|College Readiness Initiative|
|| An American Imperative:
Transforming the Recruitment, Retention, and Renewal Of Our Nation's Mathematics and Science Teaching Workforce
An American Imperative addresses the critical shortage of high quality mathematics and science teachers, the lack of which threatens the strength, innovation, and productivity of America's economy. The report proposes a comprehensive action plan to elevate the status of the teaching profession and focuses on transforming three key components that contribute to a robust, world-class teaching workforce: recruitment, retention, and renewal.
The release of the BHEF report An American Imperative: Transforming the Recruitment, Retention, and Renewal of Our Nation's Mathematics and Science Teaching Workforce comes at a critical juncture in American education. American students today have limited interest in studying mathematics and science, and academic achievement in these two foundational disciplines is demonstrably low. This bleak reality poses an acute challenge to our ability to keep American society intellectually vibrant, to have enough employees for highly-skilled positions, and ultimately to ensure that our economy is globally competitive.
The root of these issues stems from fundamental problems in teacher quality and quantity. Research shows that the quality of P–12 mathematics and science teaching is the single most important factor in improving student mathematics and science achievement.1 Nationally, however, there are simply not enough highly skilled mathematics and science teachers entering the profession or committing to long-term careers. The United States will need more than 280,000 new mathematics and science teachers by 2015.2
A coordinated reform effort is required in order to succeed. BHEF believes five key stakeholder groups – the federal government, state governments, school districts, higher education and business and foundations – have a role to play. Specifically, it is critical for the business community and higher education to become more actively engaged in efforts to improve mathematics and science teaching. BHEF calls on leaders from these two groups to influence, energize, and drive change.
An American Imperative provides a comprehensive action plan to elevate the status of the teaching profession and focuses on transforming three key components that contribute to a robust, world-class teaching workforce: recruitment, retention, and renewal. An American Imperative specifies decisive action in three core areas:
Strengthen teacher recruitment policies in mathematics and science.
Improve the retention of both new and experienced teachers, and address the causes of teacher dissatisfaction.
Ensure that all mathematics and science teachers participate in renewal activities that support their effectiveness in the classroom.
BHEF has identified more than 100 roles that stakeholders can implement in support of the report’s overarching recommendations regarding teacher recruitment, teacher retention, and teacher renewal. Each of the five key stakeholder groups—federal government, state government, school districts, higher education, and business and foundations—has an important role in the implementation of the recommendations to improve the quality and quantity of mathematics and science teachers.
- Federal government (pdf)
- State governments (pdf)
- School districts (pdf)
- Higher education (pdf)
- Business and foundations (pdf)
To drive on-the-ground support of its major recommendations, An American Imperative calls for reforms commencing with four specific actions.
- National Consortium. BHEF calls for the creation of a national consortium among stakeholders from business, higher education, and P-12 to improve teacher recruitment, retention, and renewal and elevate the status of the teaching profession. The consortium would launch a national public awareness campaign to promote the teaching profession, share information and coordinate resources, and encourage business and philanthropic support for the most promising programs and strategies.
- Federal Policies. BHEF advocates for new and expanded federal policies that address teacher recruitment, retention, and renewal, including key provisions in the No Child Left Behind Act, Higher Education Act, and National Science Foundation appropriations.
- State Policy. BHEF encourages each state to develop a comprehensive plan to ensure an adequate long-term supply of highly qualified teachers.
- P-16 Councils. BHEF calls for the expansion of state and regional P-16 education councils to help coordinate the design and implementation of proposed reforms. Read the report
The recommendations in An American Imperative are part of a major BHEF initiative, "Securing America's Leadership in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM)," that seeks to double the number of college students with degrees in STEM fields by 2015.
William H. Swanson, Chairman and CEO of Raytheon Company and Warren J. Baker, President of California Polytechnic State University, serve as co-chairs of the group of BHEF members who are leading the initiative.
1 [K. Carey, The real value of teachers: Using new information about teacher effectiveness to close the achievement gap, Thinking K-16, Winter 2004; S. G. Rivkin, et.al, Teachers, schools, and academic achievement, Econometrica, March 2005; The Teaching Commission, Teaching at risk: A call to action, 2004; V. Troen, et.al, Who's teaching your children?, 2003.]