Time to STEM the tide

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You can’t teach what you don’t know -- that’s what makes teacher prep critical. Yet when it comes to science and mathematics (STEM), very few elementary teacher candidates are required to complete coursework ensuring they are knowledgeable.

The findings from the Elementary Mathematics and Elementary Content standards in Teacher Prep Review 2014 paint a grim picture of STEM prep. The table below identifies program results based on our analysis of elementary programs requirements with regards to both basic science and elementary math coursework:

Only three out of 907 programs (0.3 percent) require teacher candidates to complete basic science courses (including labs) in biology, chemistry, and physics, and also require a sufficient amount of elementary mathematics content coursework.

Nearly 50 percent of programs require little to no basic STEM coursework, no doubt a contributing factor to the conditions that are leading the US to fall further behind internationally in STEM.