On Wednesday, President Obama revealed a new plan to improve instruction in mathematics and science. The partnership is part of the Obama administration’s “Educate to Innovate” campaign, a program announced in November that seeks to join government agencies, businesses, and universities in efforts to improve math and science education. The $250 million campaign aims to help the nation compete within the global marketplace in key STEM fields by training new math and science teachers and marshalling agencies such as NASA, the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Education Department to accomplish this objective. According to the article below in the Washington Post:
â€œBusiness and government leaders have sounded alarms over science and math education in recent years as concern has mounted that the United States may be losing the technological edge that fueled its economy in the 20th century. The nation’s universities are still known as world leaders, but the performance of its K-12 schools has come under scrutiny.â€ An international math test in the year 2007 revealed that:
â€¢ U.S. fourth-graders trailed their counterparts in some areas of Europe and Asia.
â€¢ U.S. eighth-graders lagged behind those from a handful of Asian powers.
â€¢ Similar results were found in science.
In a related article from yesterdayâ€™s New York Times, â€œthe leaders of 121 public universities have pledged to increase the total number of science and math teachers they prepare every year to 10,000 by 2015, up from the 7,500 teachers who graduate annually now.â€ Secretary Arne Duncan says, “If we’re going to be economically competitive and continue to innovate and create jobs, we have to get much, much better in STEM education. There’s a huge sense of urgency.”
How can we do a more effective job of counseling high school students and families about the potential benefits of a career in math or science?
Many college freshmen fail or drop out of the introductory biology, chemistry, and calculus courses that are the foundations of those studies. How can this new campaign support universities and increase tutoring and mentoring to help incoming students better prepare for these fields?
How can we incorporate technology into curricula across the disciplines so that all students become 21st century learners?
$250 million initiative for science, math teachers planned
By Nick Anderson
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
President Obama will announce a $250 million public-private effort Wednesday to improve science and mathematics instruction, aiming to help the nation compete in key fields with global economic rivals.
With funding from high-tech businesses, universities and foundations, the initiative seeks to prepare more than 10,000 new math and science schoolteachers over five years and provide on-the-job training for an additional 100,000 in science, technology, engineering and math.
It effectively doubles, to more than $500 million, a philanthropic campaign for STEM education that Obama launched in November. Separately, the government spends about $700 million a year on elementary and secondary education in the STEM fields through agencies such as NASA, the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Education Department. But it’s unclear how much federal spending can grow in a time of rising budget deficits.
“There is a recognition we can’t do everything,” said John P. Holdren, director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. “We really need all hands on deck from the private sector and the philanthropic sector because the government can’t foot the whole bill for this.”
To view this entire article visit www.washingtonpost.com
Until we realize that effective place to spend money is in training elementary school teachers in the science of teaching, with emphasis on reading, we will continue to spend huge sum of money trying to figure out how to get our high schoolers engaged in math and science. Until we have children entering middle school armed with the confidence to learn that can only be achieved with properly trained educators we will continue to throw money at symptoms rather than remedies.