U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan today announced the award of $35 million for 24 new partnerships between universities and high-need school districts that will recruit, train and support more than 11,000 teachers over the next five years—primarily in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields—to improve student achievement. These awards are the culmination of this year's Teacher Quality Partnership (TQP) grant competition that President Obama announced in May at the White House Science Fair.

For the first time, this year's TQP competition focuses on preparing STEM teachers, and increasing the participation of underrepresented groups—women, minorities and people with disabilities—in teaching STEM subjects. The 2014 TQP grantees will train teachers in a wide variety of approaches to STEM instruction, from early learning through high school levels. This advances on the goal that President Obama set in his 2011 State of the Union address to prepare 100,000 STEM teachers over the next decade with strong teaching skills and deep content knowledge. In addition, answering the President's call to action, nearly 200 organizations have formed a coalition called 100Kin10, all committed to the goal of increasing the supply of excellent STEM teachers.

"Recruiting and supporting great teachers has been a key priority for our Department and the Administration from the very beginning," Secretary Duncan said. "Every teacher deserves the opportunity to receive the training and support necessary to prepare for the rigors of preparing all students for success in the classroom and in life. We're proud at the Department of Education to announce these awards that represent another important step in strengthening teacher preparation and residency programs to ensure that new teachers—whether entering from college or from other careers—have the skills to improve student achievement in today's diverse and challenging classrooms."

"Cultivating tomorrow's innovators, discoverers, and entrepreneurs will require a world-class workforce of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics teachers today," said John P. Holdren, President Obama's Science Advisor. "The awards announced by Secretary Duncan today mark a major step forward toward meeting the President's goal of preparing 100,000 excellent STEM teachers and will help ensure that these dedicated professionals have the tools, training, and resources they need to continue inspiring our kids to excel in science and math."

President Obama strongly believes that the United States must equip many more students to excel in STEM fields. In 2009, President Obama launched the Educate to Innovate campaign, a public—private partnership that has secured more than $700 million in commitments to bolster investments in STEM education and to help meet the President's goal for STEM teachers. President Obama's 2015 budget proposal for STEM education would invests $2.9 billion, an increase of 3.7 percent over the 2014 level, in federal STEM education programs.

Under TQP, grantees create model teacher preparation programs to grow the pool of quality new teachers including early learning teachers. These programs are developed through reforms of teacher preparation programs at the undergraduate or fifth year licensing level, or teaching residency programs for individuals with strong academic or professional qualifications, but without teaching experience. Grantees may implement school leadership programs to train superintendents, principals, early learning program directors, and other school leaders in high-need or rural school districts.

The Obama Administration is committed to ensuring that teachers and leaders have the support they need from preparation and through their careers, and that all students have access to great teachers and leaders. Today's grant announcement is another step in realizing the Administration's commitment to support educators. Efforts over the past five years have included the administration's proposed ConnectEDucatorsprogram in the President's FY15 budget request to support teachers' efforts to learn how to make the best use of technology and digital learning materials in their classrooms; the RESPECT proposal to elevate the education profession through improved preparation and early career support, teacher leadership and development opportunities, and improved work environments; and most recently, the Department of Education announced Teach to Lead, a new initiative to ensure that teachers have the opportunity to play a critical role in the decisions that impact their classrooms and their students without leaving the classroom.

Author: 
U.S. Department of Education Press Office