From the maybe-they're-just-trying-to-make-nice-with-government-regulators-but-who-cares-about-their-motivations department, Intel announced today that it was partnering with President Obama's Innovate to Educate program to the tune of $200 million in teacher training initiatives over the next three years. This is part of $250 million in total private sector investments in STEM training and development announced by the Obama administration today.
According to Intel's press release,
As part of its $200 million commitment, Intel will provide training to more than 100,000 U.S. math and science teachers over the next 3 years, including an intensive 80-hour professional development math course for elementary school teachers and new Web-based instruction and collaboration tools including targeted professional development for science teachers of all grades. Currently, this teacher training is available in just four states. The content and materials will now be available to school districts in all 50 states at no cost
Intel reaffirmed its commitment to the "Intel Science Talent Search and the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, which reach 600,000 American students per year."
The administration's press release provides additional details about the Innovate to Educate program and the urgency of improving STEM education:
A substantial teacher shortage in STEM field exists today...Overall, up to one million teachers will need to be recruited over the next five years, and vacancies in math and science are often among the hardest to fill. This is why, as part of his commitment to raise America from the middle to the top of the pack internationally in STEM achievement over the next decade, President Obama challenged governors, philanthropists, scientists, engineers, educators, and the private sector to join with him in a national campaign to find innovative new ways to recruit, train, reward, and retain teachers
Will it be enough? Probably not, but this is the first time in a long time that we've seen real movement at the federal level, combined with massive input from the private sector, acknowledging and addressing the needs of US education in science, technology, engineering, and math. As Intel notes,
At Intel, it is commonly said that computers aren’t magic, teachers are. And that’s why Intel continues to provide teachers with the knowledge, tools and resources they need to help their students excel in math and science and succeed in an innovation-driven society.