Obama launches new STEM initiatives

December 1, 2009

By Flinn Foundation

Obama launches new STEM initiatives

President announces efforts to boost math, science education

President Barack Obama on Nov. 23 announced the launch of several nationwide programs to help motivate and inspire students to excel in science and math, including a grassroots effort called “National Lab Day” and a White House science fair.

Leadership tomorrow is dependent on how America’s students are educated today, Obama said in morning remarks.

“The key to meeting these challenges–to improving our health and well-being, to harnessing clean energy, to protecting our security, and succeeding in the global economy–will be reaffirming and strengthening America’s role as the world’s engine of scientific discovery and technological innovation,” he said. “The hard truth is that for decades we’ve been losing ground.  One assessment shows American 15-year-olds now rank 21st in science and 25th in math when compared to their peers around the world.”

Obama was referring to results from the most recent Program for International Student Assessment, or PISA. Some experts caution that PISA is different from other tests, especially those in the United States, and makes American kids look worse than other tests do.