. "5 What Actions Should America Take in K–12 Science and Mathematics Education to Remain Prosperous in the 21st Century?." Rising Above the Gathering Storm: Energizing and Employing America for a Brighter Economic Future. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2007.
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Rising Above the Gathering Storm: Energizing and Employing America for a Brighter Economic Future
To implement this action, the committee recommends that the federal government provide 100 to 125 academic research universities (2 or more per state) the ability to offer four to five programs in mathematics, biology, chemistry, physics, engineering, computer science, or integrated science for a total of 500 competitive institutional grants nationwide. The programs would focus on content education and pedagogy and would each provide in-classroom training and continuous evaluation for approximately 20 inservice middle and high school teachers and career changers.30
The program’s master teachers31 would provide leadership in their own districts for all the programs included in this recommendation. They would be mentors for new college graduates teaching in their schools and for the many very able current teachers who would welcome the opportunity to upgrade their skills through summer institutes or education to become AP or IB teachers or pre-AP–IB teachers. Teachers who complete the program would receive federally funded incentive stipends of $10,000 annually for up to 5 years provided that they remain in the classroom and engage in teaching leadership activities.32 Once the 5-year limit has been reached, teachers can pursue national certification for which many states offer a financial bonus.
Students learn best from teachers who have strong content knowledge and pedagogical skills.33 Unfortunately, it is uncertain what science and mathematics preparation, beyond the basics, is the best training for teachers. Nonetheless, it is known that teachers need to stay current with their disciplines. Master’s degree programs, particularly those emphasizing content knowledge, keep teachers updated and provide working teachers the skills to teach for the future.
The Science Teacher Institute in the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Arts and Sciences and Graduate School of Education34 is a rigorous pro-
An example of such a program is Math for America’s Newton fellowship program in New York City. In this 5-year program, new and mid-career scientists, engineers, and mathematics receive a stipend to pursue a master’s level teaching program, obtain a teaching certificate, begin teaching, and are mentored, coached, and provided support as they begin their teaching career. See http://www.mathforamerica.org.
This program may be even more effective if such master teachers would be nationally board certified, and would then become a national pool of teacher leaders.
Such master teachers should also be eligible for some release time from classroom teaching to engage in leadership activities.
National Research Council. Learning and Understanding: Improving Advanced Study ofMathematics and Science in U.S. Schools. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 2002; M. Cochran-Smith and K. M. Zeichner. Studying Teacher Education. Washington, DC: American Educational Research Association, 2005; M. Allen. 2003. Eight Questions on TeacherPreparation: What Does the Research Say? Washington, DC: Education Commission of the States, 2003. Available at: http://www.ecs.org/tpreport/.