With the recent launch of the Educate to Innovate Campaign, President Obama shows his commitment to improving U.S. education in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), from elementary school through college or university. The goal of this campaign is threefold: to help increase STEM literacy for all students; to expand STEM education and career opportunities; and to improve America’s international standing in science and math education.
In a recent speech, President Obama stressed the importance of educating today’s students so they would be better equipped to handle the issues we face, from the economy and health care to our standing in the global marketplace. Key to our success, he stated, is “affirming and strengthening America’s role as the world’s engine of scientific discovery and technological innovation.” To do that, the President continued, “depends on how we educate our students today, especially in those fields that hold the promise of producing future innovations and innovators.”
With the Educate to Innovate Campaign, President Obama is devoting financial and intellectual efforts to helping students excel in these areas, encouraging students to pursue science and math degrees and strive to make new discoveries in these areas.
To help the federal government in its efforts, the administration has enlisted private companies, colleges and universities, foundations, nonprofit groups, and science and engineering societies to work with students on science and math skills. Already onboard are leading organizations like Intel, Xerox, Kodak, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and The Carnegie Corporation.
The initiatives are geared toward reaching children of all ages, from elementary school students to students in colleges and universities. Sesame Street is focusing the majority of its episodes on math and science this year. And Discovery Communications will reach 35 million students with interactive science programs that will be shown in 60,000 schools.
Students will also be encouraged to focus on innovation through competitions outside of school. Time Warner Cable will be one of the organizations behind robotics competitions, and Sony is part of a group challenging students to create science-oriented video games.
In addition, National Lab Day will allow students to participate in hands-on experiments. The White House also plans to host an annual science fair, in which winners of national competitions will be invited to show their discoveries.
Through these efforts and more, President Obama is determined to, in his words, “show young people how cool science can be.” By tying new STEM funding both to academic performance as well as to innovation, this campaign hopes to encourage new ideas and get students more excited about math and science degrees and advancements.
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