$250 Million Effort Illustrates Need For Better Science Education

Recently, the President announced several new public-private collaborations that would make investments of more than $250 million to help train more than 10,000 new math and science instructors and provide additional training to more than 100,000 existing teachers. There is a determined push to employ teachers who can assertively and enthusiastically educate in the area of science.

“Passionate educators with deep content expertise can make all the difference,” President Obama stated in a prepared speech, “enabling hands-on learning that truly engages students — including girls and underrepresented minorities — and preparing them to tackle the ‘grand challenges’ of the 21st century such as increasing energy independence, improving people’s health, protecting the environment and strengthening national security.”

American students’ rankings in science continue to plummet compared to various other nations, which does not bode well for our ability to innovate and compete in the future. All of this points out that our educational institutions are still failing to properly educate kids in the science and math they will need to be successful in their adult professions. There is a need to use engaging science materials at an early age, particularly for those who educate privately or at home.

The administration’s crusade is called “Educate to Innovate” and is pursuing numerous avenues to increase U.S. students’ rank in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. (See the full White House press release for information on how colleges and private companies are working on the issue.)

Home schoolers and private educators of all backgrounds must feel confident in being able to present science lessons and make them exciting for the student – just like the national effort to train professional teachers. What about President Obama singling out the need to engage girls? Here’s just one sign that points out that problem: Barely 17% of undergraduate engineering degrees are awarded to women.