Improving K-12 Science and Math Education Through Enhanced Teacher Quality 2001-01-1332
The increasing infiltration of technology into our society has resulted in a growing need for a technology-literate public who understands and supports areas of advancement. In addition, there is a current lack of technically skilled workers to fill the present job market in the United States due to the lack of students who are adequately prepared or interested in fields such as science, mathematics, engineering and technology (SMET). The K-12 students who are currently in our school districts are the policy makers, technical workers, and educators of tomorrow. In order to increase the number of Americans who are both technically literate and capable of performing the needed technical jobs, emphasis must be placed on improving the educational system in grades K-12 where the process of learning science and mathematics first begins. The focus on improving the educational system must begin with the teachers because they have the greatest impact on the knowledge that students obtain and on their attitudes toward the subjects.
Teachers need to be hired and retained who possess strong backgrounds in science, mathematics, engineering, and technology.
Teachers need to be given accountability and support through mentoring programs to provide them with the help they need to become established in the teaching profession.
Professional development is needed to keep their skills current and to train them in the most effective methods of presenting the information to their students.
In order to retain quality SMET teachers, they need to be treated as professionals, given respect, and rewarded for their accomplishments.
Finally, the teachers need to incorporate technology into their classrooms and utilize other resources, such as engineering societies, to bring real-world experience to the classroom.
Only when the teachers are well prepared, confident in their subject area, continually updating their skills, receiving recognition, and utilizing important resources will the students receive the education necessary to make them future leaders in science, math, engineering, and technology.