Thursday, December 08, 2005

High level Business and Political Involvement Needed to Turn Around Science and Math Education

The note below came from the NSTA recently. In my mind it will take initiatives like this to begin to dent the potential problems the U.S. may face in the not-so-distant future if we do not get more talented students majoring in the hard sciences, mathematics, and engineering to replace the large numbers of science and engineering babyboomers who will be retiring over the next 10-15 years (and as the rate of foreign students and scientists who leave the U.S. continues to rise). As many nations across the globe begin to narrow the technology lead the U.S. has built since World War II, continued commitments to research are essential to our economy, natonal security, and role as superpower. Business leaders who commonly complain about the lack of American prospects for technically trained employees need to help out with their influence with polticians as well as their deep pockets. Now, we only need to see results from meetings such as described below.


"On December 6, CEOs nationwide will come to Washington, DC, for a high-level meeting with top administration officials to press for greater funding for research and development and a greater focus on science and mathematics education.

During the summit, which is being hosted by the U.S. Department of Commerce, CEOs will discuss the competitiveness challenges their companies face and hold private meetings with cabinet officers to discuss specific policy options to address those challenges. Representative Frank Wolf (R-VA) initiated this summit. Participants will include Congressman Sherwood Boehlert, (R-NY), chairman, House Science Committee; Congressman Vernon Ehlers, (R-MI), chairman, House Environment, Technology and Standards Subcommittee; Richard K. Templeton, President and CEO, Texas Instruments; James G. Berges, Retired President and Senior Advisor, Emerson; David Sampson, deputy secretary of commerce; Gov. John Engler, president of the National Association of Manufacturers; and Dana Mead, retired CEO of Tenneco and chairman of the MIT Board of Trustees. Samuel Bodman, secretary of energy; Elaine Cho, secretary of labor; Carlos Gutierrez, secretary of commerce; and Arden Bement, director, National Science Foundation, will participate in the private sessions.

The event is hosted by the American Electronics Association (AeA), Business Roundtable, Council on Competitiveness, National Association of Manufacturers, Northern Virginia Technology Council, and George Mason University."

2 comments:

jo_jo said...

I've said it before, I'll say it again - big business usually doesn't know what to do with the most talented and innovative people. They shift paradigms and ask too many uncomfortable questions. Does anyone know of any research on employing high-iq people? All I have is anecdotal evidence to support my assertions. If no-one has done this yet, I'm gonna do it myself. That as much as anything will address the problem.

Best,
Joanna

vonny said...

Hi Joanna,

I tend to think it has more to do with the immediate supervisor/manager. Some of the brightest people I know who are in industry/business have flourished because their bosses have allowed them to have some freedom to try new things, and I know a much smaller number of well educated, bright people who have had some problems because of rigidity and the need to 'stick to the company plan at all costs' mentality.

But I, too, don't have any real evidence either way, just anecdotal.

My main point is that big business in the tech sector needs to step up and offer assistance. This can be in the form of money, access to other resources, offering to have employees go into schools to give presentations and let kids know of job opportunities (as well as what's involved with getting those jobs), letting interested students get involved at some level in internships, working in labs, etc., as well as informing educators about specific skills and knowledge students should have so appropriate curricula/standards can be developed for kids who want to pursue a technical/science-based career.

I hope all is well,
Mark