In 2011, the 82nd Texas Legislature passed House Bill 2910, codified as Texas Education Code Sections 61.9791 through 61.9795, to address the state’s need for increases in the number of students pursuing and graduating from Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) programs. It is therefore critical to develop a greater number of better prepared public school teachers in the STEM content areas.
The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board’s (THECB) Accelerated Plan for Closing the Gaps by 2015 emphasizes the critical role of P-12 teachers in preparing students for higher education. This plan not only focuses on teacher certificate production, but also on teacher effectiveness and increasing support and funding for collaborative efforts that promote the implementation of best/promising practices in preparing effective teachers, especially in STEM shortage areas.
Following a competitive RFA process, THECB awarded grants to three grantees to establish one or more STEM Center for Teacher Professional Learning to support development and delivery of faculty-led professional learning for in-service Texas K-12 STEM teachers and mid-career degreed individuals who have made a commitment to prepare and become certified as a Texas teacher in a STEM course area.
In addition, grantees and the funded STEM Centers for Teacher Professional Learning coordinate related statewide research, serve as experts in related policy development efforts and provide the necessary tools and support for educator preparation programs to plan and implement a successful and balanced STEM teacher preparation curriculum. Efforts includes an emphasis on serving diverse and economically disadvantaged student populations.
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