Do public schools need more science teachers?
Yes. And more math, reading, writing, computer, history, social studies, and special ed teachers.
We need more teachers, period. Class sizes, which run at around 30 kids, average, in the elementary and middle grades, are illogical for the interactive teaching that Best Practices today prescribe. (We also need at least one certified teaching aide (as in, been to college) for each teacher in a school.)
But, of course, there's a big issue with changing the paradigm of how we administer education today, which means cramming as many kids into a small space with one teacher as is humanly possible: We need more (and smaller) schools. At least at the elementary level, smaller is better. I work in a large (1200 students) K-8 school, and the political dynamics that weigh us down are a sad struggle I've lived with for 18 years.
Another issue with changing the paradigm of loading up students in classes is that administrators get money per pupil for their enrollment. Since they don't actually have to work with all those students on a daily basis, they see nothing wrong with accepting students into the school (we have open enrollment) until there are no more waiting in line.
Your question may appear simple and easy to solve at the outset, but reveals a whole host of issues that show over and over again why our schools are failing.
Yes. Absolutely. Most people who are good at science don't become teachers, so many people that do teach science lack basic knowledge. My school's principal begged various people she knew to teach AP chemistry because she couldn't find anyone actually qualified. I dropped my high school physics class on the first day because it was apparent the teacher had no clue what he was talking about.
Students would really appreciate a person who actually knows science to teach them science and schools would appreciate having competent science teachers.