Hype and Glory

Dissecting scientific promise from reality

Last March the Associated Press reported that over 100,000 teachers will have to be hired over the next 10 years to support the student enrollment glut. Yet, with many instructors lacking a solid foundation in science, it is feared students will encounter a case of the blind leading the blind.

According to some professors, the most alarming trend, though, hits even closer to home. American high school students simply aren't as well prepared as their competitors abroad. Rensselaer states that 35 percent of their M.A. science students are foreign-born, a figure that has risen greatly over the last five years and is expected to keep rising.

Explains Wilson: "We don't have enough American grads, ironically, at the same time that we have a demand for them. We have a lot of international grads, which signals that the U.S. is importing talent, and this will lead to huge imbalances....Universities will need to be like companies, and we're going to have to ensure the raw materials—brilliant professors and brilliant students. Science education has weakened, and that's a problem. We need vertical integration, and to follow a process of preparing students. We need to dip into the precollege area, to start teaching basics at school. We really have to take control of this."

Before it takes control of us.

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