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Obama proposes $1B for science, math teachers

Teachers selected for the Master Teacher Corps will be paid an additional $20,000 a year.

The Obama administration unveiled plans Wednesday to create an elite corps of master teachers, a $1 billion effort to boost U.S. students’ achievement in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

The program to reward high-performing teachers with salary stipends is part of a long-term effort by President Barack Obama to encourage education in high-demand areas that hold the key to future economic growth—and to close the achievement gap between American students and their international peers.

Teachers selected for the Master Teacher Corps will be paid an additional $20,000 a year and must commit to participate multiple years. The goal is to create a multiplier effect in which expert educators share their knowledge and skills with other teachers, improving the quality of education for all students.

Speaking at a rally for his re-election campaign in San Antonio on Tuesday, Obama framed his emphasis on expanded education funding as a point of contrast with Republican challenger Mitt Romney, whom he accused of prioritizing tax cuts for the wealthy over reinvestment in the nation.

“I’m running to make sure that America has the best education system on earth, from pre-K all the way to post-graduate,” Obama said. “And that means hiring new teachers, especially in math and science.”

The administration will make $100 million available immediately out of an existing fund to incentivize top-performing teachers. Over the longer term, the White House said it plans to launch the program with $1 billion included in Obama’s budget request for fiscal year 2013.

But the House and Senate both voted down Obama’s budget earlier in the year, making it far from certain that Obama will be able to get congressional approval to spend $1 billion on master teachers.

An aide to Rep. John Kline, R-Minn., chairman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, noted that the federal government already has more than 80 teacher quality programs and said it would be foolish to pump money into programs that may be duplicative or unproductive.

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Comments:

  1. cehorner

    July 19, 2012 at 2:56 pm

    The best math teacher I know will never show up on your list. (And I’ve been in education for almost 30 years.) Why? Because she works in a very poor school district with very weak students. She makes sure they can get to graduation and that they can do enough math to make it in life. She will never be in the headlines though she toils extra hours each day. These kinds of teachers are why this program is a bad idea. This program will reward teachers from wealthy districts who already make large salaries. These teachers don’t deal with the problems that others have to deal with on a daily basis. How is the program going to measure who is a “top-performing teacher”? Again, a non-educator trying to regulate and interfere in the countries educational program. Bad idea.

  2. kochsner

    July 27, 2012 at 5:23 pm

    cehorner gives a very valid point. It also won’t benefit private or parochial schools that give public schools more money to pay salaries and to use in the classroom. Just in the Diocese of Phoenix alone it saves from hiring teachers to teach 15,000 students. Look at the buildings, staff, and materials that are repocketed. 15,000 students x average $6,000 per student =$90,000,000 saved. I know our teachers won’t get any reward money for our work either even though most teachers are all state certified teachers.