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Rewarding the Best

US President Barack Obama has announced a new program to reward the best elementary and secondary school science and math teachers with a $20,000 salary bonus, reports ScienceInsider's Jeffrey Mervis. The new program, named the Master Teachers Corps, would require "elite" STEM teachers to mentor other teachers and work with different organizations to improve math and science education, Mervis says. The president said he wants to start with 2,500 teachers and gradually work to up to 10,000 teachers over the next four years, with each teacher serving a term of five years.

However, it seems unlikely that Congress will approve the funding necessary for this program in 2013, Mervis says. "Funding for the master teacher program is contingent on the Department of Education receiving its full request for a broader, $5 billion initiative in its 2013 budget called the RESPECT (Recognizing Educational Success, Professional Excellence, and Collaborative Teaching) project," he adds. The 2013 budget has not yet been finalized, but the House of Representatives committee responsible for funding education recently released an appropriations bill for 2013 that contains no mention of any money for the RESPECT initiative, Mervis says. "The panel also zeroed out a request for $150 million for a new program that the Administration had proposed as a successor to the department's Math and Science Partnerships, which gave grants to school districts to improve science and math instruction," he adds.