Putting the “E” in STEM during National Engineering Week

Duncan at Google Headquarters

Official Department of Education photo by Leslie Wiliams

To celebrate National Engineering Week, and to highlight the need for highly skilled science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) teachers, Arne stopped by the launch of the new public-private partnership 100Kin10. The 100Kin10 initiative is working to help meet President Obama’s goal of recruiting and training 100,000 world-class STEM teachers within 10 years.

Duncan pointed out at the launch that there is a chronic shortage of highly skilled STEM teachers in our schools, particularly in hard to staff schools like rural and poor urban areas. The problem will only get worse as the baby boomer generation begins to retire over the next decade, making the need to fix the pipeline for recruiting high-quality STEM teachers.

Following the event, Duncan noted on Twitter that the 100Kin10 initiative is “a public/private partnership at its best.” Investments like those made by 100Kin10, work side-by-side with stepped-up efforts by the Obama Administration to achieve the President’s goal. In the Administration’s recent 2013 budget proposal, ED is seeking to work with Congress for:

    • $80 million for an Effective Teachers and Leaders program
    • $2.5 billion for a competitive fund that will prepare highly-qualified STEM teachers
    • $5 billion for RESPECT, a funding program for states and districts to pursue reforms that better prepare, support and compensate teachers

Read more about the 2013 budget, and click here to find out more about 100Kin10.


  1. Many substitute teachers have considerable backgrounds in STEM fields but are seldom recognized or properly compensated for their contributions.

    Often their views are discarded when they lack certifications despite their specialized engineering and science skills or talents.

  2. If push comes to shove, there is a fallback to stemming the chronic shortage of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) teachers. Remove the public in the public-private partnership. This would free the private sector to meet the chronic supply shortage. Free markets would quickly learn to correct the chronic shortage of STEM teachers if the market needs their product.

  3. Being creative and encouraging other to step outside of the box has been a lifelong goal. Stepping out of the box is producing art at an individualized level initiated by STEM. Students use their abilities and skills to create artifacts or manufactured goods or products, or inventions by using the ā€œEā€ in STEM. Art is the result of engineering.

  4. I am an author and a early childhood education college professor of 30 years. I have studied early childhood education in five countries. I am not opposed to all the early literacy emphasis but it has really left out the STEM and STEAM (STEM with ARTS) in public education and preschools. I have written a book called Blocks and Beyond: Strengthening Early Math and Science through Spatial Learning to show that spatial and geometric knowledge is the largest predictor of people who go into the STEM fields and yet the emphasis is in the different direction in our early chilhood programs. I would like to talk to your group about this. Please check out the book from Brookes Publishing Company. I would also like to implement the ideas in school systems where all blocks have been taken out of kindergarten and replaced with books. We are shooting ourselves in the foot with the overemphasis in early literacy.

    • I could not agree with you more Mary – Have you developed a curriculum and if so what age group and where can one find your work? I live in Baltimore, md. I am also looking for a STEAM focused curriculum for early childhood education, that focuses on play as a legitimate way of learning new skills and expanding on old ones. Sometimes i get very discouraged by the direction of our education system today. After-school programs that are “academic focused”, driven by the funders need instead of the children’s. Schools that are teaching to the test instead of focusing on higher level thinking skills – parents buying into the “academic craze” because they believe what they are told…

    • Mary Jo,
      I’m working with an early childhood center that has a STEM literacy focus and is part of a district STEM pipeline including the ECE, three ESs, 2 MSs, and 1 HS. This is a new idea for the campus and I’m actively seeking resources to help support their efforts. Thank you for the recommendation!

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