ERIC Number: EJ938890
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Sep
Reference Count: N/A
Slow off the Mark: Elementary School Teachers and the Crisis in STEM Education
Epstein, Diana; Miller, Raegen T.
Education Digest: Essential Readings Condensed for Quick Review, v77 n1 p4-10 Sep 2011
Prospective teachers can typically obtain a license to teach elementary school without taking a rigorous college-level STEM class such as calculus, statistics, or chemistry, and without demonstrating a solid grasp of mathematics knowledge, scientific knowledge, or the nature of scientific inquiry. This is not a recipe for ensuring students have successful early experiences with math and science, or for generating the curiosity and confidence in these topics that students need to pursue careers in STEM fields. To improve STEM learning, it is important to strengthen the selection, preparation, and licensure of elementary school teachers. Higher standards for selection are needed into teacher preparation programs that include demonstrated proficiency in math and science at a level far higher than current teacher candidates. Elementary grade teacher preparation programs must include more--and more rigorous--math and science courses in both content and pedagogy, and teacher candidates must perform in these courses at the high levels. Furthermore, states must strengthen their licensure requirements so that teachers cannot obtain a license without passing the math and science sections of the exams. Recommendations for improving global competitiveness and strengthening elementary school teachers in math and science are offered.
Descriptors: Preservice Teacher Education, Elementary School Teachers, STEM Education, Teacher Education, Preservice Teachers, Teacher Education Programs, Mathematics Instruction, Science Instruction, Elementary School Mathematics, Elementary School Science, Science Curriculum, Mathematics Curriculum, Academic Achievement, Science Education, Mathematics Education, Teacher Certification
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Education; Elementary Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: National Assessment of Educational Progress; Program for International Student Assessment