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Obama's Plan to Help Next Generation Science Geeks

Illustration for article titled Obamas Plan to Help Next Generation Science Geeks

Wow, this is great. The "Educate to Innovate" campaign will aim to improve U.S students' grounding in science, technology, engineering, and math education through $260 million in public-private partnerships, plus the first "National Lab Day" to update school science labs.

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The president also said he's introducing an annual White House Science fair with the winners of national competitions in science and technology. " If you win the NCAA championship, you come to the White House. Well, if you're a young person and you've produced the best experiment or design, the best hardware or software, you ought to be recognized for that achievement, too. "

Students will launch rockets, construct miniature windmills, and get their hands dirty. They'll have the chance to build and create — and maybe destroy just a little bit — to see the promise of being the makers of things, and not just the consumers of things. [White House via NY Times]

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Industry leaders like Sony are launching a nationwide challenge to design compelling, freely available, science-related video games. And organizations representing teachers, scientists, mathematicians, and engineers — joined by volunteers in the community — are participating in a grassroots effort called "National Lab Day" to reach 10 million young people with hands-on learning.

Business leaders from Intel, Xerox, Kodak, and Time Warner Cable are teaming up with Sally Ride, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, as well as the Carnegie Corporation, to find and replicate successful science, math, and technology programs all across America. Sesame Street has begun a two-year initiative to teach young kids about math and science. And Discovery Communications is going to deliver interactive science content to 60,000 schools reaching 35 million students.

These efforts extend beyond the classroom. Time Warner Cable is joining with the Coalition for Science After School and FIRST Robotics — the program created by inventor Dean Kamen, which gave us the "Cougar Cannon" — to connect one million students with fun after-school activities, like robotics competitions.

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DISCUSSION

I got my degree in engineering 2 years ago and was able to get a federal grant. It's not like there wasn't already money encouraging students to go into science and engineering fields. If anything federal money into the school system skews market forces and keeps tuition rising. The only way to keep tuition prices from going through the roof is to allow people to pay what they believe is fair. As long as the government keeps pumping money into the system then demand is artificially inflated and tuition rates go up resulting in a vicious cycle.