Teaching STEM

2018 to See More Emergency Hiring to Cover STEM Teacher Gap

2018 to See More Emergency Hiring to Cover STEM Teacher Gap

It's five years into the launch of 100Kin10, the organization that's focused on getting 100,000 K-12 teachers prepared to teach on science, technology, engineering and math topics in the nation's schools. Right now, the non-profit has hit slightly more than 40 percent of its goal with five years to go. Recently, the organization offered several predictions for the new year, which included an emphasis on school culture, the use of "emergency credentials" to fill STEM hiring gaps and more political engagement to make sure the current administration doesn't forsake a national interest in science altogether.

According to 100Kin10, the "highest-leverage root causes" for the current STEM teacher shortage are linked to school culture and, in particular, to the culture of professional development, collaboration and accountability. According to a teacher survey, 69 percent of respondents said their principals give "little to no time for them to collaborate and learn from other STEM teachers in their school or district." Lately, however, the organization has seen a shift with a renewed emphasis on "making schools great places to work." That includes principals supporting STEM and giving teachers the time they need to work with other STEM educators.

Calling it an "old strategy," 100Kin10 is also watching as lawmakers increasingly turn to legislation to streamline emergency credentialing of teachers to address crisis-level teacher shortages. In Virginia, for example, the governor turned to executive directive to allow state colleges and universities, which have previously only offered graduate level teaching degrees, to offer undergraduate majors in teaching too. And a bill up for consideration in Illinois would allow undergrads in education programs and possessing at least 90 college credit hours to serve as substitute teachers. "We're expecting to see more action around this in 2018," predicted the organization.

100Kin10 believes that more teachers will come down on the side of science in 2018. While most teachers tend to avoid political activities, according to the organization, that's shifting as "educational leaders of all stripes become more active in policy and politics in support of STEM education."

Finally, the organization expects to see continued interest in growth mindset as way to strive for continuous improvement. Typically, the concept is applied to students; but in the past year, the report noted, educators have immersed themselves in the world of "improvement science" through 100Kin10's Networked Improvement Communities, which connects them to corporate patrons and volunteers.

The full report, which includes an assessment of the organization 2017 predictions, appears on the 100Kin10 website.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.