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Sen. Franken Introduces Legislation to Promote Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Education

Legislation Will Enhance Minnesota’s Global Competitiveness by Investing in a STEM Master Teacher Corps

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Today, U.S. Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) re-introduced legislation that will help prepare Minnesota students for jobs in today's economy by investing in educators that teach science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) curriculum. Sen. Franken's STEM Master Teacher Corps Act would boost STEM teacher pay and help improve career advancement opportunities.

"As I travel across Minnesota, one thing I consistently hear from our high-tech businesses is that our students need to be ready to fill the jobs that will be waiting for them when they graduate," said Sen. Franken. "It's critical to invest in STEM education, but we also need to make sure we're getting the best return on that investment. Creating a STEM Master Teacher Corps will help ensure that our students are equipped with the skills they need by giving new STEM teachers role models to look up to and get advice from. At the same time, it will give more experienced and effective teachers support, advancement opportunities and recognition of their hard work."

In his State of the Union address, President Obama stressed the importance of STEM education to help give students "the skills today's employers are looking for to fill jobs right now and in the future." Sen. Franken's bill, the STEM Master Teacher Corps Act, will help achieve that goal by establishing a STEM Master Teacher Corps for top STEM K-12 teachers. These master teachers would mentor beginning or less effective teachers, in addition to networking with one another and sharing best practices and classroom resources. Master teachers would also be compensated for their teaching skills and new leadership roles.

Sen. Franken's bill, first introduced in 2011, has been endorsed by more than 55 national and regional groups, a wide range of organizations from the National Education Association and American Federation of Teachers to LifeScience Alley and the Science Museum of Minnesota. The bill was also endorsed by leading Minnesota employers like 3M. His re-introduced bill is cosponsored by Sens. Patty Murray (D-WA), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Tim Johnson (D-SD), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).

According to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED), 16 out of the 20 fastest growing occupations will be tied to STEM disciplines, and economic forecasts project that scientific and technical occupations in Minnesota will increase by at least twice the average growth rate over the next ten years.

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