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From Obama, a new focus on math and science education -- and a new plum for prize-winners


President Obama poses with students from various schools following his remarks on science, technology, engineering and math education initiatives at the White House. (Jason Reed/Reuters)

By Michael D. Shear
President Obama today announced partnerships with private businesses to increase achievement in math and science, saying the country must do more to compete with the world in those areas.

The new federal campaign will encourage businesses and non profit groups -- including the Discovery Channel, Intel, and Time Warner -- to focus more energy and money to teach kids about math and science.

"The hard truth is that for decades we have been losing ground," Obama told a group in the East Room of the White House Monday, noting that American students are rated 21st in the world in science and 25th in math. "We all believe that we can't allow division and indifference to imperil our position in the world."

Obama's proposal, called "Educate to Innovate," will feature a new two-year focus on math and science by Sesame Street and a national "lab day," sponsored by several national philanthropic groups.

The president also announced a new, annual White House science fair for the winners of national science and math competitions.

"If you win the NCAA championships, you come to the White House," he said. "Scientists and engineers ought to stand side by side with athletes and celebrities as role models."

By Web Politics Editor  |  November 23, 2009; 12:07 PM ET
Categories:  44 The Obama Presidency  
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Comments

It is too bad that all of the engineers and scientists currently graduating can't find jobs. And engineers have a higher rate of leaving their profession than do teachers within five years, about 65%. They are paid poorly as well, and it is a lie that there is a shortage. Also, President Obama's figure of 21st and 25th in math/science is a fabrication. The reality is if you look at schools with less than 10% poverty, they all score higher than the highest scoring nation in the PIRLS and only schools with 75% poverty or more do you find schools that score below the international average. But then again, Arne Duncan can't move his lips without telling some kind of a lie about public education, and the current crop of Democrats in power are just as guilty being TOTALLY ignorant about the true state of public education as the previous Republicans. Public schools are an easy target, and way too much mis-information has been repeated enough that it is now taken as the truth.

Posted by: seanmblack64 | November 25, 2009 3:25 PM | Report abuse

correction - the event was in the Eisenhower Old Exec Office Building - in the new auditoriam there - not the East Room as reported above.

I was there and it as thrilling to hear the president boost science and math learning including www.nationalabday.org and other great initiatives.

Posted by: jackhidary | November 24, 2009 9:26 PM | Report abuse

Could cokehead-in-chief GWB even spell science?

Posted by: DC2Amsterdam | November 24, 2009 8:20 AM | Report abuse

Leave it to the moronic right to spin stressing math and science to kids as a negative thing. The right prefers to keep children under educated, because those with thinking brains realize that the republicans are nothing but a bunch of snake oil salesmen and liars whose only objective is to keep the middle class down.

Posted by: blarsen1 | November 23, 2009 6:08 PM | Report abuse

At last, we have a President that understands that Science and Math are more important to the security and success of America than the politicized fantasies of the faith-based right wing religious wackos.

Evolution? Global warming? The so-called "Christians" hate the former and the Corporate 'grass-roots' hate the later. No serious scientists dismiss either.

Posted by: thebobbob | November 23, 2009 5:28 PM | Report abuse

Liberals gutted math and science curriculum and testing in the 90s claiming "cultural and gender bias" and replaced it with social, sensitivity and other softball subjects.

Well now "the chickens have come home to roost" and we are falling more and more behind.

Maybe the liberal mantras of medal for last place, self esteem > achievement and dumbing down curriculum are a bad idea?

Posted by: Cryos | November 23, 2009 4:38 PM | Report abuse

If only these young inventors could come up with a device that enables those who lack the balls to make a decision to actually grow one or two.

Posted by: Bcamp55 | November 23, 2009 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Maybe he shouldn't have canceled all of those math and science projects under the DoD budget?

Posted by: JakeD | November 23, 2009 12:40 PM | Report abuse

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