Pres Unveils STEM Ed Plan
President Obama hosted the second White House science fair earlier this week, using the event to roll out series of plans from his administration—and from private partners—to give a boost to STEM education.
Included within the plan is an $80 million proposal for a new federal competition to support "effective STEM teacher preparation programs," according to a White House press release. The program would focus on such approaches as allowing students to simultaneously earn a STEM degree and a teaching certificate, and provide undergraduates with early and intensive classroom experiences to hone their skills, the White House news release said.
In addition, the president is seeking to create a $60 million fund to improve mathematics education, to be jointly administered by the US Department of Education and the National Science Foundation. The new K-16 math program would seek to "develop, validate, and scale up evidence-based approaches to improve student learning at the K-12 and undergraduate levels through a 'tiered-evidence framework' to maximize [the] impact," the White House said.
Further, an upcoming Race to the Top competition will once again include STEM education as an area of focus in the criteria. The Education Department will devote "a portion" of its next $300 million Teacher Incentive Fund competition to support local efforts to improve compensation, evaluation, and professional development systems for STEM educators, the White House release says.
Any of these proposals will require sign-off by Congress, including the Republican-led House, to become law which makes chances of passage difficult to say the least. Next Monday, Obama will put forward his full budget request for fiscal 2013.
The president also used the event to highlight private-sector efforts to improve STEM education.
"When I took office, I called for an all-hands-on-deck approach to science, technology, engineering, and math," Obama said, "to make sure these fields get the respect and attention that they deserve... The private sector has answered that call as well."
Fourteen organizations, including the Carnegie Corporation of New York, Google, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation, among others, have just announced a $22 million fund for STEM teacher preparation and support. The effort is part of an initiative dubbed 100Kin10, an initiative created to attract and prepare 100,000 excellent STEM teachers over a decade.
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