Arizona Launches Program To Get More Teachers Into STEM Fields

Published: Thursday, July 27, 2017 - 4:03pm
Updated: Friday, July 28, 2017 - 3:15pm
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The latest numbers show Arizona is still in the midst of a dire shortage of teachers in our classrooms. A recent report from the Morrison Institute at ASU showed 74 percent of Arizona school administrators said their campuses don’t have enough teachers.

Now the Department of Education is starting a pilot program that aims to help current teachers here get certified to transfer into high-need fields. The High Quality Teacher Professional Development Pilot Program is accepting applications now for teachers who want to get up to $2,000 for training at an accredited post secondary institution.

This started with a bill that passed through the state Legislature last year.

That bill was introduced last session by Sylvia Allen, and it allocated $300,000 to fund professional development programs for public school teachers in our state to get additional certifications in high need areas, like science information and technology — or those all-important STEM fields — as well as in career and technical education.

The money does come with strings attached, though, teachers who get it are required to teach in an Arizona public school for three years, or they’ll have to pay back the money.

I went down to the Department of Education to find out more about this, and I sat down with Alexis Susdorf, senior policy analyst with the Department. She saw this bill through the process at the Legislature and has been involved in the implementation of the new program.

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