American Chemical Society: White House Initiative to Create a National Corps of STEM Teachers is Vital

WASHINGTON, July 18, 2012 — The American Chemical Society (ACS) applauds a White House initiative unveiled yesterday to create a national corps of 10,000 master teachers in the next four years who are exceptional in teaching science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) subjects.

“Teaching STEM subjects is most effectively achieved by teachers who are masters in the field,” said ACS President Bassam Z. Shakhashiri, Ph.D. “To really teach our kids science, math, and engineering it is imperative that teachers have deep knowledge in the discipline itself. I am pleased to see that President Obama has made this point a priority with his new initiative!”

Tuesday, President Barack Obama announced his plan to create a new, national STEM Master Teacher Corps that fosters peer-to-peer professional development. The corps would start with 50 of the nation’s top STEM teachers established in 50 sites and, over four years, expand that core group to 10,000 teachers. These teachers will then instruct other teachers in best practices so America’s students can benefit from the best in STEM education.

President Obama said he would immediately redirect $100 million of the existing Teacher Incentive Fund to help school districts implement, identify, develop and leverage effective STEM teachers.

The president proposes to fully fund the program with $1 billion from his 2013 budget request currently before Congress. The program would require teachers to make a multi-year commitment to the corps, and in return receive an annual stipend of up to $20,000 on top of their base salary. The teachers will provide their expertise, service and leadership in training other teachers to become more skilled and effective in teaching STEM subjects.

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