Education, Obama style

Young people in the United States are falling behind their overseas peers in reading, math and science, President Barack Obama said recently, calling education reform an essential part of economic recovery. 

In his weekly radio and video address, Obama said as many as a quarter of American students are not finishing high school and far too few young people are getting college degrees.

“It is an undeniable fact that countries who out-educate us today will out-compete us tomorrow. Businesses will hire wherever the highly skilled, highly trained workers are located,” the Democrat said. “We have to pick up our game and raise our standards.”

As one step in the U.S. plan to improve education, the Obama Administration has announced the “Educate to Innovate” challenge.

The goal of “Educate to Innovate” is to:

  • Increase STEM (science, technology, education, mathematics)  literacy so that all students can learn deeply and think critically in science, math, engineering, and technology.
  • Move American students from the middle of the pack to top in the next decade.
  • Expand STEM education and career opportunities for underrepresented groups, including women and girls.

As part of the “Educate to Innovate” effort, several major public-private partnerships are harnessing the power of media, interactive games, hands-on learning, and community volunteers to reach millions of students over the next four years, inspiring them to be the next generation of inventors and innovators.

  • Time-Warner CableDiscovery CommunicationsSesame Street, and other partners will get the message to kids and students about the wonder of invention and discovery.
  • National Lab Day will help build communities of support around teachers across the country, culminating in a day of civic participation.
  • National STEM design competitions will develop game options to engage kids in scientific inquiry and challenging designs.
  • Change the Equation is a non-profit organization dedicated to mobilizing the business community to improve the quality of STEM education in the United States.
  • Middle school and high school students from across the country descended on the State Dining Room at the White House for the first White House Science Fair.  These student projects represent most cutting edge science, technology and engineering.
While this is an impressive first step, I still have to wonder about all the 70% of eighth graders who are not yet reading at grade level.  What are we doing for them??

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