The U.S. Presidents Barrack Obama’s Administration has announced the launch of a nationwide program aimed to promote students’ interest in mathematics, science and technology by encouraging their teachers.
The program’s budget amounts to $1 billion and it starts with involving 50 most promising and inspired teachers and finally over a 4-year period it is expected to grow to include 10,000 educators all over the U.S. The program is planning on giving a bonus of $20,000 to these teachers in exchange for their long-standing commitment and devotion to their profession.
Barack Obama said in his interview that he puts high hopes on this initiative to compensate for a shortcoming of qualified and motivated teachers in STEM fields.
The country which once used to be top ranked in the number of STEM area graduates has fallen behind dramatically over just a few years and now takes only 17th position in the international ratings. In order to stay competitive in the new rapidly changing global economy the U.S. has to make sure its’ students get the best education possible. To do this it has to start with making high-skilled STEM teachers more involved and better provided to meet the challenges they are faced with.
The money issue is not the only and definitely not the most crucial problem of teachers’ disinterest and lack of motivation. It is also about the working conditions that makes teachers distracted. The worse these conditions are, the less effective a teacher becomes.
However, money does matter for it can create additional incentives for STEM-oriented people to come to work in teaching areas and, what is more important, it will stimulate them to stay in these fields.
Teachers invited to take part in the program will also have to instruct and assist their less-experienced and low-performing colleagues, helping them to improve the quality of teaching and develop important skills.
No matter how optimistic it may sound, the program’s approval has not been finalized yet. Many officials believe that if approved the program would seriously dent the country’s budget which is already backing as many as 82 teacher quality programs and over 200 STEM initiatives across the country.
Republicans say that although they share Obama’s aspirations to increase STEM awareness and improve teaching quality of these disciplines, they still doubt whether it is reasonable to invest billions of dollars into such a great number of overlapping and probably unproductive programs.
Investing in science, mathematics and engineering is a good idea. The U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan believes that both parties will soon reach an agreement on this subject and make sure students all over the country are not deprived of the opportunities that STEM education can give them.