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11/23/2009
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Obama Calls For Math, Science Push

The president kicked off a public-private initiative Monday to promote education in science, technology, engineering, and math.

President Obama announced a campaign Monday to encourage education in science, technology, engineering, and math, (STEM) saying that the United States needs to make a new push to excel in the sciences as evidence shows American students continuing to fall behind other countries in science and math.

As part of the effort, called Educate to Innovate, government and private industry have committed to donating more than $260 million in new support to education projects.

That money will be spent through five public-private partnerships, which the White House says will leverage 100,000 volunteers, media, and interactive games to reach more than 10 million students by the end of 2013.

"The key to improving our health and well-being, to harnessing clean energy, to protecting our security and succeeding in the global economy, will be reaffirming and strengthening America's role as the world's engine of scientific discovery and technological innovation," the president said in remarks at the White House. "That's why education in math and science is so important."

Former NASA astronaut Sally Ride and Intel chairman Craig Barrett have signed on to recruit private sector leaders to advocate science and math education, scale out innovative science and math education efforts, and raise public awareness of the importance of science and math education.

As part of the five partnership efforts:

  • Discovery Communications, in partnership with research universities and federal agencies, will spend $150 million over five years on new educational content as part of its "Be The Future" campaign.
  • Time Warner Cable, FIRST Robotics, and the Coalition for Science After School will link up students with opportunities that exist in their areas
  • PNC Bank and Sesame Street which will invest money in math and science for young children and create 20 Sesame Street episodes focused on math and science in its Early Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Literacy Initiative
  • A number of non-profits will fund a nationwide science play day, upgrade science labs and create communities of science and math teachers on "National Lab Day"
  • Sony, the MacArthur Foundation, and the Entertainment Software Association will award children and adults who create innovative science and math games with their National STEM Game Design Competitions

The White House will also begin hosting an annual science fair to showcase winners of national science, technology and robotics competitions. "If you win the NCAA championship, you come to the White House," Obama said. "If you're a young person and you produce the best experiment or design, the best hardware or software, you ought to be recognized for that achievement, too."

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