Massachusetts needs young science teachers and needs them fast, Fletcher G. Watson, associate professor of Education, announced yesterday in the Harvard Educational Review.
More Massachusetts science teachers are in their fifties than twenties, he said, and unless more students go into this work the present shortage will become increasingly severe.
Fletcher based his conclusions on a questionnaire he sent to the state's 1000 science teachers last year.
Inadequate pay was given as the main reason why young men and women are not going into science teaching. The men teachers he polled reported an average salary of $3350, and for the women the figure was $400 less.
Half Must Work in Summer
So inadequate did most of the teachers find their salaries that nearly one-half had to work during the summer. Thirty-nine percent said they also took extra jobs during the school year.
A difficulty reported by 63 percent of the teachers was that they didn't have enough time to prepare laboratory and demonstration equipment.
Although two-thirds of the teachers belonged to at least one teachers' association, less than 13 percent held membership in any science organization for teachers. One-fourth of them hadn't read some of the most important publications in the field, while only one-sixth regularly read the most popular scientific journals.