Google and Friends to Help Grow STEM Teachers

To recruit and nurture the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) teachers needed to educate the next generation of engineers and technical professionals, more than 115 organizations recently gathered at Google's Washington, D.C., offices to commit to measurable plans to recruit, train, hire, develop, and retain 100,000 STEM teachers in the next decade.

With the recent addition a $1.5 million pledge from CA Technologies, the group is backing its promise to future STEM teachers with a $24 million fund pledged by 15 donors, including J.P. Morgan Chase, Google, Dow Chemical Co., Carnegie Corp. of New York, and NewSchools Venture Fund. The group also includes several foundations, such as S.D. Bechtel Jr., Boston, Michael and Susan Dell, Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold, Bill & Melinda Gates, Greater Texas, Heising-Simons, William and Flora Hewlett and Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family.

Other organizations taking part in this "100Kin10" partnership range from museums to universities, teacher residencies to school districts, non-profits to high-tech corporations. 100Kin10 is dedicated to ensuring that all children have access to excellent STEM learning, so they can acquire the STEM literacy necessary to be full participants in the U.S. economy and democracy. The initial meeting in Washington, D.C., allowed organizations from different sectors—which have proven but widely varying approaches toward boosting the number of STEM teachers—to collaborate toward shared goals. 

"Engaging and preparing the next generation of STEM leaders, innovators and entrepreneurs is key to preserving U.S. competitiveness in today's global marketplace. It's also key to solving the problems, seizing the opportunities, and improving the quality of life in our interconnected world," stated U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to the group. "However, to create a new generation of diverse STEM leaders, we must first dramatically increase the numbers of talented, inspiring and diverse STEM teachers, in every school in America—especially in our highest-need schools."

To facilitate the submission of proposals by partners seeking funding to implement their 100Kin10 commitments, the initiative's 14 funders have established an online registry to help simplify the funding application process. The online registry, developed by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, will also allow easy access by those who have committed financial support to view all the submitted proposals and align requests with respective funding cycles. The registry is at www.100kin10registry.org.

"The country's future economic well-being is contingent in large part on how well we address challenges like high health costs, energy independence, and climate change," said Talia Milgrom-Elcott, program officer at Carnegie Corp. of New York, who is leading the 100Kin10 effort with Maya Agarwal Lundhagen of Opportunity Equation. "A solution to these and other critical problems begins in the classroom. More and better STEM teachers, trained to emphasize real-world problem-solving, will provide students the intellectual foundation as well as the technical know-how they must have to navigate the world around them, and become productive, innovative contributors to our democracy and economy."

The more than 100 partners have each made commitments toward the initiative's goal. Several of those commitments were featured at the Second White House Science Fair on Feb. 7, including:

• California State University will prepare 1,500 new math and science teachers annually through 2015. Half will teach in high-need schools for at least three years, and 10% will earn dual certification, addressing the needs of hard-to-staff schools. 

• National Math and Science Initiative will prepare 4,000 new STEM teachers from 31 UTeach sites by 2015. 
• Google will design a high-profile recognition program for the top 5% of STEM teachers nationwide. 
• Teach for America will recruit 11,000 STEM Corps members by 2015, and connect other qualified applicants to additional STEM teaching opportunities. 

• DonorsChoose.org will inspire 50,000 citizens to sponsor projects in math and science classrooms over the next two years, delivering $15 million in critical classroom resources, helping 600,000 students nationwide. 

• University of Chicago will create a framework for organizing the learning that results from 100Kin10 investments, and coordinate research among partners on key questions about STEM teacher recruitment, preparation, induction, and development.