, rather than purely financial factors, that put most well-qualified people off teaching and leave only those who can cope with the constant round of diminution and degradation in the public eye.

    This is why the US has such problems, where other countries don’t to anything like the same degree. Scientists have a place to escape – into professions that bring prestige and respect and are valued by society – where those from a humanities background generally do not. And this stems, ultimately, from having a culture which idolises the capitalists, the money-men and the suits and placing free-market economics as the guiding divine principle of existence. One might even say from raising brute mathematics above the more humane principles that might make society a better place.

  17. In reply to #5 by hellosnackbar:

    Our economic progress is absolutely science dependent!
    The charlatans who study sociology are a part of the arsehole community which endorses political correctness
    and Gramscian dogma.
    Here’s a question I read about Islam(directed at any people here who believe in sociological dogma and the suppression of free speech)
    Could one (or more) of you explain to me how the positive contribution Islam makes outweighs the disadvantages of allowing this ideology to establish itself amongst us.
    (N.B. I did not frame this question ; but believe that it should be posed to politicians for a logical answer)
    Lawrence Krauss is becoming a strident logical polemicist .

    The charlatans who study sociology are a part of the arsehole community

    You seem pretty antagonist of sociology, I wonder why, perhaps because there is some misunderstanding of how sociology became to be, and what it stands for?

    Remember the debate: Science Refutes God?

    Does science Refutes God ?

    This kind of debate REALLY matters for sociology itself, and for all science.

    I myself see no “two cultures”, or humanities/science, but one.

    And noticing that the most brilliant intelligence that I ever met was a History Professor of mine, I always imagine that if he had to make History of Science, he would certainly understand science better than many scientists (or science employees).

  18. “Should Science Teachers Be Paid More Than Humanities Teachers?”

    Certainly not.
    Why does being an expert in a field mean that you have to forcefully promote it to others’ detriment?
    Surely you can be a great physicist and still appreciate the huge value of history and geography.

  19. In reply to #3 by crookedshoes:

    Some loose ideas:

    It starts in college — as a science major, I was doing high level experiments and topics and my time was occupied, not partying, but rather working.

    A friend of mine was busy drawing posters while I was isolating lipids under nitrogen. Her A counted as much as mine.

    It is very hard to judge the magnitude of the feat.

    What I mean is that if you manage to teach a mentally retarded child how to tie their shoe, have you done something greater than another teacher who teaches a gifted student glycolysis?

    I think a common misunderstanding in the work of teaching, is in the range of teaching skills and how these apply to different age-groups.

    Many people look only at academic content, ignoring resource management, inspirational and communication skills.

    That is why there are some very foolish perceptions about what qualifications are needed, and the gross misconception that teaching to a higher academic level is more demanding. – It is only more demanding in the academic content of the course material!

    I have worked in education with children/youngsters across a wide range of ages (3+ to university).

    Getting the infants started with enthusiastically learning maths, reading, writing & science (as opposed to the easier amusement type child-minding) is just as hard work as lecturing an academic subject – but is about selecting content and structured (physical) organisation of packages of activities, which match concentration spans and physical co-ordination-building activities, suitable for the levels of development & maturity of individual children.

    These are the foundations on which the rest of their education will be built.

    Most teachers would agree that teaching rebellious 13-year-olds is probably the toughest job in teaching.

    Generally speaking, the younger the children, the more bias towards understanding child psychology, child mental and physical development stages, capability levels and learning sequences is needed.

    We all seem to be falling into the pattern of thought that says that high school success predicts future happiness and/or earnings. Does it????

    I think the general principle is – the nearer you are to the money, the better the opportunities you have to help yourself to some! (% Sales commissions, stock-brokers, bankers bonuses, emergency plumbing work etc.)

  20. I had science teachers who sucked and couldn’t teach a class of one to understand a single thing and humanities teachers who were great at keeping a class engaged and would have done far more at making students interested in science or any subject. In high school, the better teacher deserves the better pay.

    When we get to University, it is a different issue. Though they are not treated as such in the US, students at University are adults and are paying good money for their education. It is a business arrangement and you pay the experts who teach based on their ability to bring in money. So, in the US, the football coach should be payed the most, followed closely by the basketball coach.

  21. As Krauss himself suggests, his question has more import than the answer he provides.

    I agree with much that he has to say, though. For example, questions are more important than answers, and the best questions are the big questions – and the big questions are best answered by science – or at least the methodology of science which can distinguish sense from nonsense.

    I propose a scientific experiment:

    Firstly: Pay poorly trained teachers of any and all subjects shit money and allow the curriculum taught to be politicised and the schools they teach in to be run by sectarian bigots and ‘market forces’.

    Secondly: Sell this to the general population as ‘freedom’ & ‘choice’.

    Thirdly: Put further and higher education beyond the remit of most by treating it as a commodity that can be purchased only by the wealthy.

    Question: Can we then attempt to ameliorate the resulting situation by pitting science graduates against humanities graduates, and what will the consequences of such actions be?

    Question: Should we teach Hayek, or Steinbeck?

    Anvil

  22. In reply to #8 by hellosnackbar:

    Could you provide me with a somewhat clearer explanation.
    Having read about post modernist deconstruction and the destruction of the same by Richard Dawkins,Terry Eagleton and a New York Physics Professor(forgotten his name)

    Sokal? Something about ‘heuristic fields’, or some mumbo jumbo?

    who had a spoof paper combining quantum theory with PMD published in an American sociology journal It is clear that do called social science lies more in the area of astrology and homeopathy than real science.
    Sociology graduates seem to end up in personnel departments as well as public sector bureaucracies.

    Most physics majors tend to work in currency markets and hedge funds

    Most graduates of any ilk could perform such tasks ; but sociologists could not apply themselves to engineering ,maths or science.
    If one reads their literature the applied vocabulary and syntax is a joke.

    PoMo is a cancer infecting academia. There was always resistance to it, but it took firm hold in philosophy and from there got into history, and there were some interesting results. It was then able to strangle the field of sociology. PoMo then attempted to destroy biology and may have been successful but the challenge against physics was too much. Physics is clearly about “some thing”, and the nihilism of PoMo is revealed to be deceptive and useless.

    The problem is PoMo, not sociology, history, and philosophy. Had PoMo been successful in ruining biology you wouldn’t call it a “soft science” due to its uncertainties and dismiss it as less important than physics. Thankfully, there is now a hard line drawn between science and PoMo, and biology is mostly reclaimed. Now Sociology is being reformed, the idea that we can apply the scientific method to discern the nature of social systems and prescribe for them.

    I also beg to differ about public sector. I wish it were mostly sociologists, but sadly its lawyers (a totally irrelevant field), meaning anyone with education in any subject is qualified to work in the public sector. If the public sector were more skill based (meritocratic/technocratic), physicists would not be qualified. Currently “social engineer” is a sci-fi title, but the same was once true for bio-engineer. As particular sciences become more applicable, that’s when they develop engineers. One day there will be climate engineers.

  23. Since you are using the phrase science, as opposed to a specialty, I would assume this is directed at high school and lower. And the answer there is no. Because that is the time when you are learning how to learn, how become excited by the world (well, at that age, really sex), and that can be inculcated by any great teacher. The best teacher I had in high school was Mr. Volkman, teaching a required music appreciation class that I put off until senior year. I went in protesting, came out understanding Little Richard, and realizing, as many of us do, that Beethoven’s Ninth is the single greatest reason to be proud to be a homo sapien.

  24. In reply to #1 by Neodarwinian:

    ” Should Science Teachers Be Paid More Than Humanities Teachers? “

    Of course they should be. Will they be? Not as long as people are willing to dodge the rigor by doing anything but science and math just to get a credential.

    I, for one, do think science and math are more important than writing. By degree. Look to the accomplishments of, say, Steven King vs Paul Nurse. Nurse can write, but I doubt King can tell you how salt dissolves in water ( the fact ) and what this could imply for anyone needing a quick emergency illumination.

    I disagree about the writing. The inability to communicate one’s skills is something clearly lost in society, and frankly, as an architect, I had lots of people who could draw and design, even many who knew how to build, but you desperately need someone to write, to record, to communicate.

  25. In reply to #11 by CoreyLeeWrenn:

    So far as I know the STEM positions are among the highest paid positions…and surprise surprise, dominated by men. And guess who’s corralled into the humanities, an overpopulated, underpaid, and under-appreciated field? Women of course. With “corralled” are you suggesting that women are being forced and excluded? It would seem, rather, that they are either freely choosing this because they either can’t qualify for or are not interested in the hard sciences.

    Basing curriculum on what students are interested in needs to recognize that boys and girls are socialized into being interested in different topics…even by age 2 girls prefer pink, for instance. By high school, girls are less interested in science and math. And this isn’t a biological difference. **Preferring pink even at age 2 is due to socialization and less interest in science is not biological? **

  26. We need people who are maximally fulfilled and happy given their innate cognitive skills and pre-dispostions. Being dirigiste about the balance of education that must be applied to the general population seems to have got the cart before the horse, whatever we might wish for our country’s/planet’s future economic trajectory. Maximally exploiting innate talent I suspect should yield greatest happiness. Markets, I suspect, will anyway follow the interests of the population.

    We need people who are maximally problem finding and problem solving in whatever is their chosen field. Problem finding and solving is how we add value of any sort. It is this that needs to be taught as the primary approach to all topics. (Indeed as LK proposes).

    In our hugely complex society we need far more generalists. As we create expert systems that can manage many of the details, solutions to our problems can become advantageously far more interdisciplinary. Re imagining the slicing of subjects will help with this. Subjects would be far better regrouped in my view. Subjects like Language, consisting of languages, human and computer, music, mathematics : Problem finding, failure modes, metrics, logic, related aspects of psychology: Problem solving, evidence gathering, data quality, modeling : Narratives, formation use and abuse. Or whatever…

    Illustrating these different thinking tools with examples from all the current conventional subject matters will give something for everyone hopefully and create access points for those subjects that seem unattractive to some.

    Big History is just such a subject re-imagining.

  27. In reply to #14 by Mimiuff:

    Coming from Germany maybe I don’t understand the situation in the US-educational system, so just for clarfaction (and excuse me if I have a wrong concept of it; then it would be nice if you clarfify how it works in the US)

    Is it that teachers in the humanities don’t need any university degree to teach but its only the science teachers who do? If so, of course they should be paid more beeing the only ones who actually were well trained in the scientific method.

    Here in Germany, a degree is a requirement for any teacher at any school-level and since sketical inquiry and the principle of falsification is also adapted to the humaties, I don’t see a reason why Physiscs or biology teacher should be paid more.

    LK argues it is because they deal with the “Big Questions”, like where do we come from and hw did this happen..agreed that those are big questions but students might also be interested in how our ancestors lived (History), how our society developes rules (law) and why foreign languages are important.

    However, e has a point when stating that scientists also have more options in the free market then those from the humanities so simply due to the supply/demand aspect they should be paid more

    It varies by state (some require that you have a Masters in Education, or in your field), and others may only require a Bachelors; however, a college education is universally required.

    You bring up an interesting point about scientifically trained folks often having other options (which is largely true; I read a scathing and witty article recently about how humanities majors can expect becoming lawyers, academics, or fast food workers), though I wonder how easily someone with, say, a Biology degree (NOT a bioengineering degree) could get a job. If there were a shortage of science teachers in a given region, it would absolutely make sense to offer them more incentive.

  28. In reply to #20 by maria melo:

    In reply to #5 by hellosnackbar:

    “The charlatans who study sociology are a part of the arsehole community”

    You seem pretty antagonist of sociology, I wonder why, perhaps because there is some misunderstanding of how sociology became to be, and what it stands for?

    ** Hellosnackbar’ s “antagonism” toward the charlatanry that sociology is rife with ought to be standard issue for any self-respecting thinking person. The only “field” at our institutions of higher learning even less deserving of academic pedigree and the prestige that confers upon it in society is theology. The only misunderstanding here seems to be your complete lack of understanding or indeed obliviousness to the worst plague of mind rot ever to infest academia: postmodernism.**

    And noticing that the most brilliant intelligence that I ever met was a History Professor of mine,
    **Perhaps the most brilliant professor of a field (parroting of and inflicting fanciful interpretations on the past) within the reach of your understanding. **

  29. In reply to #12 by CoreyLeeWrenn:

    Sociology graduates seem to end up in personnel departments as well as public sector bureaucracies.
    Most graduates of any ilk could perform such tasks ; but sociologists could not apply themselves to engineering ,maths or science.

    Excuse me but I am a sociologist and I perform science on a daily basis, thanks.

    In reply to #11 by CoreyLeeWrenn:

    So far as I know the STEM positions are among the highest paid positions…and surprise surprise, dominated by men. And guess who’s corralled into the humanities, an overpopulated, underpaid, and under-appreciated field? Women of course. We need to recognize the role of socialization and gender inequality–solutions are not so clear cut. Men and the sciences are already extremely privileged anyway…I’m not sure what the purpose of this is. The university is under attack because administrators are getting hired more and paid more…and teaching positions are getting cut and doled out to exploited adjuncts with no benefits or job security.

    Basing curriculum on what students are interested in needs to recognize that boys and girls are socialized into being interested in different topics…even by age 2 girls prefer pink, for instance. By high school, girls are less interested in science and math. And this isn’t a biological difference.

    Yes, easy to see that you are a sociologist!

  30. There seems to be an awful lot of elitism from fans of hard sciences here, so let me ask you a question; which field is responsible for informing you that experimenting medically on twins, while a surefire way to obtain accurate and impressive data, is morally wrong? What field informs you of the excesses of science, society, or anyone else in the past? Getting through life requires more than being able to critically apply scientific or mathematical processes. I also think, personally, that languages, art, and music should be more rigorously studied (particularly the first; I’m a little embarrassed that the USA is woefully behind as a nation on being multilingual). This also begs the question, and please don’t interpret this as a dig on science teachers (many of whom had a profound impact on my education, along with their humanitarian colleagues), why are they teachers in the first place? The most brilliant researchers may not find it fulfilling. And to be frank, anyone going into teaching to get rich has got the wrong idea.

    In the meantime, please accept this as a little bit of levity, poking as much fun at those with pretensions as at the field towards the left of the graph. http://xkcd.com/435/

  31. In reply to #34 by GospelofJudas:

    which field is responsible for informing you that experimenting medically on twins, while a surefire way to obtain accurate and impressive data, is morally wrong? What field informs you of the excesses of science, society, or anyone else in the past?

    If you need a “field” to “inform” of you this then you might not be familiar with those trusty old ingredients of the scientific method, you know: reason, logic, empiricism (you don’t like being poked with a red hot poker? well, nor might anyone else). If your answer is religion then you’re on the wrong website.

  32. Humanities is every bit as important as the other “so called” hard sciences. It is taken for granted exactly because it is actually more pervasive in our society and the ideas are disseminated more easily in society as meme. Thus unappreciative observers would think that just everybody off the street could come up with their own social theories and their own version of history. But of course, there is no accounting for quality if you let any Joe the plumber do your history & philosophy.

    Without humanities, we wouldn’t have Daniel Dennet, one of atheism’s horsemen, Stephen Pinker, Noam Chomsky or even Carl’s Sagan’s Cosmos: A Personal Voyage. Without the arts, the latter wouldn’t get produced at all & all we’ll get is just another article in a scientific journal.

    To be honest, without the humanities, it wouldn’t take long for for science to become another religion.

  33. In reply to #36 by godsbuster:

    In reply to #34 by GospelofJudas:

    If you need a “field” to “inform” of you this then you might not be familiar with those trusty old ingredients of the scientific method, you know: reason, logic, empiricism (you don’t like being poked with a red hot poker? well, nor might anyone else). If your answer is religion then you’re on the wrong website.

    Yes, thank you for putting words in my mouth. I didn’t mention religion; stay on topic. I learned all about reason and logic in Philosophy 101 (Intro to Logic), thank you.

    My point is, science shows that organisms feel pain. So what? Will you justify torturing one human so that the medical knowledge gained could benefit hundreds? Or if you’re going the other route, with ruthless individualism, why be concerned about the fate of other people at all?

    Empiricism and hard sciences are fine, but they fail to answer the ‘if-ought’ dilemma. How do you propose to disseminate secular ethics and humanism? It’s not found in a lab; both were developed with reason.

  34. In reply to #12 by CoreyLeeWrenn:

    Sociology graduates seem to end up in personnel departments as well as public sector bureaucracies.
    Most graduates of any ilk could perform such tasks ; but sociologists could not apply themselves to engineering ,maths or science.

    Excuse me but I am a sociologist and I perform science on a daily basis, thanks.
    Then give us an explanation of what it is within your humanities dogma;that might be described as science.

    In reply to #12 by CoreyLeeWrenn:

    Sociology graduates seem to end up in personnel departments as well as public sector bureaucracies.
    Most graduates of any ilk could perform such tasks ; but sociologists could not apply themselves to engineering ,maths or science.

    Excuse me but I am a sociologist and I perform science on a daily basis, thanks.

  35. In reply to #40 by adiroth:

    Without ontology, there wouldn’t be logic. Without philosophy, there wouldn’t be the scientific method.

    Indeed. It’s like favoring the liver over the lungs, or saying the heart is more vital than the spleen. An argument can be made, but it will fail because these things are interdependent, parts of a whole.

    As I see it (and I would love correction), philosophy begets epistemology, which begets logic, which begets science, which is heavy with child (i say we call her Systemics!).

  36. I will admit, for every dollar spent on the humanities, additional money must be spent on security. If people are taught about freedom and such ideals, they expect it. I believe that’s the 1972 Carnegie Report that I get that from, which blamed the protests of the ’60s on education in the humanities and recommended emphasis on maths and sciences to prevent this. Of course, I don’t know how well science flourishes in oppressive societies.

  37. In reply to #11 by CoreyLeeWrenn:

    So far as I know the STEM positions are among the highest paid positions…and surprise surprise, dominated by men. And guess who’s corralled into the humanities, an overpopulated, underpaid, and under-appreciated field? Women of course. We need to recognize the role of socialization and gender inequality–solutions are not so clear cut. Men and the sciences are already extremely privileged anyway…I’m not sure what the purpose of this is. The university is under attack because administrators are getting hired more and paid more…and teaching positions are getting cut and doled out to exploited adjuncts with no benefits or job security.

    Basing curriculum on what students are interested in needs to recognize that boys and girls are socialized into being interested in different topics…even by age 2 girls prefer pink, for instance. By high school, girls are less interested in science and math. And this isn’t a biological difference.

    Pinker and Spelke debated this. I’m on Pinker’s side, but I do admit Spelke owned him.

  38. In reply to #42 by This Is Not A Meme:

    I will admit, for every dollar spent on the humanities, additional money must be spent on security. If people are taught about freedom and such ideals, they expect it. I believe that’s the 1972 Carnegie Report that I get that from, which blamed the protests of the ’60s on education in the humanities and recommended emphasis on maths and sciences to prevent this. Of course, I don’t know how well science flourishes in oppressive societies.

    I suspect it would be flourishing, but bleak. Germany made a lot of amazing breakthroughs under the Nazi regime. though in many cases at a terrible cost.

    I’m rather saddened by the exclusion of arts and music as budgets for education dwindle; I think that one of the strongest arguments against paying one group of teachers more might be that other programs are already getting the axe.

  39. I think there is an underlying issue, that in a mixed economy with “market forces”, teaching is financially uncompetitive in subjects which are most valuable in the productive economy – hence the usual shortage of science / maths teachers, or teachers teaching science outside their specialisms.

    There is some truth in the old adage, “Those who can -do, – Those who can’t teach” (.. and those who can’t do or teach useful subjects, go off to lecture / preach in fundamentalist theology colleges, or on “postmodernist courses” to produce their own type of “academically qualified teachers”!)

  40. I think he is missing the point. The problem is not getting teachers to feel comfortable stepping outside the curriculum it’s allowing them to. Pay scales in teaching are more and more linked to the idea of things like performance pay, governments are more and more trying to nail down curriculum, more and more national and state testing all over the world.

    We need to encourage teachers to take a broad view of the curriculum and encourage risk taking. Paying teachers more will not make them want to stay teachers if they are forced to teach the same thing in the same way as the teacher next door. You’ll throw a tonne of money at the problem with no effect.

    Teachers in America just have to be paid more period! All of them. Anyone who thinks different doesn’t value the education they got. People need to be prepared to pay a tax rate that covers a decent wage for what is one of the most essential things we do as humans (and it would mean increased tax rate). Education is a large part of what separates us as a species for the other animals, that we don’t value it more is just another indication that we have a little more evolving to do.

  41. I was a union official for twenty odd years in the Western Australian Technical and Further Education system. The question of differential pay for engineers, scientists and IT teachers was for a time a hot topic. The issue died when pay/rank by subject area was abolished in the 1980s, and was replaced by a pay scale based on qualifications, time served and assessment of merit.

    The joint decision by the Union and the Department was based on several insights. Firstly a teacher’s subject area has no bearing on the benefits which the students acquire from his/her teaching; a business studies teacher or a motor mechanic can transmit insight, truth, motivation and self worth just as cogently and sensitively as a chemistry or biology teacher. Secondly, the level of qualification of teachers improves their performance; the more you know about your subject area, and the better you develop your teaching skills and your understanding of psychology, society and the learning process, the better you perform in the classroom. Thirdly the longer you do teaching, the better you get at it, Teachers seem to reach a plateau after about ten years, after which energy and motivation go into a slow decline, at this point good schools invest in in-service training, and offer a variety of teaching and leadership challenges to the teacher. In all my years of representing the several hundred Union Members in my branch, I only ever encountered a few who were unsuitable for the job, though I met very many who annoyed our careerist civil service masters.

    Finally, as a parting observation, there is no practical way in which good teaching can be measured. Firstly there has to be a set of agreed criteria which can be numerically expressed, secondly outcomes have to be measured in time, and the timescale for measuring the outcomes of an education is the lifetime of the student. Thirdly performance assessment depends on the personality and outlook of the assessor. For instance someone who is a fundamentalist Christian would not appreciate a literature teacher exploring the sexual depths of Ophelia’s mad scenes, or a science teacher exploring evolution. The organisational, careerist, suits who increasingly control the education industry would have completely different views on attitude, dress, staff/student interaction and subject assessment, from the people-centred oddballs who generally make the best teachers. Teaching and learning remain ineffable or at least unmeasurable activities. if you work in a school you generally know the poor performers, sometimes you know the very good performers, in the middle are those of us who do our best, periodically polish up our knowledge and try to help our students. None of us has the whole answer and almost all of us earn our pay honourably. When you go teaching, you are no longer an engineer, scientist or literary critic, you are a teacher, and should be paid and managed as such.

  42. In reply to #48 by Kevin Murrell:

    I was a union official for twenty odd years in the Western Australian Technical and Further Education system. The question of differential pay for engineers, scientists and IT teachers was for a time a hot topic. The issue died when pay/rank by subject area was abolished in the 1980s, and was replaced by a pay scale based on qualifications, time served and assessment of merit.

    The joint decision by the Union and the Department was based on several insights. Firstly a teacher’s subject area has no bearing on the benefits which the students acquire from his/her teaching; a business studies teacher or a motor mechanic can transmit insight, truth, motivation and self worth just as cogently and sensitively as a chemistry or biology teacher. Secondly, the level of qualification of teachers improves their performance; the more you know about your subject area, and the better you develop your teaching skills and your understanding of psychology, society and the learning process, the better you perform in the classroom. Thirdly the longer you do teaching, the better you get at it, Teachers seem to reach a plateau after about ten years, after which energy and motivation go into a slow decline, at this point good schools invest in in-service training, and offer a variety of teaching and leadership challenges to the teacher. In all my years of representing the several hundred Union Members in my branch, I only ever encountered a few who were unsuitable for the job, though I met very many who annoyed our careerist civil service masters.

    Finally, as a parting observation, there is no practical way in which good teaching can be measured. Firstly there has to be a set of agreed criteria which can be numerically expressed, secondly outcomes have to be measured in time, and the timescale for measuring the outcomes of an education is the lifetime of the student. Thirdly performance assessment depends on the personality and outlook of the assessor. For instance someone who is a fundamentalist Christian would not appreciate a literature teacher exploring the sexual depths of Ophelia’s mad scenes, or a science teacher exploring evolution. The organisational, careerist, suits who increasingly control the education industry would have completely different views on attitude, dress, staff/student interaction and subject assessment, from the people-centred oddballs who generally make the best teachers. Teaching and learning remain ineffable or at least unmeasurable activities. if you work in a school you generally know the poor performers, sometimes you know the very good performers, in the middle are those of us who do our best, periodically polish up our knowledge and try to help our students. None of us has the whole answer and almost all of us earn our pay honourably. When you go teaching, you are no longer an engineer, scientist or literary critic, you are a teacher, and should be paid and managed as such.

    Not really a reply, just the opportunity to re-post.

    Anvil.

  43. In reply to #49 by Anvil:

    In reply to #48 by Kevin Murrell:

    I was a union official for twenty odd years in the Western Australian Technical and Further Education system. The question of differential pay for engineers, scientists and IT teachers was for a time a hot topic. The issue died when pay/rank by subject area was abolished in the 1980s, and was replaced by a pay scale based on qualifications, time served and assessment of merit.

    The joint decision by the Union and the Department was based on several insights. Firstly a teacher’s subject area has no bearing on the benefits which the students acquire from his/her teaching; a business studies teacher or a motor mechanic can transmit insight, truth, motivation and self worth just as cogently and sensitively as a chemistry or biology teacher. Secondly, the level of qualification of teachers improves their performance; the more you know about your subject area, and the better you develop your teaching skills and your understanding of psychology, society and the learning process, the better you perform in the classroom. Thirdly the longer you do teaching, the better you get at it, Teachers seem to reach a plateau after about ten years, after which energy and motivation go into a slow decline, at this point good schools invest in in-service training, and offer a variety of teaching and leadership challenges to the teacher. In all my years of representing the several hundred Union Members in my branch, I only ever encountered a few who were unsuitable for the job, though I met very many who annoyed our careerist civil service masters.

    Finally, as a parting observation, there is no practical way in which good teaching can be measured. Firstly there has to be a set of agreed criteria which can be numerically expressed, secondly outcomes have to be measured in time, and the timescale for measuring the outcomes of an education is the lifetime of the student. Thirdly performance assessment depends on the personality and outlook of the assessor. For instance someone who is a fundamentalist Christian would not appreciate a literature teacher exploring the sexual depths of Ophelia’s mad scenes, or a science teacher exploring evolution. The organisational, careerist, suits who increasingly control the education industry would have completely different views on attitude, dress, staff/student interaction and subject assessment, from the people-centred oddballs who generally make the best teachers. Teaching and learning remain ineffable or at least unmeasurable activities. if you work in a school you generally know the poor performers, sometimes you know the very good performers, in the middle are those of us who do our best, periodically polish up our knowledge and try to help our students. None of us has the whole answer and almost all of us earn our pay honourably. When you go teaching, you are no longer an engineer, scientist or literary critic, you are a teacher, and should be paid and managed as such.

    Not really a reply, just the opportunity to re-post.

    Anvil.Flattering indeed. Did you agree with what I said?

  44. In reply to #11 by CoreyLeeWrenn:

    So far as I know the STEM positions are among the highest paid positions…and surprise surprise, dominated by men. And guess who’s corralled into the humanities, an overpopulated, underpaid, and under-appreciated field? Women of course. We need to recognize the role of socialization and gender inequality–solutions are not so clear cut. Men and the sciences are already extremely privileged anyway…I’m not sure what the purpose of this is. The university is under attack because administrators are getting hired more and paid more…and teaching positions are getting cut and doled out to exploited adjuncts with no benefits or job security.Basing curriculum on what students are interested in needs to recognize that boys and girls are socialized into being interested in different topics…even by age 2 girls prefer pink, for instance. By high school, girls are less interested in science and math. And this isn’t a biological difference.

    No it certainly isn’t a biological difference as when girls do enter science and engineering they do just as well as boys and vice versa with the humanities. However in some male dominated professions thare is blatant sexism that makes it very uncomfortable to be a female. Last week I read some research showing that an application for a research post was judged more favourably when thought to be from a man. Will try to find it.

    Plus when I started out in engineering my collegues made my life hell. Every day there would be some comparison to their silly girlie calenders, often you’d get asked to pick things up only to find some **** had got his **** out to show you. Most fellow females couldn’t hack it.

    No there

  45. I agree with Atheistengineer and CoreyLee Wren. One of the many forms of discrimination in education is sexism,another is ageism. In Australia EEO was so embedded into the public sector selection process that there was little wriggle room for male domination – indeed there was a perception that the reverse was the case. Needless to say in the private sector things were very much less advanced, and women’s pay lags far behind men’s.

    The point I make is that pay/promotion should be based on the three pillars: qualification, length of service, and performance. Performance is hard, perhaps impossible to assess fairly, certainly educational managers cannot be trusted to do the assessment on their own, there should also be peer assessment, student feedback and independent assessment, all of these against agreed criteria. All assessors and those being assessed should be trained in WP Assessment. This will become expensive, but if society and the suits demand it, then it has to be done fairly.

    These procedures seem to be the only way that bias, favouritism and discrimination can be eliminated from the system, and hopefully in time from the world. When I was teaching, I always told critical reading students that the word “hopefully” is code for “it will never happen”!

    PS as a sixty six year old teacher, in posession of all my marbles and with only a little arthritis, I have found it impossible to get work. Any offers?

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