The White House has announced a plan to invest up to $100 million over ten years to improve math and science education in the United States, the Associated Press reports.
As part of its plan, the administration announced a $22 million commitment from private companies, foundations, and institutions of higher education, including Google, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the University of Chicago, and Teach for America. The White House also will request $80 million from Congress for a new Department of Education competition that will award grants for innovative STEM teacher-training programs. Congress shot down a similar measure last year.
President Obama first challenged Congress and business leaders in 2010 to address the shortage of teachers with expertise in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) and renewed that call during his State of the Union address in January.
To highlight the benefits of math and science education, the president hosted a White House science fair on Tuesday featuring projects designed by more than a hundred students from across the country. Projects included a robot that helps senior citizens connect with their families via Skype and a portable shelter that could be used to house people who have been displaced from their homes by a natural disaster.
During the event, the president made it clear that a renewed focus on math and science education should be an American imperative. "The belief that we belong on the cutting edge of innovation, that's an idea as old as America itself. We're a nation of thinkers, dreamers, believers in a better tomorrow."