Teachers play a critical role in sparking a love of science in students. But teacher and school leadership education programs are outdated and in need of improvement. This is why today, the Amgen Foundation is announcing a 5-year, $3 million commitment to support the creation of the Amgen Biology Teacher Education Program, a key component of the new Woodrow Wilson Academy for Teaching and Learning (WW Academy) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
Through the WW Academy, two world-class organizations—the Woodrow Wilson Foundation and MIT—are teaming up to transform teacher education and school leader policy and practice nationally. As part of the larger WW Academy, the Amgen Biology Teacher Education Program will offer cutting-edge, competency-based teacher education for the life sciences at the secondary school level.
"Teacher quality matters," says Eduardo Cetlin, president, Amgen Foundation. "Today’s global economy requires innovative, evidence-based approaches to develop the strongest teachers, particularly in rapidly evolving scientific fields."
The WW Academy intends to be the education equivalent of the former Bell Labs. Through controlled experiments on its own activities, the WW Academy will serve as a laboratory for exploring what works and why in teacher and school leadership education. Additionally, as an education school, the WW Academy will focus on preparing the best of the best for long and distinguished careers as educators.
The United States faces nothing short of a crisis in our education system. In a study of 15 year olds in 32 countries, students in 16 countries scored significantly higher1 than U.S. students in science literacy. This comes at a crucial time, when most states face teacher shortages in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, also known as STEM. With up to half of all teachers leaving the classroom within the first five years – many because of lack of preparation and support – preparing and retaining STEM teachers is essential.
The Amgen Biology Teacher Education Program will support graduates of the WW Academy to have both the subject mastery and practical preparation for classrooms, all tailored to their specific skills and focused on real-world outcomes.
Amgen was founded with the ambition to unlock the power of biology to improve the lives of patients. The company’s philanthropic investments have a similarly daunting ambition: inspiring the next generation of innovators to ensure science and innovation continues to thrive. It is for this reason the company has committed more than $100 million to-date to support science education globally.
"We're proud to support the WW Academy in creating the new Amgen Biology Teacher Education Program, with the ultimate goal of inspiring the next generation to harness science and innovation to dramatically improve lives," says Cetlin.