JOHNSON CITY, TN
U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander today visited East Tennessee State University’s (ETSU) Center of Excellence in Mathematics and Science Education to learn more about a new collaboration with Eastman Chemical Co. to provide innovative summer training for area math teachers. The ETSU/Eastman summer academy will offer professional development for 54 teachers from across the state, followed by extensive development and training activities for the participants throughout the academic year.
“This program is a perfect example of what America needs to be doing to provide our children with the math and science skills they will need to keep our competitive edge in the global economy of the 21st Century,” Alexander said. “To expand such opportunities across Tennessee and the country, Congress should pass competitiveness legislation this year.”
A year ago, Alexander joined senators Pete Domenici (R-NM), Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) and Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) in introducing the Protecting America’s Competitive Edge Acts, which they plan to improve and re-introduce before the end of the month. In Tennessee, the legislation would provide:
oScholarships for Future Tennessee Math & Science Teachers:
Each year, bright Tennesseans would receive four-year scholarships to earn a bachelor’s degree in science, technology, engineering or math, while concurrently earning teacher certification. The new teachers would be expected to teach in poorer schools for at least the first few years after graduation.
oSummer Academies for Tennessee Math & Science Teachers:
Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and universities across the state would host one-week to two-week summer academies for hundreds of Tennessee math and science teachers.
oAP Training for 400 Tennessee Math & Science Teachers:
The bill would provide training and support for 400 Tennessee teachers in high-need schools to teach Advanced Placement (AP) classes or pre-AP classes.
oSupport for a Proposed Math & Science Specialty High School:
The state of Tennessee would be eligible to partner with ORNL for financial and expert assistance in teaching at a new residential high school specializing in math and science that students from across the state would be eligible to attend.
oHigh-Tech Internships for Tennessee Middle and High School Students:
The bill would provide unique internship and program opportunities for Tennessee middle and high school students at ORNL, the UT Health Science Center in Memphis, and other technology and scientific research facilities across the state.
oGrowing Tennessee-based Research to Produce New High-Tech Jobs:
The bill would increase research and development spending by about 10 percent per year for five years at several federal agencies, thereby creating hundreds of new research jobs at Tennessee research institutions like the ORNL, UT and Vanderbilt. This investment could generate dozens of new high-tech companies in Tennessee over the course of the next decade.
At ETSU Eastman is investing more than $1 million over the next five to seven years, which will provide each teacher with a $600 stipend, $700 in school math supplies, and $1,000 in college tuition fees -- a total commitment of $2,300 per teacher.