Closing the STEM gap
I filled in for my colleague on the higher ed beat yesterday and covered the STEM symposium at University of Maryland. Chancellor William Kirwan presented some staggering statistics about Maryland's preparation (or lack thereof) of math, science and technology teachers: The state's public schools need 500 a year, yet its colleges and universities are only producing 175, resulting in unqualified teachers filling gaps, often in the poorest schools. At least Kirwan is recognizing the problem and pledging to do something about it, hence the symposium.
It was my first time seeing Arne Duncan live. He didn't say too much that I haven't read about him saying before, but for the sake of putting it on the record here on InsideEd: He wants a longer school day, week and year. He wants to keep the data disaggregation that NCLB requires but stop letting each state develop its own standardized tests. In other words, he wants to standardize the goal but provide more flexibility in how to get there. He kind of reminded me of Dr. Alonso when he said he wants to give states autonomy to reach a uniform goal and hold them accountable for the results. He also said he wants to be judged on the country improving its high school graduation rate and getting more students through college.
Nancy Grasmick was at the symposium. She said Duncan will be bringing states together to develop uniform assessments, and Maryland will be a part of the process. Both Grasmick and Kirwan were very impressed with a program out of the University of Texas called UTeach to recruit math, science and computer teachers and would like to bring some version of it to Maryland.
UPDATE: Alonso e-mailed this Wall Street Journal op-ed by Duncan to city teachers this week.