President Obama today helped launch a new campaign, “Educate to Innovate,” designed to energize and excite America’s students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). It builds on the President’s pledge that he would use his position to help encourage students to study and consider careers in science, engineering, technology, and innovation—fields upon which America’s future depends—and elevate those students from the middle to the top of the pack worldwide.
At today’s kick-off event, President Obama announced the launch of five major public-private partnerships that have committed to helping unleash 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 become the next generation of engineers and scientists, inventors and innovators.
The new campaign builds on the President’s Inaugural Address, which included a vow to put science “in its rightful place.” One of those rightful places, of course, is the classroom. Yet too often our schools lack support for teachers or the other resources needed to convey the practical utility and remarkable beauty of science and engineering. As a result, students become overwhelmed in their classes and ultimately disengaged. They lose, and our nation loses too.
The partnerships launched today aim to change that. They respond to a challenge made by the President in April, when he spoke at the annual meeting of the National Academy of Sciences and asked the nation’s philanthropists, professional and educational societies, corporations, and individuals to collaborate and innovate with the goal of reinvigorating America’s STEM educational enterprise. The partnerships announced today -- dramatic commitments in the hundreds of millions of dollars, generated through novel collaborations and creative outreach activities -- are just the first wave of commitments anticipated in response to his call.
Think about how you or your organization can build on this momentum. And let’s pull together to open our children’s eyes to the countless ways in which science, engineering, and math can help America and the world find solutions to the many challenges we face.
John P. Holdren is Assistant to the President for Science and Technology and the Director of White House Office of Science and Technology Policy
Melody C. Barnes is an Assistant to the President and the Director of the Domestic Policy Council