What is TEALS?
TEALS (Technology Education And Literacy in Schools) is a grassroots employee driven program that recruits, mentors, and places high tech professionals who are passionate about technology literacy and computer science education into high need K-12 STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) classes as part-time teachers in a team teaching model where the school district is unable to meet those needs on its own.
Only 27% of American High Schools offer any type of computer sciences classes, and as a result, only 19,390 students in the United States took the Computer Science Advanced Placement test. This number represents 11.7% of students who took the Biology (172,512) test and 6.2% compared to Calculus (324,865). This at a time when five of the top ten fastest growing jobs will be in a computer related field and two of the top three top bachelors salaries are in computer science and engineering. This problem is more clearly defined by the ACM CSTAstudy on a policy level.
While there are curricula out there for Computer Science (CS) in K-12, the constraining factor for the proliferation of CS classes in American high schools is the lack of qualified teachers willing to take a >50% pay cut compared to an industry job. Due to the unique nature and working hours of the tech industry, it is possible for tech industry professionals to teach one period of CS before work without an impact on their professional careers.
TEALS provides schools with both curricula and highly qualified teachers for technology literacy and CS courses so that the schools can offer these courses without any training or development costs to the schools themselves. Because TEALS teachers always team teach with a school teacher, the school teachers can learn the course material and further down the line, teach some of the courses by themselves.
President Obama made it clear that “reaffirming and strengthening America’s role as the world’s engine of scientific discovery and technological innovation is essential to meeting the challenges of this century”. Yet we won’t be able to do that without computer science education in K-12. TEALS places teachers with computer science degrees in the classroom today to fuel the technological innovations of tomorrow.