California State University has announced grants of more than $10 million to expand a program on 11 campuses that prepares K-8 teachers for implementing the state’s new math and science standards.
The Next Generation Science Standards are being put into place as part of the new Common Core approach to public education, challenging students to think more deeply about the subjects they are required to study. It is being phased in over several years across the nation. The overhaul is also intended to satisfy the growing demands for science and math skills and meet the knowledge requirements of colleges and the workplace.
The Bechtel grants range in size from $600,000 to $1.2 million and were awarded to CSU campuses in Bakersfield, Channel Islands, Chico, Dominguez Hills, Fresno, Fullerton, Long Beach, Monterey Bay, Sacramento, San Luis Obispo and Stanislaus.
The initiative comes as California educators deal with a longstanding challenge to tackle a critical teacher shortage in the STEM — or science, technology, engineering and math — fields. The number of math and science teacher credentials in California continues to decline, a problem other states also are grappling with, according to figures released in May by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing.
Loren Blanchard, CSU executive vice chancellor for academic and student affairs, said in a statement that the program is designed to make classroom learning relevant and engaging.
“For California and the nation to continue leading in the world’s key economic sectors, we must continue to ensure our teachers are equipped with the latest teaching strategies that support high standards, innovation, and creativity,” Blanchard said.
The grants will help CSU continue to expand its collaboration with school districts to ensure K-8 students receive “the highest quality instruction for college and career readiness,” he added.