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Chicago Museum, University Launch Science Ed. Program

In what organizers are billing as a "first of its kind" initiative, a Chicago museum and university are teaming up to offer a new teacher-training program in science that aims to address the need for better qualified science instructors in local schools.

The partnership will seize on the individual strengths of the Museum of Science and Industry and the Illinois Institute of Technology, says a press release on the plans. The program will lead to the awarding of a master of science education degree or a middle-school science endorsement, with candidates attending classes both at the museum and the university.

The announcement notes that in Chicago, more than 70 percent of middle-school science teachers lack a degree or endorsement in science.

"Without the content and teaching strategies, research confirms that these teachers are left at a disadvantage to create the next generation of scientists and engineers," David Mosena, the president and chief executive officer of the science museum, said in the news release. "Every child should have the opportunity to achieve their full potential in science and technology from well-qualified science teachers, and this ground-breaking partnership serves teachers whose students are most in need of improved science instruction."

Through the courses at the science museum, candidates will develop a broad background in science that aligns with national science standards and local curricula, the announcement says. Meanwhile, the Illinois Institute of Technology's "research in the effective delivery of science content and classroom instructional practices" will provide a foundation for the program's structure and approach. The institute will also provide required courses on curriculum and adolescent psychology.

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