President Obama decided Teacher Appreciation Week was the perfect time to announce the progress that has been made towards his goal of preparing an additional 100,000 STEM teachers by 2021. The original challenge was issued by the President during his 2011 State of the Union address.
A network made of 280 organizations (including school districts, universities, foundations, corporations, museums, nonprofits, and government agencies) came together to address this challenge forming what is known as 100Kin10. So far, the network has trained over 30,000 teachers. There are plans to meet the President’s goal by recruiting and training 70,000 more STEM teachers by 2021.
According to data gathered from 1.8 million high school graduates in 2014, only about 5,500 indicated that they were interested in teaching science or math. Concurrently there were over 600,000 tech jobs open across the United States.
“Innovative, engaged STEM educators help ensure that American students graduate with the skills to fill those jobs. But they can also inspire students, modeling creativity and problem-solving, and encouraging an analytic and inquiring mindset. Some of their students will be led to consider STEM fields as a potential career path. All students can be led to use the various analytic skills they are taught and see modeled to examine the real-world challenges that are part of their everyday lives. Excellent STEM teachers are important.” ~Anne Wujcik
According to Wujcik’s article, 100Kin10 and its partners are not just recruiting, training, placing, supporting, and advancing teachers, but they are also promoting:
- Policy change,
- Providing funding, and
- Telling the STEM story
The article goes on to discuss the hindrances and challenges of STEM education in our country as identified by 100Kin10 and its partners:
- Uncompetitive teacher salaries,
- Inadequate professional development,
- Limits to classroom experimentation & hands-on learning,
- Complex state certification rules, etc.
To read Wujcik’s article, click here.