Federal

Business-Higher Ed. Group Offers Plan for Teacher Shortfall

By Vaishali Honawar — June 11, 2007 3 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

A report that was slated for release this week foresees a vibrant, hands-on role for businesses in combating the much-publicized shortfall of math and science teachers in K-12 schools.

Members of the Business-Higher Education Forum, an organization made up of Fortune 500 chiefs and higher education leaders, say the United States will need 280,000 new mathematics and science teachers by 2015. But there simply are not enough skilled teachers in those areas entering the profession or committing to long-term careers, the report underscores.

To help relieve the shortage, the Washington-based forum puts forth a detailed plan that calls on the federal and state governments, school districts, higher education institutions, and businesses to work in concert in teacher recruitment, retention, and continuing professional growth.

For instance, the report says, in the area of retention, the federal government could expand support for comprehensive, research-based teacher-induction programs; state governments could disseminate tools to evaluate the effectiveness of such programs; school districts could establish, evaluate, and report on the programs; universities could conduct research on their effectiveness; and businesses could sponsor and support the programs.

Forum members hope their strategy would double the number of college graduates with degrees in critical STEM—science, technology, engineering, and math—disciplines in eight years.

Many reports in recent years have sought to highlight the problems in STEM education, most notably “Rising Above the Gathering Storm,” which was prepared in 2005 by a panel of business leaders convened by the National Academies. The report warned that the U.S. economy would suffer if it failed to improve the scientific and technological skills of its workforce.

But Brian Fitzgerald, the executive director of the Business-Higher Education Forum, said very few of the other reports have called for a strong role for business in addressing the critical shortage of math and science teachers, or identified sound strategies to counter it. “This report is unique because it deals with recruitment, retention, and renewal, and creates a road map for each of the five stakeholders to get this work done,” he added.

New Ideas

Some recommendations in the report are familiar, such as scholarships for teacher education students in the STEM disciplines, differential pay for such teachers, and ongoing professional development.

But there are new ideas as well, among them the creation of an administrator’s position at each school—a vice principal of academic affairs to provide support for new teachers, help experienced teachers master classroom-instruction skills, and help all teachers develop and implement curricula.

While some may worry about adding another administrator to schools, the authors say the idea was modeled after the leadership of universities, where a president and a provost handle different affairs, complementing each other.

Gerald F. Wheeler, the executive director of the National Science Teachers Association, in Arlington, Va., said that is one of the many proposals in the report he is excited about working with schools to carry out. “A vice principal for academic affairs could be a coordinating glue who would bring teachers together,” he said.

The report also proposes early and aggressive teacher-recruitment efforts, such as targeting middle school students and presenting them with teaching as a viable career option.

With two major pieces of federal education legislation up for reauthorization, the No Child Left Behind Act and the Higher Education Act, forum members said a window of opportunity is open to influence significant change.

Investing in STEM programs, Mr. Fitzgerald said, is “a national imperative” to keep the United States intellectually vibrant and economically competitive.

A version of this article appeared in the June 13, 2007 edition of Education Week as Business-Higher Ed. Group Offers Plan for Teacher Shortfall

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Curriculum Webinar
Strategies for Incorporating SEL into Curriculum
Empower students to thrive. Learn how to integrate powerful social-emotional learning (SEL) strategies into the classroom.
Content provided by Be GLAD
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
Leadership in Education: Building Collaborative Teams and Driving Innovation
Learn strategies to build strong teams, foster innovation, & drive student success.
Content provided by Follett Learning
School & District Management K-12 Essentials Forum Principals, Lead Stronger in the New School Year
Join this free virtual event for a deep dive on the skills and motivation you need to put your best foot forward in the new year.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Federal Social Media Should Come With a Warning, Says U.S. Surgeon General
A surgeon general's warning label would alert users that “social media is associated with significant mental health harms in adolescents.”
4 min read
Image of social media icons and warning label.
iStock + Education Week
Federal Classroom Tech Outpaces Research. Why That's a Problem
Experts call for better alignment between research and the classroom in Capitol Hill discussions.
4 min read
People walk outside the U.S Capitol building in Washington, June 9, 2022.
People walk outside the U.S Capitol building in Washington, June 9, 2022. Experts called for investments in education research and development at a symposium at the Dirksen Senate Office Building on June 13.
Patrick Semansky/AP
Federal Opinion Federal Education Reform Has Largely Failed. Unfortunately, We Still Need It
Neither NCLB nor ESSA have lived up to their promise, but the problems calling for national action persist.
Jack Jennings
4 min read
Red, Blue, and Purple colors over a fine line etching of the Capitol building. Republicans and Democrats, Partisan Politicians.
Douglas Rissing/iStock
Federal A More Complete Picture of Immigration's Impact on U.S. Public Schools
House Republicans say a migrant influx has caused "chaos" in K-12 schools. The reality is more complicated.
10 min read
Parents and community members rally outside P.S. 189 to protest New York City Mayor Eric Adam's plan to temporarily house immigrants in the school's gymnasium, seen in the background on May 16, 2023, in New York.
Parents and community members rally outside P.S. 189 to protest New York City Mayor Eric Adam's plan to temporarily house immigrants in the school's gymnasium, seen in the background on May 16, 2023, in New York.
John Minchillo/AP