The Obama administration is attempting to marshal private-sector power in a campaign to encourage students to take a stronger interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, or “STEM” studies and careers.
Corporations, foundations, and other organizations have committed $260 million in financial and in-kind support for the effort, called “Educate to Innovate,” which will play out on several fronts.
Time Warner Cable has committed $100 million over five years for a campaign to connect students to after-school activities. Discovery Communications will fund a five-year, $150 million campaign to create commercial-free programming and online math and science content. Sesame Street, with backing from PNC Bank, will make STEM themes the focus of a number of upcoming episodes, and promote science and math for young students in other ways.
And science and engineering societies, with philanthropic backing, will promote hands-on and project-based learning. Finally, corporate and technology partners are launching a set of competitions to design free, STEM-focused videogames for children.
The White House has asked Sally Ride, the first female astronaut, and corporate leaders to build support for STEM at the state and local level.
A version of this article appeared in the December 02, 2009 edition of Education Week as Obama Backing ‘STEM’ Education