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White House Pushes Science and Math Education


Elmo the Muppet

Elmo and his "Sesame Street" co-star Big Bird will be among those trying to show students the value of science and math.

Credit: Ron Thomas / Giles Communication, via Associated Press

U.S. President Barack Obama on Monday (November 23) announced Educate to Innovate, a campaign to enlist companies and nonprofit groups to donate time and money to encourage students, particularly middle and high school students, to pursue degrees and careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Educate to Innovate will focus primarily on activities outside the classroom. For example, Discovery Communications has already promised to use two hours of its afternoon schedule on the Science Channel for commercial-free programming aimed at middle school students, and science and engineering societies have promised to provide volunteers to work with students in the classroom on National Lab Day in May.

The campaign also includes a two-year focus on science on the children's show Sesame Street, and a Web site, connectamillionminds.com, supported by Time Warner Cable, which will provide a searchable directory of local science activities. "The different sectors are responding to the president's call for all hands on deck," says White House science advisor John P. Holdren. He says the initiatives complement the U.S. Department of Education's Race to the Top program, which is distributing $4.35 billion in stimulus grants to states and provides extra incentives for STEM programs.

Obama administration officials say the Educate to Innovate initiative is far wider-reaching than previous efforts, which have failed to create a perceptible rise in test scores or in most students' perceptions of math and science.

From The New York Times
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