Today President Barack Obama announced a new non-profit educational initiative called “Change the Equation.” This program aims to involve the Chief Executive Officers of over one hundred companies to create/expand innovative math and science programs. This program is one facet of the bigger “Educate to Innovate” campaign launched by the Obama Administration.
Privately funded initiatives called STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) already exist and have been successful. Using the STEM model, Change the Equation will expand everything from robotics competitions to science summer camps to Advanced Placement courses in math and science. Participating companies include many of the nations largest, including Xerox and Facebook. Many of the programs collaborate with museums, science centers, libraries, and other community resources. Obama plans to bring these programs to the 100 communities where students are most in need, in hopes to draw in more minorities and women into careers that involve math and science, such as engineering.
In his speech, Obama stated that in order for the United States to be competitive in a global economy, we must be the most innovative, consistently developing new industries. He claimed that innovation begins in the classrooms, where passions and talents are discovered that eventually lead to cutting edge careers.
According to Obama, the quality of leadership of tomorrow is dependant on the quality of education today. He went on to say that education programs should not rely on the government alone, but should involve the broader community, hence this new program that brings businesses into the educational mix.
The President’s Council of Advisors on Science also released recommendations that over the next decade the federal government should help recruit and train 100,000 STEM teachers, support the creation of 1,000 new STEM-focused schools, and reward the top 5 percent of STEM teachers.
Christi Grab is Parentella’s Editorial Director and author of The Unexpected Circumnavigation: Unusual Boat, Unusual People Part 1 – San Diego to Australia. She is currently working on book two of the series