Bill to establish a STEM Master Teacher Corps
Alan’s comment in a previous blog post spoke to the issue of different kinds of needs in education. I agree completely. The ACM Karlstrom Award that Barb and I are receiving in June is about “outstanding contributions to education,” which may not have anything to do with teaching. The citation on our award is about Media Computation. There are other kinds of contributions besides producing curriculum. Sally Fincher received her SIGCSE Outstanding Contribution award for her research and for establishing a cohort of computing education researchers which are revitalizing the field today. But neither creating curricula nor doing research are about the act of teaching, about having an eye for identifying student problems and misconceptions, and about the art and skill of intervening to facilitate learning (from expository lecture, to designing good problems). Alan’s right, too, that we don’t know how to measure excellence in teaching, though we certainly need that in computing, and all of STEM. I suspect that we know more about teaching reading and writing than we do calculating and analyzing.
Senator Al Franken introduced this new bill, to establish a STEM Master Teacher Corp. It seems to me to leave open the question of how we identify master teachers, but does address the most significant bit: We need great teachers.
‘The purpose of this chapter is to establish a STEM Master Teacher Corps program that–
‘(1) elevates the status of the STEM teaching profession by recognizing and rewarding outstanding STEM teachers;
‘(2) attracts and retains effective STEM teachers, particularly in high-need schools, by offering them additional compensation, instructional resources, and instructional leadership roles; and
‘(3) creates a network of outstanding STEM teacher-leaders who will–
‘(A) share best practices and resources;
‘(B) take on leadership responsibilities in their schools, districts, States (if part of the participating area), or consortia with the authority to provide professional support to their STEM colleagues not participating in the STEM Master Teacher Corps;
‘(C) aid in the development and retention of beginning teachers by serving as their role models and providing them with instructional support; and
‘(D) inform the development of STEM education policy.