Is President Obama’s STEM Master Teacher Corps best for America

This post is published as a Web extension of our August 2012 Education Issue – our annual blow-out of all things educational. To read it in full, visit our e-store to purchase a copy or subscription.

By Kelli Bennett, Editorial Intern

Will President Obama’s STEM Master Teacher Corps be the answer to improved education in the U.S.?  The President and his administration announced extensive plans for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Master Teacher Corps, which is designed to recruit, recognize and reward outstanding educators.

CNN reports the STEM Master Corps will begin with 2,500 members scattered across 50 different sites.  Not all teachers will be qualified for this program; The Department of Education will operate a competitive selection process.  After the selection process is complete and the teachers are selected, they will dedicate themselves to a multi-year commitment and receive a $20,000 on top of their existing salaries.

Not only will these skilled teachers supply time to the project, they will also provide their valued expertise in constructing STEM education lesson plans and learning tools.  The STEM teachers will transfer into a new classroom as they instruct fellow teachers on methods to improve their STEM teaching skills.

As one of the many students who struggled in school with math and science, I can appreciate President Obama’s efforts to better this vital aspect of education.  Not only will this create a better learning environment, it will also improve student’s chances at earning high-level jobs.  Isn’t that the goal as a country and educators?

Good things never come easy and the President’s efforts have already been hindered by Chairman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee John Kline (R-Minn.).  The two gathered a list 80 existing similar teacher-quality programs.  On top of this discovery, the President’s budget plan for 2013 has already been denied due to the $1 billion dollar price tag.

Only time will tell what progress STEM Master Teachers Corps will make.  I do believe in investing in the immeasurable value of education; but if there are existing programs similar to this one, money should be invested to better them instead of starting from the ground up.

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