Obama Announces Science Education Goal at White House Science Fair

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With student participants in the second annual White House Science Fair as a backdrop, President Barack Obama announced on 7 February programs to help prepare new math and science teachers and to meet a new goal of having 1 million more U.S. college graduates in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) over the next decade than there would be at the current graduation rate. That goal is outlined in a report entitled “Engage to excel,” by the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST), released the same day. Obama also announced several other initiatives, including a $22 million private-sector investment, led by the Carnegie Corporation of New York, to invest in STEM teacher training. After he toured the science fair projects, Obama said the science fair students “inspire” him. “What impresses me so much is not just how smart you are, but it's the fact that you recognize you've got a responsibility to use your talents in service of something bigger than yourselves,” he said. What these young people are doing is “going to make a bigger difference in the life of our country over the long term than just about anything,” adding, “We've got to emphasize how important this is and recognize these incredible young people who are doing that that I couldn't even imagine thinking about at fifth grade or eighth grade or in high school.”

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