Where there's smoke...?
Ok, I take it back... DoE's Office of Science announced the 2007 budget request to Congress will have a 14% increase and it seems to include genuine new money for genuine fundamental research... better news than feared
Congress still has to act on it, and we have to see how much falls to earmarks, but this is promising. Congress has recently, if anything, put in more science funds that the White House requests.
NIST apparently also did well. Makes sense, they're very strong in nano and quantum info.
Hope NSF's Math, Astro and Physics division does well.
On the teacher initiative, I still honestly do not see how it is to be done.
There simply aren't enough math and physics major around to supply 100,000 people on short notice without a lot more reason that $380 million in incentives.
Only ~ 4,000 BScs in physics graduate each year in the US, and a little over 10,000 math majors.
About 1000 of those do physics related research, eventually (most with PhDs or MScs in addition), about 1000 go work in software, and substantially less than 1000 become teachers. That does not leave a lot of slack.
Total physical science workforce is tiny, you can't just pull 30,000 people out of the pool without crippling some other area of research. People who have the background but not used if for more than a decade are generally both well employed and rusty, they'd need a lot of refreshing to be ready to teach.
Further - that's 3 new teachers per existing teacher? Are they going to schools which currently lack AP math/physics teachers? Those are largely schools that have trouble attracting teachers in the first place - we're not talking Palo Alto High here. Further, employing 100,000 new teachers costs ~ $10 BILLION per year. Is that new money from somewhere or to come out existing high school budgets? So who will they cut?
Numbers flat out do not add up.
Reminds of the conversation I had in DC a few years ago which went something like , "no prob, we'll just hire a few thousand PhDs" - "well, they don't exist, there are only a little over 1000 physics PhDs per year, and you're not going to get all of them".
Didn't go far - some people are convinced that just offering more money will work (not that they were going to have the necessary budget), but the reality is that short of a Manhattan Project level worldwide emergency, most physics PhDs are perfectly content to stay put or make minor internal career moves, not up an move wholesale by the thousands.
Unless forced to.
UPDATE: Pharyngula has a pointer to an analysis at Mirocat
So they want to retrain new teachers (that was option #2 I think), well, that may get them 1000 new teachers, but most existing teachers don't have the time, inclination or aptitude to retrain to become advanced math or physics teachers.
UPDATE: NASA makes budget request 2007 announcement on monday also, just before NSF does (1pm vs 3pm)
NASA ANNOUNCES FY 07 BUDGET NEWS CONFERENCE
NASA Administrator Michael Griffin will brief the media about the agency's FY 2007 budget at 10 a.m. PST, Monday, Feb. 6. Reporters are invited to observe a live broadcast of the budget news conference at NASA Headquarters in the main auditorium, Bldg. N-201, at NASA Ames Research Center, located in California's Silicon Valley.
Griffin will be joined by NASA's associate administrators for the space operations, science, aeronautics and exploration mission directorates for the 90-minute event. Following the news conference, local reporters at NASA Ames are invited to attend a media roundtable to discuss the budget with Marvin (Chris) Christensen, who has been designated to serve as the acting NASA Ames center director. The media roundtable will begin after the NASA administrator's briefing at approximately 11:30 a.m. PST, in the Jack Boyd Committee Room, Bldg. N-200.
The news conference will be broadcast live on NASA TV. Please note that only reporters at NASA headquarters will be able to ask questions during the briefing. NASA directorates and offices will take budget phone queries after the news conference. The NASA budget will be available on the Web Monday at 10 a.m. PST at: