Thursday, February 02, 2006

A Call to Action?

From President George W. Bush’s 2006 State of the Union Address: “And to keep America competitive, one commitment is necessary above all: We must continue to lead the world in human talent and creativity. Our greatest advantage in the world has always been our educated, hardworking, ambitious people -- and we're going to keep that edge. Tonight I announce an American Competitiveness Initiative, to encourage innovation throughout our economy, and to give our nation's children a firm grounding in math and science.

First, I propose to double the federal commitment to the most critical basic research programs in the physical sciences over the next 10 years. This funding will support the work of America's most creative minds as they explore promising areas such as nanotechnology, supercomputing, and alternative energy sources.

Second, I propose to make permanent the research and development tax credit to encourage bolder private-sector initiatives in technology. With more research in both the public and private sectors, we will improve our quality of life -- and ensure that America will lead the world in opportunity and innovation for decades to come.

Third, we need to encourage children to take more math and science, and to make sure those courses are rigorous enough to compete with other nations. We've made a good start in the early grades with the No Child Left Behind Act, which is raising standards and lifting test scores across our country. Tonight I propose to train 70,000 high school teachers to lead advanced-placement courses in math and science, bring 30,000 math and science professionals to teach in classrooms, and give early help to students who struggle with math, so they have a better chance at good, high-wage jobs. If we ensure that America's children succeed in life, they will ensure that America succeeds in the world

This is certainly a commendable approach, one that is long overdue. As noted here in previous posts, there have been quite a few indicators that the scientific dominance that the has enjoyed over the last 50-80 years is quickly coming to a close, with disastrous consequences . Not only does it indicate damage to our reputation as a global power, our continued domination in economics, technology, science, engineering, and more . Indeed, maintaining a consistent, high-level of education for the next generation (and ensuring that they are able to provide the same for generations to come) is crucial to our survival into the future . You can read the report of this crisis from the at National Academy of Science

It is a good first step, but one is certainly left wondering: will it be done? Can it be done by this administration, by the current climate in our political offices, by the attitude of the citizenry? The changes that need to be made exist not only on a governmental level, but on a personal level . We need to cherish the things that teachers give to society; they need to be recognized as being important members of our society . I feel that only with this attitude change will we start to be able to implement policies that make sense, that we’re putting money in directions that will actually benefit ourselves and our children . It is time to wake up and see where we’re headed, and to move on what we want to become.

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