School-Business Partnerships Target STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) Subjects. Trained Workforce Crucial to Rural Economic Development

Amid corporate concern about what some perceive as a looming workforce crisis, efforts are under way to spur more businesses to follow the lead of companies such as Boeing. And school-business partnerships centered on the so-called STEM disciplines—science, technology, engineering, and math—are attracting particular attention at a time when companies are pleading with Washington to expand the federal H1-B visa program, which allows them to temporarily hire skilled workers from abroad.

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Report Urges Stakeholders to Address STEM Teaching Shortage

With a projected national shortage of more than 280,000 math and science teachers by 2015, key stakeholders must begin initiating strategies to recruit, retain and renew the nation’s teaching workforce, says a new report by The Business-Higher Education Forum (BHEF).

The report provides a comprehensive action plan to transform the quality of the teaching workforce and address the growing shortfall of math and science teachers. According to the authors, the annual turnover rate for math teachers is the highest of all subject areas at 16.4 percent, followed by science teachers at 15.6 percent. In addition, U.S. students are losing ground to their international counterparts in math and science performance – areas imperative to American economic competitiveness.

Recommendations fall under three key factors of recruitment, retention and renewal, recognizing the need to align and coordinate contributions from federal government, state government, school districts, higher education and business and foundations. Key recommendations include:

* Implement recruitment strategies such as scholarships, bonuses and differential pay, starting in P-12 and extending through graduate school;

* Strengthen the content and pedagogy of teacher preparation programs to ensure a capable science and mathematics teaching workforce;

* Expand strategies to attract talented individuals in STEM related professions to teaching;

* Develop and implement research-based induction programs for all new math and science teachers;

* Implement policies to address the leading causes of teacher dissatisfaction;

* Revamp teacher license renewal programs to incorporate measure of teacher effectiveness; and,

* Establish comprehensive statewide data collection systems that track student progress, teacher effectiveness and employment trends of mathematics and science teachers.

The report dedicates a section to promising strategies that summarize current practices and programs focused on teacher recruitment and retention. For example, the New York City Teaching Fellows program recruits mid-career professionals, recent college graduates, and retirees into the teaching profession and provides them with alternative routes to licensure.

An industry-education partnership in San Francisco seeks to transform teaching and learning by providing teachers with industry and research-based professional development opportunities. The program is designed to help teachers understand the skills and knowledge their students need in the workforce.

BHEF hopes to emulate the success of past influential reports that have spurred Congress to introduce legislation to support improved teacher preparation, professional development and recruitment incentives.

An American Imperative: Transforming the Recruitment, Retention, and Renewal of Our Nation’s Mathematics and Science Teaching Workforce is available from BHEF at:

Copyright State Science & Technology Institute 2007. Redistribution to all others interested in tech-based economic development is strongly encouraged. Please cite the State Science & Technology Institute whenever portions are reproduced or redirected.


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