Top Universities Will Help Train STEM Teachers

— Scientific American

A group of Tier 1 research universities — the Stanfords, Harvards and MITs of the world – will join the White House-led effort to train 100,000 new math and science teachers by the year 2022. A $22.5 million gift from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), announced by the White House Monday morning, will make it possible to expand a successful teacher-training program called UTeach to 10 top research schools over the next five years. “Historically, Tier 1 universities have not been focused on turning out teachers through their science and math departments,” said Tom Luce, the founding CEO and chairman of the National Math and Science Initiative, the group that is leading the expansion effort, in an interview following Monday morning’s announcement. They are focused on turning out PhD students, and they will continue to do so, he said, but the gift will help emphasize that educating new teachers is a mission that all universities “need to embrace if we’re going to reach our goal.”

The mission of training 100,000 new STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) teachers originates from a 2010 report by the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, “Prepare and Inspire: K-12 Education in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) For America’s Future.” President Barack Obama first mentioned the goal in his 2011 State of the Union Address, saying, “over the next 10 years, with so many baby boomers retiring from our classrooms, we want to prepare 100,000 new teachers in the fields of science and technology and engineering and math.”

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