Tuesday, November 24, 2009

"Scientists Standing Side By Side With Athletes and Entertainers"

These are words from President Obama yesterday in his announcement of a new Educate to Innovate Campaign to improve the participation and performance of America’s students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

Most of us know excelling in STEM, when compared to the rest of the world, has not been something we've been very good at recently in the United States. Our kids currently rank 21st in science and 25th in math compared with students in other countries. The new campaign will include:

  • A two-year Sesame Street math and science push;
  • An after-school robotics program;
  • A national hands-on scientific learning "lab" day, and
  • An annual White House science fair that will publicize top scientists and their achievements.
The President said so far the private sector has committed $260 million to the campaign, and corporate giants, including Intel, Xerox, Kodak and Time Warner Cable, have signed on.

I'm not a big golf fan but am impressed with golfer Phil Mickelson's ExxonMobil Teachers Academy where, each summer, 600 third- through fifth-grade teachers from school districts across the country attend Mickelson ExxonMobil Teachers Academies. The Academies offer a five-day program, with camps in New Jersey, Texas and Louisiana, designed to provide third- through fifth-grade teachers with the knowledge and skills necessary to motivate students to pursue careers in science and math.

President Obama's initiative looks like it will provide an opportunity for more professional athletes and also entertainers to get involved. It would be nice to see some of them sign on.

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