Legislation Addresses Critical Need for Qualified Teachers in STEM Education
Robert Dickman, executive director of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, today issued the following statement in support of HR 5903, the "Space to Schools Act of 2010":
"On behalf of AIAA's 35,000 members, I urge the passage of HR 5903, the 'Space to Schools Act of 2010.' This legislation addresses the critical teacher shortfalls in the 'STEM' subjects of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, by encouraging veteran scientists and engineers, and other experts, to enter the classroom and help educate the next generation of scientists, engineers, mathematicians, and technology workers. The bill will provide our nation's schools with a direct infusion of qualified, motivated, and able talent.
"The recently released '2010 Survey of Aerospace Student Attitudes' conducted by Dr. Annalisa Weigel of MIT demonstrates that students become interested in engineering careers throughout their primary and secondary school years. The study reports that a primary inspiration for pursuing a STEM degree is the student's interaction with a STEM professional in the classroom. This legislation will make it possible for more students to benefit from those inspiring interactions."
The Space to Schools Act of 2010, introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives yesterday by Rep. Suzanne Kosmas (Fla.-24), creates an opportunity for former NASA employees and aerospace engineers to teach STEM subjects in grades K-12. Participants in the Space to Schools program would be required to sign a three-year contract and to take necessary classes to obtain teacher licensure in their state. The Act would provide Space to Schools participants with a $5,000 stipend to defray the costs of classes needed to obtain teaching credentials. In addition, a $5,000 bonus would be paid to participants who have earned their teaching credentials when they commit to teach in a STEM subject field for at least three years.
AIAA is the world's largest technical society dedicated to the global aerospace profession. With more than 35,000 individual members worldwide, and 90 corporate members, AIAA brings together industry, academia, and government to advance engineering and science in aviation, space, and defense. For more information, visit www.aiaa.org.