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USC Rossier rallies a national STEM commitment

By Barbara Goen Published on

President Obama’s two-tiered goal for the influx of new STEM teachers in American schools – 10,000 in two years and 100,000 in 10 years – has been taken up by an elite national partnership of some of education’s most influential leaders, including Rossier Dean Karen Symms Gallagher.

At the first meeting of the “100K in 10” partnership in January, the Dean represented the first School of Education to join with the Carnegie Corporation, the NewSchools Venture Fund, and Opportunity Equation in founding the unusual public/private collaboration to tackle the challenge. Its Blueprint for Action addresses three key goals: INCREASING THE SUPPLY of new teachers in STEM fields by both recruiting and preparing highly skilled individuals, many of whom will ultimately work in high-need schools; RETAINING EXCELLENCE in the field of STEM teaching by sharing best practices, building professional development opportunities, and recognizing and supporting excellence; and BUILDING THE MOVEMENT by finding and supporting innovative techniques, and funding appropriate preparation and training.

Over the spring, the cross-sector partnership has grown to include corporations, philanthropists, thought leaders and education practitioners from across the country. The distinguished list now includes the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), President Bill Clinton’s international effort to forge solutions to the world’s most pressing problems. At CGI’s first domestically focused conference, CGI America, held in June, Dean Gallagher and a dozen of her “100K in 10” partnership colleagues were acknowledged by the former President for their commitment to building the pipeline of STEM graduates in America. The Dean was also one of the representatives from the partnership who presented the Blueprint for Action to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and his staff members at a gathering in May.

Other members of the partnership now include the National Science Foundation, Google, the Broad Institute, the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation, Teach for America, LAUSD, National Math and Science Initiative, Denver Public Schools, EnCorps, American Museum of Natural History, Changemakers, Baltimore City Public Schools, Citizen Schools, Creative Commons, IDEA Public Schools, KIPP: Houston, New Teacher Center, The New Teacher Project, New York Hall of Science, Relay School of Education, University of Chicago, and University of Washington College of Education.

The USC Rossier School has set as its own goal to grow by 10 times the number of STEM teachers currently being prepared in the School. Rossier’s ability to achieve that growth is tied to the award-winning MAT@USC program, the online Master of Arts in Teaching, which has increased the School’s overall teacher preparation student population tenfold in less than two years. The program currently enrolls over 1600 students, with over 200 of them in STEM fields, a number that already places Rossier as one of the largest preparers of STEM teachers. USC Rossier is also home to Math for America Los Angeles, whose fellows will play a key role in meeting this commitment.

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