The STEM Teacher Corps is a bold initiative to advance STEM teaching and learning across the United States by recognizing the nation's top K-12 STEM teachers. In order to attract and retain the best STEM teachers, we must significantly reward excellence in STEM teaching, elevate the status of the profession, and create paths within the profession to which all STEM teachers can aspire. We also have an opportunity to create a cadre of the nation's most accomplished teachers who will broadly advance education and education policy.
The need for such a Corps was outlined in a September 2010 report to President Obama from his Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST). The President announced his Administration's plans to launch a Teacher Corps in July 2012. A national STEM Teacher Corps would recognize a larger percentage of teachers than any existing recognition program, create an interactive professional community of teachers empowered to make broad improvements to STEM education, and provide significant stipends to reward teachers and their schools. It would also provide a growth trajectory for teachers to develop within the profession and avenues for them to engage in improving STEM teaching and learning beyond their classrooms. The Corps is a coherent cadre of teachers with national visibility, and with linked national, regional, state, and local networks of teachers who help improve each other's practice and professionalize STEM teaching.
- Observation: The corps must adhere to the following key design principles: be broad in scope and scale, reflect excellence of outstanding professionals, respect and recognize people and the profession, build a community, and award teacher stipends.
- Observation: The organizational structure should balance central coordination with regional/local nodes and innovation. The report recommends creating a central administrative entity, an advisory board, and 10 regional centers.
- Observation: When recruiting and selecting teachers for the corps, it will be important to define excellence, reflect the diversity of STEM teaching, and establish processes based on nomination and targeted recruiting with the help of deep partnerships.
- Observation: The Teacher Corps experience will include "strands" of community-building components that draw on individual teachers' strengths. For example, teachers may choose to get involved through coaching, developing curricula or pedagogical tools, or serving as corps ambassadors.
- Observation: The Corps should provide its teachers with resources that ensure they remain on the cutting edge of education technology.