The status of teachers and teaching of secondary school mathematics in Texas for the academic year 1942-1943




Von Rosenberg, Mary Edna

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The teaching of mathematics is one of the several fields of teaching which has been vitally affected by World War II. For some years previous to the outbreak of this war, educators questioned the advisability of having the general student body study the more advanced phases of the subject in high school. It was recommended for only the select few who planned to enter the more technical fields. Mathematics teachers all over the country felt much concern for their positions. Some felt that they would be out of work entirely; others were afraid that they would be transferred to some other subject department. Very few considered themselves secure. With the outbreak of the war, the situation changed almost overnight. The importance of mathematics to a successful war program was quickly realized, and the demand for mathematics and mathematics teachers became phenomenal. Early in the war period, it was thought by the writer that a study of the status of teachers and teaching of secondary school mathematics in Texas would be significant. This conviction was precipitated by the Conference on Teacher Education held at The University of Texas on January 8 and 9, 1942, during the period of cooperation of the University with the Commission on Teacher Education of the American Council on Education. While this conference was primarily a conference on teacher education in peacetime, everyone attending the Conference felt that for some years the entire educational program would be drastically changed, and the mathematics teachers were keenly aware of the way in which mathematics would be affected, during the war period at least. Was the preparation of mathematics teachers adequate? Had they had sufficient experience to meet the new demands of the emergency? Were their methods sound? Before questions such as these could be answered from a factual basis, a survey of the present status of the teachers and the teaching of mathematics seemed to be desirable. It is the purpose of this study to report the significant findings of such a survey in Texas