On 11 June 2007, the Business-Higher Education Forum (BHEF) released a new report “An American Imperative: Transforming the Recruitment, Retention, and Renewal of Our Nation’s Mathematics and Science Teaching Workforce.” Like a number of other high profile reports released over the past few years, the BHEF report considers the crucial role STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education plays in the nation’s economic competitiveness. Unlike some reports, however, “An American Imperative” focuses entirely on the “teacher problem,” specifically the predicted shortfall of 280,000 new math and science teachers by 2015.

“In releasing ‘An American Imperative,’ a critical mass of some of America’s most prominent business executives have joined forces with leaders in higher education in two vitally important ways“, said BHEF President Brian K. Fitzgerald. “First, we have spotlighted the significant, systemic problems that impact mathematics and science education today. More importantly, our report presents an ambitious, aggressive, proactive, and comprehensive strategy for fixing the problems.”

The report makes over 100 recommendations in three broad areas to overcome the looming teacher shortage and promote higher quality STEM education: strengthening new teacher recruitment; improving the retention of new and experienced teachers and addressing the causes of teacher dissatisfaction; and promoting renewal activities for math and science teachers to support their effectiveness in the classroom.

Some of the specific recommendations in the report include signing bonuses and differential pay for math and science teachers, retooling state licensure renewal programs to include measures of teaching effectiveness, and creating a special administrator position in each school to provide support to new teachers. To coordinate and implement these recommendations, “An American Imperative” calls for the involvement of five major stakeholders: the federal government, state governments, school districts, higher education, and business and foundations.

According to BHEF, the report release was timed to coincide with the upcoming congressional consideration of the re-authorizations of the No Child Left Behind Act, the Higher Education Act, and the National Science Foundation.

For more information about the BHEF report: http://www.bhef.com/solutions/anamericanimperative.asp


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