Mary Urquhart and
Kendra M. Bober
The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board Teacher Quality Grants, supported through No Child Left Behind, are intended to ensure that secondary teachers of specific subjects are "highly qualified". Now in their third year, these grants have done much to shape long-term professional development for teachers in the physical sciences at the University of Texas at Dallas (UTD). The grants have also created a suite of challenges and benefits for the UTD Science Education M.A.T. program. Teacher Quality Grants are based on the No Child Left Behind framework that requires teachers to be "highly qualified" as defined by the state. Recruitment is required to be targeted at teachers who are uncertified or teach one or more classes out of their content area and who work in high needs local school districts. Many of the students brought into our program through these grants have incoming content knowledge in physics similar to that typical of undergraduate non-majors, and a large percentage are uncomfortable with basic mathematics as well. How and what we teach has been dramatically impacted by the Teacher Quality Grants, as have our assessments and evaluations. An ongoing challenge has been to implement a Physics Education Research (PER)-based course design while meeting the specific requirements of the Teacher Quality Grant program. The Teacher Quality Grants have also provided a great deal of opportunity to new and existing teachers in our program. A barrier to our teachers, rising tuition costs, has been removed and as a result a mandate has become a doorway of opportunity for physical science teachers.
Published February 14, 2006
Last Modified July 9, 2013
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