Strategic scholarships

Gathering Storm

 

I don’t think anyone would argue with the recommendations made by the committee or disagree with their potential benefit to the nation both as an economic power and a leader in technological innovation. However, I think that these recommendations should also be married with a dose of strategic thinking. For example, in regard to the recommendation to scholarship 10,000 teachers per year, not only should these students receive scholarships but they should also be directed to particular schools (both urban and rural) based on need.

Additionally there should be a grade level specific roll out to this teacher scholarship initiative. Elementary schools should receive the bulk of these scholarship teachers first so that the ground work for scientific thinking and inquiry can be laid immediately. If this initiative is truly geared toward ensuring the long term technological leadership of the country, the teachers should be recruited and assigned accordingly.

These teachers should also be expected in their fourth and fifth years of teaching at their assigned schools to help build instructional capacity at that school. They should be used in mentor rolls for new and existing teachers to help develop and/or maintain a culture of scientific inquiry among the students at that school.

Finally these scholarship teachers should be given the option of free advanced education (Masters and/or Doctorate degrees) if they sign on for additional teaching commitments. One of the issues with teaching (and science, math, and technology teachers are no different) is it takes 10 years to develop expert teaching behavior and yet most individuals leave the field after five. If we can incentivize these teachers to stay, we can enhance the level of science instruction in schools over the long term instead of just flooding the field with new science teachers on an annual basis.

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