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President Wants $1B to Train 10,000 STEM 'Master Teachers'

July 25, 2012

A plan introduced last week by the president places the future of the nation's standing in math and science in the hands of highly-specialized teachers who would serve as national ambassadors and mentor fellow educators across the country. In exchange, STEM Master Teachers would receive an extra $20,000 per year on top of their annual salary. Funding for the initiative is part of the FY13 budget plan, which requires congressional approval. School districts can compete for $100 million available now, however, through an existing fund aimed at achieving similar goals of identifying and developing quality STEM teachers.

To launch the new STEM Master Teacher Corps, 50 of the best and brightest math and science teachers would be chosen through a rigorous selection process administered locally or regionally based on a set of national benchmarks. These 50 corps members would mentor additional educators over the next four years to reach 10,000 Master Teachers who are expected to improve math and science scores and develop a highly-skilled workforce through enhanced teaching and learning. The corps members also will take on leadership roles in their communities and assist school districts in methods to improve STEM instruction.

The administration hopes the additional compensation and prestige as national leaders in STEM education will help make the teaching profession more competitive with alternative careers. The U.S. already has a problem retaining educators — particularly in math and science. A 2010 report from the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology noted that roughly 25,000 of the 477,000 math and science teachers in K-12 schools leave the profession each year.

A much less ambitious program with similar goals but immediate access to funds was announced in concert with the Master Teachers initiative. Under the program, $100 million is available now from the existing Teacher Incentive Fund to help school districts implement plans to establish highly-effective STEM teachers. School districts can compete for funding to identify and compensate highly-effective teachers who can model and mentor STEM instruction for their teaching peers, according to a press release. The teachers would receive extra compensation, recognition and responsibilities in their schools.

stem, white house, education, k-12