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Putting The M In STEM: Elementary School Content Licenses

The first part of HB 1399 would create a math specialist license for experienced educators to earn.

A greater push for STEM education is setting the tone for many of this year’s legislative agendas, and part of that push is a bill in the House that would make it possible for elementary school teachers to earn a special license in math.

Ball State University professor Sheryl Stump says it’s an incentive for educators to learn more about and better teach the subject.

“According to the needs and plans of their school districts, they could continue to work primarily with students, or they could work as mathematics coaches or teacher leaders,” she says.

The first part of HB 1399 would create a math specialist license for experienced educators to earn, and Stump says it would benefit teachers by giving them credit for additional professional development in math.

“I am hopeful now with the bill before us, because it offers recognition for experienced teachers who have invested in the process of developing their knowledge and leadership skills,” Stump says.

Stump also says the new license could even open the door to discussions about pay raises, because some schools offer more pay to math coaches.

The second part would create a math and science specific option for new teachers, which was met with skepticism at the bill’s hearing.

It would create a math and science specific license for new elementary teachers, but that could get in the way of those new teachers also earning a generalist certification. Some people say the specific license might not be as useful in an elementary school setting.

The committee approved the bill unanimously.

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