Obama to launch `Change the Equation` campaign for education

US Prez Barack Obama is set to launch a campaign aimed at dramatically improving education in science, technology, engineering and math.

Last Updated: Sep 16, 2010, 17:41 PM IST

Washington: Days after exhorting American
students to toil harder at school as children from Bangalore
and Beijing are raring to race ahead, President Barack Obama
is set to launch a campaign aimed at dramatically improving
education in science, technology, engineering and math.

The `Change the Equation` campaign is part of his
`Educate to Innovate` drive to raise American students to the
top of the pack in science and math achievement over the next
decade.

Within a year, `Change the Equation` will replicate
successful privately-funded programmes in 100 high-need
schools and communities, the White House said.

This programme would expand summer science camps for
girls, allow more students to engage in robotics competitions,
improve professional development for math teachers, increase
the number of students that take and pass rigorous Advanced
Placement math and science courses.

It would also increase the number of teachers who enter
the profession with a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering
and Math) undergraduate degree and provide new opportunities
to traditionally under-represented students and under-served
communities.

`Change the Equation` will also create a state-by-state
"scorecard" to highlight areas for state-level improvement and
help companies increase the impact of their own engagement in
STEM education, the White House said.

It was founded by astronaut Sally Ride, former Intel
Chairman Craig Barrett, Xerox CEO Ursula Burns, Time Warner
Cable CEO Glenn Britt and Eastman Kodak CEO Antonio Perez,
with support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and
the Carnegie Corporation of New York.

With a membership of 100 CEOs and funding of USD 5
million for its first year of operations, `Change the
Equation` is in a unique position to meet its three goals of
improving STEM teaching at all grade levels; inspire student
appreciation and excitement for STEM, especially among women
and under-represented minorities; and achieving a sustained
commitment to improving STEM education.

Obama is also expected to announce specific
public-private partnerships involving `Change the Equation`
members, non-profit bodies and foundations.

Such announcements include increased opportunities for
student engagement in science museums across the nation,
improved teacher professional development in Newark in New
Jersey, harnessing the power of electronic games for STEM
education and dramatically expanding the number of skilled
volunteers participating in National Lab Day.

Simultaneously, the President`s Council of Advisors in
Science and Technology (PCAST) will release a report outlining
ambitious new policy proposals for improving STEM education.
The White House said Obama has identified three
overarching priorities for STEM education, necessary for
laying a new foundation for America`s future prosperity --
increasing STEM literacy; improving the quality of math and
science teaching so American students are no longer
outperformed by those in other nations; and expanding STEM
education and career opportunities for underrepresented
groups, including women and minorities.

On Tuesday, Obama asked American students to toil harder
at school, saying their success would determine the country`s
leadership in a world where children in Bangalore and Beijing
were raring to race ahead.

Obama has repeatedly said that American schools would
have to ensure that they continue producing leagues of top
professionals, so that the American hegemony in human resource
continues in this century.

"At a time when other countries are competing with us
like never before, when students around the world in Beijing,
China, or Bangalore, India, are working harder than ever, and
doing better than ever, your success in school is not just
going to determine your success, it`s going to determine
America`s success in the 21st century," Obama said.

"The farther you go in school, the farther you`re going
to go in life," he told students at a school in Philadelphia,
Pennsylvania.

PTI