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Educating Teachers of Science, Mathematics, and Technology: New Practices for the New Millenium
certified teachers in these disciplines who commit to teaching for at least three years,
additional loan forgiveness for teachers of science, mathematics, and technology who agree to teach in schools with high levels of poverty or low levels of student achievement in these subject areas,
stipends for teaching internships,
grants to teachers, school districts, or teacher education partnerships to offset the costs of ongoing professional development in these subject areas.
Most importantly, if teachers are to be held to higher levels of professional accountability, ways must be found to provide them with levels of compensation and working conditions that are competitive with other professions that recruit people with the kinds of credentials held by teachers of science and mathematics and that are commensurate with the experiences of other professionals with similar levels of education and training (see U.S. Department of Education, 1999). The problem is especially acute for people with backgrounds in science, mathematics, and technology. In today’s economy, it is much easier and more lucrative for almost anyone with a background in engineering, technology, science, or mathematics to find desirable levels of salary, benefits, and working conditions in other sectors. If governments continue to expect increasing levels of performance and accountability both for teachers and their students, then they also must provide both the compensation and the kinds of professional workplace and working conditions that would allow higher standards to be realized. Indeed, it may be necessary to provide higher levels of compensation to teachers of mathematics, science, and technology to recruit and retain the best teachers to these disciplines (see Odden and Kelley, 1997; North Central Regional Educational Laboratory, 1999; Olson, 1999; Kelley et al., 2000; and Odden, 2000).
The federal government also should examine ways to provide assistance with improving the teaching of science, mathematics, and technology in ways that local and state governments cannot do individually. These initiatives could include
Setting aside funds for ongoing professional development for teachers of science, mathematics, and technology. The committee strongly recommends that Eisenhower Grant funds continue to be restricted to professional development in science and mathematics. As the U.S. Congress considers reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, there have been attempts to make the Eisenhower Grants less restrictive.