By: Bradie | December 1 2009 | Category: Issues in Education
Last week, the President identified three overarching priorities for science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education:
He believes that America needs a world-class STEM workforce to address the "grand challenges" of the 21st century. "Reaffirming and strengthening America's role as the world's engine of scientific discovery and technological innovation is essential to meeting the challenges of this century," said President Obama in the White House last Tuesday. In the same speech, he announced his "Educate to Innovate" campaign for excellence in STEM education.
The Obama administration also recently directed the $4.35 billion Race to the Top school grant program to give preference to states that commit to improving STEM education.
In his November 24 speech, the President made the point that although Federal leadership is necessary, real change in STEM education requires the participation of many elements of society, including governors, philanthropists, scientists, engineers, educators, and parents as well as the private sector. In an address to the National Academy of Sciences last spring (April 27), President Obama challenged all Americans to join the cause of making STEM education a national priority.
In his recent speech, the President announced a series of high-powered partnerships dedicated to motivating and inspiring young people across the country to excel in science and math. These partnership commitments, taken together, are valued at more than $260 million in financial and in-kind support. Their mission is to provide new and creative ways to generate and maintain student interest in -- and enthusiasm about -- science and math. Partners include
Other initiatives announced by the President are
I'll summarize the first five public-private partnerships of the Educate to Innovate campaign below.
Time Warner Cable's "Connect a Million Minds" Campaign: Time Warner Cable, in partnership with FIRST Robotics and the Coalition for Science after School, is launching a campaign to connect over 1 million students to highly engaging afterschool STEM activities that already exist in their area. The company will use its media platform, public service announcements (PSAs), 47,000 employees, and the connectamillionminds.com Web site to connect a child to STEM. More than 70,000 parents and community members have already pledged at the Web site to make that connection for a child. Time Warner Cable has also made a commitment of $100 million over the next five years to support this campaign and will target 80% of its corporate philanthropy to STEM education.
Discovery Communications' "Be the Future" Campaign: In partnership with leading research universities and Federal agencies, Discovery Communications is launching a five-year $150 million cash and in-kind "Be the Future" Campaign. The goal is to create content that reaches more than 99 million homes. It will include a PSA campaign across Discovery's 13 U.S. networks, a dedicated commercial-free educational kids block on the Science Channel, and programming on the grand challenges of the 21st century (such as the landmark Curiosity series). Discovery Education will also create rich, interactive education content and deliver it at no cost to approximately 60,000 schools, 35 million students, and 1 million educators. Through its partnership with the Siemens Foundation, Discovery will create a national education resource for teachers, STEM Connect.
Sesame Street's Early STEM Literacy Initiative: Sesame Street is celebrating its 40th anniversary. With First Lady Michelle Obama as a guest on the first episode and with PNC Bank as a partner, Sesame Street is announcing a major focus on science and math for young children and a $7.5 million investment in the effort. Twenty of the 26 new episodes will focus on STEM: 13 on science and 7 on math. In addition, Sesame Workshop and partner PNC Bank's Grow Up Great Program are announcing a new math initiative for preschool children called Math Is Everywhere.