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Initiative aims for 100,000 new STEM teachers

The 100Kin10 movement aims for 100,000 new STEM teachers in 10 years.

A new national movement aims to increase the supply of math and science teachers and retain excellent teachers currently in U.S. classrooms by preparing 100,000 new math and science teachers over the next 10 years.

Led by Carnegie Corporation of New York, Opportunity Equation, the NewSchools Venture Fund, and the S.D. Bechtel Jr. Foundation, the 100Kin10 initiative was sparked by President Obama’s 2011 State of the Union speech, in which he called for an increase in the number and quality of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) teachers, and by the impending retirement of thousands of STEM teachers over the next few years.

100Kin10 is a growing partnership unified by the goal of preparing all students with the high-quality STEM knowledge and skills needed to address national and global challenges. Partners are invited to apply their particular assets to address the challenge of recruiting and retaining excellent STEM educators strategically and creatively.

“The partners are tackling the president’s challenge from three directions: by increasing the supply of excellent STEM teachers; by developing and supporting STEM teachers so that our schools retain excellent talent, thereby reducing the need for new teachers; and by building the movement so that the quest for 100,000 excellent STEM teachers can succeed,” said Michele Cahill, co-chair of the Opportunity Equation and vice president for national programs at the Carnegie Corporation of New York, which is coordinating the funders’ collaborative.

“But these efforts alone, though significant, are not equal to the challenge. We need others with the demonstrated ability to develop outstanding teachers and to build this movement to join us.”

The initial phase of the project is focused on the movement’s first three years and first 20,000 teachers. Carnegie Corporation is working with the U.S. Department of Education to leverage public dollars to support the goals of 100Kin10.

While many districts are cutting teaching positions, STEM fields, especially math and science, remain high-need—just as they were before the nation’s economy began to struggle, said Talia Milgrom-Elcott, program officer for urban education at Carnegie Corporation.

100Kin10 is not a teacher-training initiative, Milgrom-Elcott said, but rather is “facilitating a commitment to action” by inviting partner organizations to step up and apply their best thoughts to the movement.

The movement currently has more than 80 cross-sector organization partners spread over four categories. Funding partners pledge funds that can be allocated to any of the movement’s activities. Groups that commit to helping “increase the supply” will work to recruit and prepare more excellent STEM teachers. Commitments in the “Retain Excellence” category develop and keep great STEM teachers in schools across the nation. And “Build the Movement” commitments support innovation, growth, and quality in the 100Kin10 initiative.

For instance, the American Museum of Natural History has pledged to prepare 130 certified science teachers for high-need schools by 2015, with each teacher promising to teach in those schools for at least four years. Florida International University has partnered with the Miami-Dade County Public Schools to recruit, prepare, and retain 200 more STEM teachers in 26 low-performing schools. And the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) aims to help increase the five-year retention rate of new physics teachers from 50-60 percent to 80 percent by providing professional development and online mentoring to 2,000 additional teachers over 10 years, aided by the online resources in AAPT’s digital library.

Milgrom-Elcott said it’s important to note that 100Kin10 focuses on retaining current STEM teachers as well as recruiting new ones, and it encourages commitments that improve the circumstances in which STEM teachers work—from how they are recruited, hired, evaluated, and paid to the support they receive and the opportunities they have to grow in their careers.

The list of current partners and their commitments can be found at

Current partners have committed to expanding the movement and creating a funding base of $20 million that will support as many as 100 innovative programs to develop and retain outstanding math and science teachers. 100Kin10 is calling for applications from nonprofits, foundations, corporations, school districts, and other organizations interested in contributing to the expansion of the nation’s science and math teaching force. Potential partners must be nominated by current 100Kin10 partners.

The campaign will use criteria established in conjunction with the University of Chicago’s Urban Education Institute to appoint and staff a national board to recommend STEM programs for inclusion in the movement; undertake rigorous reviews of all applicants’ capacity; and provide feedback on implementation and share best practices to drive improvements across all participating groups.

“100Kin10 is possible, and our students deserve it,” said Phillip Griffiths, professor emeritus of mathematics, past director at the Institute for Advanced Study, and co-chair of Opportunity Equation. “…We know how to recruit, train, and retain excellent STEM teachers. If this country’s museums, schools, corporations, education organizations, and other potential partners come forward and commit to action, we will meet our goal.”

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