In 2011, the US Department of Education hung out a Help Wanted sign for teachers in science, technology, engineering and math, and any related field. At the time, they were looking to fill 100,000 positions, nationwide.
A hundred thousand open positions. A hundred thousand needed teachers in the American school system.
For scale, let it be noted that as of 2010, there were 98,817 public schools in the United States, according to the National Center for Education statistics. So we as a country were short more than one STEM teacher per school. It’s no exaggeration to call that a heinous lack. Especially when all signs indicate that STEM-based jobs are going to be the driving force of the global economy for the foreseeable future. A shortage of teachers means a shortage of opportunities for talented and invested students.
So in 2011, a New York nonprofit was born. Originally 28 corporations, schools, and nonprofits working in yoke, 100Kin10 has grown to more than 230 partners, including AT&T, Lockheed Martin, and the American Museum of Natural History.
If the name’s not a hint, 100Kin10‘s goal is to train and place that missing 100,000 new STEM teachers in a single decade. Founded by law student Talia Milgrom-Elcott, they target adults already in the fields who want to switch to teaching.
In four years, they have placed 28,000 teachers, mostly through programs that train them in partnerships with elementary schools. Candidates work under close supervision for nine months or more before becoming teachers-in-training, and receive financial help in studying for their full certification at partner colleges.
Four years in, they are only at 28% of their goal, but Milgrom-Elcott says that things seem to be accelerating. “I’m optimistic that we’re building the momentum to get us there.”