Obama Admin. Unveils $1-Billion “Master Teacher Corps”

Marion Herbert's picture
Friday, July 20, 2012

The Obama administration announced a new initiative to recruit an elite group of master educators in a $1-billion effort to bolster U.S. educational attainment in the subjects of math, science, engineering, and technology.

“If America is going to compete for the jobs and industries of tomorrow, we need to make sure our children are getting the best education possible,” President Obama said when introducing the effort. “Teachers matter, and great teachers deserve our support.”

The Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Master Teacher Corps, comprised of “some of the nation’s finest educators in STEM subjects,” is slated to launch with 50 teachers grounded in 50 different sites, with a four-year goal to reach 10,000 Master Teachers. The elite group is charged with a multi-year commitment to the corps, and in return for their service and expertise, they will receive an annual $20,000-stipend on top of their current salary.

Speaking at a campaign event in San Antonio, Texas, on Tuesday, Obama emphasized an urgency to boost education funding, while blasting Republican rival Mitt Romney for preferring tax cuts to the wealthy over quality education for America’s children. “I’m running to make sure that America has the best education system on earth, from pre-K all the way to post-graduate,” the president declared. “And that means hiring new teachers, especially in math and science.” 

The White House expounded on the program, explaining that the underlying goal is to generate a breeding effect in which highly skilled educators share their expertise with other teachers, generating a more expansive educational quality for students across the nation:

Today, the Administration also announced that the President will immediately dedicate approximately $100 million of the existing Teacher Incentive Fund toward helping school districts implement high-quality plans to establish career ladders that identify, develop, and leverage highly effective STEM teachers. With an application deadline of July 27th, over 30 school districts across America have already signaled their interest in competing for funding to identify and compensate highly effective teachers who can model and mentor STEM instruction for their teaching peers, providing those teachers with additional compensation, recognition, and responsibilities in their schools.

According to Roberto Rodriguez, an assistant to the president in education policy, STEM teachers will be chosen among local education leaders and will spend at least four years in the role. "They'll be an elite group of teachers leading their communities,” Rodriguez affirmed. “They'd lead professional development [courses], mentorship activities, and would be regularly contributing new lesson plans and strategies to transform and improve science and math teaching.”

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