I'm not so naive that I think this is a slam dunk, but I still find the Obama administration's announcement this morning heartening. The plan is to provide $1 billion in the 2013 budget to create an elite corps of master teachers in an effort to boost U.S. students' achievement in STEM disciplines.
Teachers selected for the new national Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Master Teacher Corps, beginning with 50 of the best educators in STEM subjects, will be paid an additional $20,000 a year and must commit to participate multiple years. The program is set to expand to 10,000 master teachers over four years, and those teachers are expected to create a multiplier effect by sharing their knowledge and skills with other teachers, improving the quality of education for all students.
What we hear a lot of in this space and in public forums is more along the lines of: “Our education system isn’t providing the skills we need” or “Teachers don’t have a clue how to teach STEM subjects.” What we don’t hear a lot of is what Obama had to say along with this announcement: “Teachers matter, and great teachers deserve our support.”
Whether congress will actually be willing to pass Obama’s latest budget is a considerable question. But the President will also immediately make available about $100 million for the existing Teacher Incentive Fund to help school districts implement high-quality plans to establish career ladders that identify, develop and leverage highly effective STEM teachers.
The application deadline is just nine days away, but more than 30 school districts across the U.S. have already indicated their interest in funding to identify and compensate highly effective teachers who can model and mentor STEM instruction for their teaching peers.
If you’d like to know more, there’s quite a bit more information about the STEM Master Teacher Corps.