Obama 100000 STEM teachers is STEMstick on a pig

Obama’s promise for 100,000 STEM teachers is a misleading headline as pointed out in a previous article.  The basic problems is that it is not anchored in any absolute numbers.

STEM teachers come and go.   There is a constant flux in and out.  What is the total right now?  How is it measured?

The website GOP.com partially debunks this at its website.




The fiscal cliff implies that federal support of teaching jobs will be cut at the end of this year.  Thus total teachers will fall and federal funding of teacher salaries will fall.


Suppose that the carrying capacity of STEM teachers is 500,000.  Then adding 10,000 a year inflow does not change the stock, it simply results in a higher outflow.

Currently, 25,000 STEM teachers leave each year according to one website I saw.   STEM teachers can get jobs in industry more easily than most teachers.  STEM teachers are only a part of STEM workers.

Thus increasing the inflow of STEM teachers by itself may have little impact on the stock of STEM teachers.

Suppose you had 10,000 STEM teacher scholarships and they go into teaching and then leave in 5 years to work in industry.   You have not changed the number of in-service STEM teachers.   You do get some fresh talent entering teaching and some stay.  But you also subsidize industry.  This may be why industry loves the idea.

To industry, having the government pay the college cost of its STEM employees is another way it can pay lower STEM salaries.



2010 Median Pay $53,230 per year
Entry-Level Education Bachelor’s degree
Work Experience in a Related Occupation None
On-the-job Training Internship/residency
Number of Jobs, 2010 1,037,600
Job Outlook, 2010-20 7% (Slower than average)
Employment Change, 2010-20 71,900

10,000 more teachers a year compares to the 71,900 turnover already.


NEA has 3 million members.



2010 Median Pay $99,380 per year
$47.78 per hour
Entry-Level Education Master’s degree
Work Experience in a Related Occupation None
On-the-job Training None
Number of Jobs, 2010 3,100
Job Outlook, 2010-20 16% (About as fast as average)
Employment Change, 2010-20 500


This seems to be an under count.





She says no STEM shortage.



Senate report is prepared by lobbyists for industry for cheap STEM policies?





Nearly 675,000 H-1B and L-1 visa holders were approved for work in the United States in 2009.

Adding 10,000 STEM graduates a year in teaching will have little impact on this huge pool of foreign visa guest workers.



Reports — January / February 2012

What Scientist Shortage?

The Johnny-can’t-do-science myth damages US research

By Beryl Lieff Benderly

On July 28, 2011, Senator Chuck Schumer, a democrat from New York, opened a Senate Judiciary subcommittee hearing on high-skill immigration with a call to staple a green card to the diploma of every foreign student who earns a degree in science, technology, engineering, or math—known collectively as a STEM degree—in the United States. “As we all know,” added Texas Republican John Cornyn, the subcommittee’s ranking member, “there is a scarcity of qualified people for many jobs, particularly those in high technology.”

But what “we all know,” as Senator Cornyn put it, turns out not to be true—and the perpetuation of this myth is discouraging Americans from pursuing scientific careers. Leading experts on the STEM workforce, including Richard Freeman of Harvard, Michael Teitelbaum of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, Paula Stephan of Georgia State University, Hal Salzman of Rutgers, Lindsay Lowell of Georgetown, and Norman Matloff of the University of California-Davis, have said for years that the US produces ample numbers of excellent science students. In fact, according to the National Science Board’s authoritative publication Science and Engineering Indicators 2008, the country turns out three times as many STEM degrees as the economy can absorb into jobs related to their majors.

So what’s going on? Simply put, a desire for cheap, skilled labor, within the business world and academia, has fueled assertions—based on flimsy and distorted evidence—that American students lack the interest and ability to pursue careers in science and engineering, and has spurred policies that have flooded the market with foreign STEM workers. This has created a grim reality for the scientific and technical labor force: glutted job markets; few career jobs; low pay, long hours, and dismal job prospects for postdoctoral researchers in university labs; near indentured servitude for holders of temporary work visas.

(read the rest as they say)




About New Math Done Right

Author of Pre-Algebra New Math Done Right Peano Axioms. A below college level self study book on the Peano Axioms and proofs of the associative and commutative laws of addition. President of Mathematical Finance Company. Provides economic scenario generators to financial institutions.
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