During the next decade U.S. schools are expected to need at least 200,000 new science and math teachers, and many districts already face shortages. In at least 10 states, fewer than six out of 10 middle school science teachers were certified when the Council of Chief School Officers complied a report last year.
Recruiting people with an aptitude for science to teach in schools is difficult, and keeping them in school long enough to develop a talent for teaching also is challenging. Angelo Collins, executive director of the Knowles Science Teaching Foundation (KSTF), which offers fellowships for teachers in science and math, says schools are in desperate need of more qualified teachers, partially because of retirement, overcrowded classrooms, and people teaching out of their field. Programs that offer new teachers financial incentives, mentors, and access to other new teachers for advice have been highly successful, and could be available on a larger scale if U.S. President-elect Barack Obama successfully executes his education proposals. Obama wants 40,000 scholarships to draw undergraduates and professionals looking to change their careers into high-need schools, with a special emphasis on math and science education.
In addition to tuition assistance and summer stipends, KSTF offers professional-development support for new teachers. Out of the 128 fellowships that KSTF has awarded since 2002, fewer than 20 individuals have left teaching, Collins says.
From The Christian Science Monitor
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