Redesigning

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ESSA Improves STEM Education in Schools

January 06, 2016
By Jarrod Whaley

The new Every Student Succeeds Act, signed into law by the president in December, signals a step forward for STEM education in our schools, and does so in a number of ways. The most visible change is increased autonomy for individual schools when it comes to designing STEM curricula, which is great--this gives teachers the ability to more carefully tune the direction of their instruction to the needs of their actual students, rather than simply meeting a list of generic criteria.

Also, as EdWeek.org explains, the bill also puts forward a new framework for advancing the skills of working teachers, allowing them to keep up with new advancements in the sciences:

[T]he law establishes dedicated federal funding for either a state-led STEM master-teacher corps or STEM professional development. President Barack Obama has been pushing for the creation of a STEM master-teacher corps for some time, and Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., has championed it. Under the law, the education secretary can create a competitive-grant program for states to attract, retain, and reward exceptional STEM teachers, especially in high-need and rural schools. The secretary could also use that funding to bolster STEM professional development.

We're excited to see how all of this pans out.