Editorial: Math and science, Obama’s newest focus

By Staff Editorial

The U.S. has plenty of room to sharpen its competitive edge in the science, math, engineering… The U.S. has plenty of room to sharpen its competitive edge in the science, math, engineering and technology fields, compared to its global rivals.

President Obama struck the root of the nation’s deficiency when he announced a $250 million proposal to improve instruction in these fields. The initiative aims to train more than 10,000 new math and science teachers by 2015. 100,000 current teachers will also receive additional on-the-job training.

With increasing budget deficits, it becomes readily apparent the federal government cannot act alone to make this plan a reality. Obama intends to rely on the financial contributions of philanthropists and industry heads to execute his plan.

Success can be identified when considering the theory behind this national plan. President Obama stayed true to his grassroots approach with this initiative, similar to how he called on community colleges to train layed-off workers, springing them back into paying positions. More well-informed and inspired teachers will make for a more inspired and focused class population. These students will be further encouraged to enter these fields from a younger age.

This step is a rare one by a first term administration. Usually, presidents scramble in their first four years with plans for quick results to ensure re-election. What the President is proposing will not bear fruit until 20 years from now, when new high school graduates, instructed by these teachers, will hopefully enter these fields.

As part of this plan, 121 public universities, including Pitt, pledged to increase the number of teachers they prepare annually from 7,500 to 10,000 by 2015. Obama’s policy seems to be wary of pragmatics; it is easier to account for a hundred entities than endless elementary and middle schools. The monies put into these universities translate into educators, whose sheer numbers and high quality input translates into more math and science students.

Maybe one day an increased math and science community in the nation will give it the backbone to retain its position in the global economy as a leader in technology and science.

New graduates will pay their knowledge forward in the community and for society as a whole. This may be being a teacher or being a technician, but it is in essence supporting America in its math and science fields.

Changing past approaches to improving education in America will hopefully encourage a new culture. From the previous methods of direct strain on students for improvement to this ground-up approach, Obama’s foresight is apparent. This nation needs more curing the illness and less treating the symptoms.