Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Tough Times for Teachers

Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Tough Times for Teachers

Article excerpt

These are tough times for science teachers. The economic recession has slashed budgets and jobs, and ongoing state financial crises jeopardize educational programs, materials funding, and even collective bargaining rights.

Surveys show that teachers regularly dip into their own pockets to pay for school supplies. They spend hundreds of dollars each year, as school districts tighten their budgets and families struggle to buy the supplies their children need. In hard economic times, we face a triple whammy: Schools have less money to allocate, families have less money to spend, and teachers have less money to supplement shortcomings.

Of course, the fact that teachers have to spend their own money needs scrutiny. Parents and school districts should not expect teachers-already facing possible job cuts and salary and benefit reductions-to pay for equipment and supplies. We do it, though, because we care about our students and want to provide meaningful, hands-on learning experiences for them, even if it means personal sacrifice. In difficult economic times, it's even more important that schools provide adequate resources and not expect teachers to pick up the slack.

This issue of The Science Teacher is our attempt to address this problem in some small way, by sharing inexpensive activities and methods for teachers. There are articles about chromosome models made from economical pool "noodles" (p. 34); interdisciplinary investigations that use sand (p. 29); low-cost, web-based chemistry and biology activities (pp. …

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