The roots of success in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) are put down in the elementary grades. Children are capable of grasping fairly sophisticated math concepts, but they need teachers who have deep knowledge of math and training in how to teach the subject. Otherwise, elementary students only get a procedural understanding of how to solve problems -- which won't be enough to get them ready for algebra or trigonometry, let alone 21st century careers.
It all comes back to making sure that our elementary teachers have the math skills they need to help their students achieve. Teacher prep programs at these eight institutions are doing an outstanding job in ensuring their candidates have what it takes.
Strong Design Designees
University of Utah -- Candidates practice teaching math in the same courses in which they master the content.
University of Wyoming -- Candidates take seminars in instructional methods at the same time they take math courses.
Not resting on their laurels
These selective institutions don't assume that their elementary candidates already know the math they need. They insist that their candidates take the equivalent of three semester-long math content courses.
University of Maryland-College Park
Louisiana State University
A grad program of note
Ohio State University -- Before they can even enter Ohio State University's elementary teacher prep program, candidates have to take three specialized math courses. Once they're in, candidates also have to take a course in how to teach math. (Ohio State University has the overall top elementary teacher prep program in the country and one of the strongest secondary prep programs as well.)
Strong math prep for teachers of kids with special needs
Kids identified as needing special education services can achieve at high levels if they have well trained teachers. That's why the preparation in math that these two programs give their special education teacher candidates is so commendable.
Keene State College (New Hampshire)
Vicennes University (Indiana)