North Carolina has done. Second, he suggested that states and districts provide performance incentives to teachers who demonstrate the capacity to teach 21st century skills.
Eric Anderman agreed with Windschitl about the value of extended student teaching experiences, lasting at least 30 weeks, but called for improved monitoring of the teacher mentors who supervise the student teachers. He recommended that mentors be selected carefully and provided with monetary compensation, rather than continuing education credits. Carvellas heartily agreed with this suggestion, observing that expert teachers with 20 or more years of service do not need continuing education credits. She asked for improved compliance with existing guidelines that require that mentors do much more than simply “drop by once a week,” adding that compensation for these mentors is critical.
Reflecting on the topic of mentoring student teachers, Sandoval mentioned the national problem of low teacher retention rates, as many teachers leave the profession after just a few years. Windschitl responded that current education policies often focus on producing new teachers, instead of retaining high-quality teachers. Many new graduates with education degrees, he said, are not prepared adequately in classroom management, in responding to linguistic and cultural diversity in the classroom, or in teaching science. As a result, he said, many leave teaching within 3 to 5 years.
Joyce Winterton (Office of Education, National Aeronautics and Space Administration) suggested that her agency collaborate with the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Department of Energy, and the National Science Foundation to create externships for teachers. In these positions, teachers would participate in research projects at national laboratories and in industry.
Rodger Bybee questioned the usefulness of “radical” recommendations because, in his view, the education system will reject such sweeping change. He recommended instead building on the tools for teachers developed by Windschitl, which support smaller, more achievable change. Sandoval agreed that it is important to try to build on models of positive change.
Raymond Bartlett (Teaching Institute for Excellence in Science Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) said, in his years of work in industry and with a state board of education, he learned that it is possible to make major changes in the education system. For example, a change in teacher certification requirements will dramatically change the whole system. He suggested that, rather than talking to each other about science education and 21st century skills, participants begin discussions with key organizations in Washington, DC, such as the Association of State Boards of Education, which are positioned to support and implement major changes in education policy.