Strategies for Improving the STEM Teaching Crisis
One of the most often-cited reasons for the STEM achievement gap is a lack of skilled and trained STEM teachers. The greatest percentage of under-qualified teachers at the K-12 level is found in STEM disciplines â€“ 40 percent of high school math teachers and 20 percent of science teachers in high needs areas lack a higher education degree in the subject they instruct.
The recruitment of highly qualified teachers into the STEM teaching workforce has received a tremendous amount of attention in the past few years. But once teachers are in the classroom, they often experience poor workplace conditions, lack of support from peers and school leadership, and pay that does not reflect their qualifications or amount of work. Without solving the retention crisis, America has little chance of making a dent in the education crisis. This report discusses what teachers, administrators, educational leaders and interested citizens can do to improve teacher retention by encouraging and improving opportunities for collaboration, support, respect, openness, and commitment to student achievement and professional development within schools. It presents original findings from a longitudinal study of public school science and math teachers in California participating in Professional Learning Communities (PLCs).