I am excited anytime I hear others taking an interest in STEM. I believe that science, technology, engineering, and math are key in understanding how the world works. If you’re going to solve problems, then you need a great foundation in STEM. This morning, I started hearing about the White House plan to start a STEM Master Teacher Corp. By this afternoon, there was a Twitter chat. Now? I’ve been reading articles like this to try to understand the program.
What’s missing here? At first glance, I see that it’s a program to pay teachers to be mentors. I see that it’s going to target ‘high-need’ schools. Makes sense. But the questions I am left with are many:
How is this program going to ensure that teaching is transformed from ‘teaching to the test’ to authentic, hands on, real world experiences?
How will the damage of ‘teaching to the test’ that’s been done in schools, training of America’s teachers, and forced practically everyone in education to ‘pass a test’ by focusing on fact based teaching ever be repaired?
Will the focus on current standardized testing be slowly transformed into focusing on more formative assessment as the school level so that authentic learning can happen more naturally?
Will the mentors be trained in inquiry based learning so that the content in classrooms is taught through authentic experiences, projects, and connections rather than textbooks, facts, and memorization?
My eyes and ears are open. I truly hope change is on the horizon. But, until I hear more details, I have lots of questions.