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Exploring Opportunities for STEM Teacher Leadership: Summary of a Convocation

Many national initiatives in K-12 science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education have emphasized the connections between teachers and improved student learning. Much of the discussion surrounding these initiatives has focused on the preparation, professional development, evaluation, compensation, and career advancement of teachers. Yet one critical set of voices has been largely missing from this discussion— that of classroom teachers themselves (Berry, 2011).

To explore the potential for STEM teacher leaders to improve student learning through involvement in education policy and decision making, the National Research Council (NRC) held a convocation on June 5–6, 2014, in Washington, DC, entitled “One Year After Science’s Grand Challenges in Education: Professional Leadership of STEM Teachers Through Education Policy and Decision Making." It was structured around a special issue of Science magazine that discussed 20 grand challenges in science education (Alberts, 2013). The authors of three major articles in that issue—along with Dr. Bruce Alberts, Science’s editor-in-chief at the time—spoke at the convocation, updating their earlier observations and applying them directly to the issue of STEM teacher leadership.