Noting that for decades academic achievement among math and science students has been "losing ground" in the U.S., the president said that around the world "there is a hunger for knowledge, an insistence on excellence, a reverence for science and math and technology and learning. That used to be what we were about," he said. "That's what we're going to be about again."
The president also announced an annual science fair at the White House for the winners of national science and tech competitions. Since the NCAA athletics champs get to visit, so too should the nation's mathletes. "Scientists and engineers ought to stand side-by-side with athletes and entertainers as role models," Obama said. The genius inventors still in high school we featured earlier this year are surely taking note.
The initiative, dubbed Educate to Innovate, is kicking-off with five public-private partnerships that will be, according to the White House, worth more than $260 million in funding and in-kind support from a variety of companies and organizations:
• Time Warner Cable, FIRST Robotics, and the Coalition for Science After School have established the website connectamillionminds.com to help kids and parents find after-school activities in science, tech, engineering and math.
• Discovery Communications, along with partner universities and federal agencies will, among other things, be devoting a block of commercial-free kids programming on Discovery's Science Channel.
• Sesame Street is in the midst of the first of two seasons that will focus on science and math.
• A National Lab Day that musters the on-going help of groups and individuals across scientific realms to support teachers' projects in the classroom. Funded in part by the Hidary Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and others, the White House said the effort aims over the next four years to impact 100,000 teachers and 10 million students.
• The MacArthur Foundation, Sony, the Entertainment Software Association and others in the industry will be holding competitions for the design of free videogames that target math and science, including one that's open only to kids.
We previously looked at a New York City public school that incorporates LittleBigPlanet and other games as part of its learning curriculum, and so seeing video games take a more prominent role in national science education sounds like an intriguing step.
After his speech, two students from a school in nearby Vienna, Va., showed the President a robot they'd built in six weeks, designed to pick up and lob moon rocks. Obama said he was interested in seeing the demo, given the ability of robotics to inspire young minds. "I also want to keep an eye on those robots," he said, "in case they try anything."
Wow obama trying to solve another problem with money, what happend to change?
I think as long as US schools value sports more than science and technology, all other attempts are bound to fail.
ask the gov't who are giving out work visas, and companies who import cheap engineers & scientists from 3rd world countries.
about why science and technology aren't attractive to kids anymore, why go into that field when Americans are less like to get hired and for a reasonable amount of salary.
...because science, mathematics, and technology is the future of the human race....currency need's to be thrown out the window on planet earth...and we should become a species that's more science and research driven, and less greedy, violent, and money driven.
The change for the US is that it will be the country that makes cheap TV's for europe!
as much as I agree with you, that would be asking 30 billion people to go against millions of years of evolution
I dislike President Obama, but I support this effort -- although the money is peanuts. It could at least give some prestige to 'geeks'.
Another positve step might be to stop federal requirements for diversity and other PC subjects to be taught in schools -- could allow the teachers time to teach a little science.
There are a lot of other contributing factors, it's a complex problem. Strangely, it doesn't really seem to relate to salary. Engineering salaries can be pretty decent, but the educational requirements are stiff. Doesn't seem to be a popular major.
Why would anyone complain about putting more money into our education system? We have students using outdated books and having to pay to ride the bus. We think of ourselves as this great country but we don't even provide our schools with the funding they need to educate our children.
Who complains about trying to fund our childrens future? These kids may be the generation that finds a cure to cancer or any other major disease. We have a President that was handed a country that was going down the toilet. He is trying to save the big companies that employ the majority of our citizens. Yes the companies may be a part of why we are where we are, but not every employee there took part in it. Do innocent people deserve to lose their jobs because their executive officers were greedy idiots??
Our children are our future and the only way we are going to stay a country is if their parents have a job to provide for them, and they are able to get an education to live off of later. We are moving to an age of science and technology, not that we haven't always been to some extent, and without those two areas we are going to fail as a country and possibly even as a species if everyone starts having that mentality. New discoveries, at this point, are only going to come from people with a vast knowledge of science and technology. The simple stuff like the wheel have already been invented. Knowledge is power and sometimes that takes money!
Did any of you actually read or listen to what the President said? The administration is not throwing money at a problem. In fact they are not spending anything on this initiative. Instead, they have reached out and asked scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs, and corporate leaders around the country to volunteer their time and talents to improve science and engineering education. To the credit of America, many have answered that call an agreed to step forward to support this initiative. Behind all of this is and will be a lot of hard work by VOLUNTEERS. Although some companies and foundations have chosen to commit financial resources to support their efforts it is the VOLUNTEERS that will make this fail or succeed.
Whats the point of pumping money into a failed education system? We need a complete overhaul on education more than anything else in this country. Our public schools waste so much money trying to comply with regulations, no child left behind and an inability to deal with trouble makers or punish poor students- or send them to trade schools where they belong.
Since our government won't support it, lets just hope more and more people can afford to send their kids to private schools where they all belong.
Also does Obama not realize that we're in a recession? During times like these when you propose spending $260 mil, you have to show specifically how that money will be used and recovered. Otherwise your just gonna see money pumped into schools so they can pay their principals and superintendents without forcing any responsibility upon them -- just like the wallstreet bailout.
You know what's cheaper, and pretty effective? How about we ignore the parents' egos and teach to the intelligence level of the students?
I know it sounds extreme - but then the students who aren't having trouble with (for example) math or reading can be challenged instead of bored, and students who are having trouble get the help they need without feeling frustrated or dumb!
Also, what's the consensus on performance reviews for educators? The rest of the professional world's jobs hang on performance reviews....
I know I'm not a professional educator (just a calc TA) but it makes sense to me...
When everyone is treated equally, nobody is.
lol this is a good idea but obama sucks, america sucks, beer sucks, and new york is dangerous
Ah, but America sucks less than all the other sucky places that make their living being sucky and waiting for America to send them money to de-suck themselves for a short while and to then consequently re-suck themselves because we reward bad sucky behavior by sending money every time they suck.
You may think this post sucks, if you wish to prove your own suckyness and obama's suckyness and new yorks suckyness fest.
But beer my friend does not suck. At least for the time being, until they tax it to 10$ a bottle and regulate its content to be healthy for you, soy beer na perhaps.
@infinitychic36. I couldn't agree with you more. Identifying the learning ability/style (ie; auditory, visual, kinesthetic) and interests at an early age and building upon those skills would make way more sense.
I hope that Obama will continue to support science & technology more than any earlier president. I hope that this “New initiative” is just a beginning. I hope that Obama with those initiatives will be initiator toward AWARENESS.
I’m not anti sport, magic, faith, etc. but if you love football than simply play it. Don’t be fooled by paying and watching others playing it. Enjoy magic tricks from the magician and nice stories from church but please don’t believe them. If you like stories than simply watch movies where Hollywood spend billions of dollars. Don’t be fooled with horoscope, magician, shaman, priest, church, etc.
I wish the White House and educators country-wide the best of luck in these highly important and noble goals but a few ‘special days’ and some cable TV commitments will not turn around the staggeringly disastrous downward trend in science education in America. Only through a strongly funded, and highly focused change in the basic approach to science and math education will we ever be able to reverse this trend towards apathy.
Respect the President for a huge effort in moving Education forward.
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