Obama on Math, Science and Tech Education
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There is no doubt that science, math, and technology are becoming increasingly relevant as the 21st century unfolds, and President-elect Barack Obama has made it clear that he wants to focus on improving education in these areas.
In a 2007 speech in New Hampshire, Obama emphasized his understanding of the issue: “In this kind of economy, countries who out-educate us today will out-compete us tomorrow,” Obama said. “Already, China is graduating eight times as many engineers as we are. By twelfth grade, our children score lower on math and science tests than most other kids in the world. And we now have one of the highest high school dropout rates of any industrialized nation in the world.”
Obama’s proposed changes to science and math education center on teacher recruitment and improvements to science instruction and assessments. Additionally, Obama proposes a heavy investment in classroom and education technology. Here’s an overview of the plan:
Recruit High-Quality Math and Science Teachers
Obama’s Teaching Service Scholarship program will prioritize recruiting math, science, and technology degree graduates; the Teacher Residency Program will supply teachers in these high-needs subject areas. Obama’s plan to stimulate Professional Development Schools will help new science and math teachers, or veteran teachers needing to hone their skills, learn from professionals in the field.
Enhanced Science Instruction
Obama will work with governors to create flexible and workable systems for the states to achieve the goal of ensuring all children have access to strong science curriculum at all grade levels. Obama will also support state efforts to make science education a priority at the pre-k level.
Improve and Prioritize Science Assessments
Obama will work with governors and educators to ensure that state assessments measure test inquiry and higher-order thinking skills including inference, logic, data analysis and interpretation, forming questions, and communication. Improvements to assessments will also include developing tests that call for students to design and conduct investigations, analyze and present data, and write up and defend results.
Technology Investment Fund
Obama will build on existing federal education technology programs and create a $500 million matching fund to ensure technology is fully integrated throughout schools. This fund will:
- Integrate technology throughout the classroom so innovative learning technologies can assist in improving the quality of learning and instruction.
- Develop technology-based student assessments that allow teachers and parents to identify and focus on individual needs and talents throughout the school year.
- Create new technology-based curriculum with leaders in the technology industry so schools can create courses around developing high-demand technology skills and working on authentic projects.
- Use technology to allow teachers to work collaboratively with their peers across the country to share best practices and support teachers to provide more individualized assistance to students.
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