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ASU joins nationwide effort to produce math, science teachers


science teacher
September 28, 2011

Arizona State University’s Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College has joined a growing multi-sector movement of more than 80 partners committed to working to recruit, develop, and retain 100,000 excellent science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) teachers over the coming 10 years. The movement is being led by Carnegie Corporation of New York and the Opportunity Equation.

100Kin10 invites organizations, including but not limited to corporations, school districts, museums, institutions of higher education, foundations, federal agencies, professional associations, states, and nonprofit organizations, to apply their particular assets to creatively and strategically address the challenges of increasing the supply of and retaining excellent STEM educators.

Teachers College has made a number of significant commitments in joining 100Kin10. Among them is to produce 600 STEM teachers by 2015, doubling the number of current graduates. Multiple strategies are being employed to reach this goal, including recruiting outstanding students to the teaching profession through ASU’s Sanford Education Project. The Project is an initiative funded by an $18.85 million investment from T. Denny Sanford that seeks to combine the best qualities of ASU’s teacher preparation program with Teach For America’s (TFA) best practices.

“We have begun an aggressive program that incorporates TFA principles to recruit passionate high school students who aspire to be leaders into the teaching profession,” said Andrea Stouder Pursley, executive director of the Sanford Education Project. “We also will systematically encourage students who already know they want to be teachers to pursue STEM training and certification.”

Teachers College also is working collaboratively with colleges across ASU to leverage the expertise of faculty members in scientific disciplines to provide high-quality STEM content training for teacher candidates. Courses for future teachers are being developed with content and curriculum that are tied directly to the Common Core Standards, national common academic goals being adopted by the majority of state education offices. The college recently piloted a sustainability course designed and taught by Nobel Prize winning scientist Leland Hartwell.

“The strong support of ASU President Michael Crow is enabling us to utilize all of the university’s resources to produce the growing numbers of outstanding new teachers Arizona and the nation need to compete globally in the 21st century,” said Mari Koerner, dean of Teachers College.

Because Teachers College will offer its new STEM courses online, the college is committed to the prospect of partnering with other universities to utilize this new method of training STEM teachers. “While we are already fully committed to sharing solutions that work, we believe that the opportunity to serve as a 100Kin10 official partner will be a great opportunity to both contribute to a community committed to a common goal, and learn from the other members of that community,” Koerner said.

Teachers College will utilize the Reforming Science Education for Teachers and Students (ReSETS) Initiative in working to meet its 100Kin10 goal of 600 new STEM teachers by 2015. Harnessing the knowledge and experience of ASU’s world-renowned scientists, education professionals, and technology experts, ReSETS is developing an innovative new transdisciplinary curriculum to better prepare prospective science teachers and build scientific literacy among the undergraduate population.

The content of the ReSETS will focus on the National Science Standards, the very concepts PreK-12 STEM teachers will be expected to teach their own students. Through a slate of technology-rich modules, ReSETS will effectively prepare pre-service STEM teachers for the classroom, provide in-service teachers with quality teaching tools, and offer STEM teachers opportunities for professional advancement.

“ReSETS is about creatively tackling the STEM crisis by rethinking the way we prepare STEM teachers for the classroom,” said Penelope Adams Moon, ReSETS project director.

The 100Kin10 initiative was originally announced at the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) America Meeting in Chicago in June 2011, where President Clinton urged corporations, foundations, and other interested organizations to take part. At the seventh Annual Meeting of CGI in New York City last week, President Obama reiterated the imperative: “[Our future] demands that we give every child the skills and education they need to succeed. And I thank you for the commitment that you made to recruit and train tens of thousands of new science, technology, engineering, and math teachers. Nothing could be more important.”

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan lauded the 100Kin10 initiative, saying, “President Obama and I believe that recruiting and preparing 100,000 excellent new teachers in the STEM fields is essential for our students’ success in the 21st century knowledge economy. We need an all-hands-on-deck strategy to make this happen. I applaud the work of Carnegie Corporation and the Opportunity Equation and the 80 organizations including corporations, universities, non-profits, states, and districts that are coming together under the banner of ‘100Kin10’ to provide our students with a world-class education in the STEM subjects.”

A dozen corporate and foundation partners have created an initial funding base of nearly $20 million in pledges that can be allocated to any of the 100Kin10 partner organizations at the discretion of the funder. More information, including a complete list of partners and their commitments, is available at http://100kin10.org/.

The ASU Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College offers world class academic programs for educators and scholars preparing to enter or advance in the profession. Teachers College provides challenging education programs to prepare successful and highly qualified PreKindergraten – 12th grade teachers as well as programs for those interested in advanced study and research activities. For the 12th consecutive year, ASU’s graduate education programs are ranked among the best by U.S. News & World Report.