Science

Obama and Renewable-Energy Education

By Sean Cavanagh — May 29, 2009 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

President Obama, in a speech before the National Academy of Sciences last month, vowed that his administration will have federal agencies do more to inspire students to take an interest in green-energy and renewable-energy fields. The president also called for scientists to step out of their laboratories and play a stronger role in guiding students and teachers.

On the issue of urging students to take an interest in energy issues, he said:

"[T]he Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation will be launching a joint initiative to inspire tens of thousands of American students to pursue these very same careers, particularly in clean energy. It will support an educational campaign to capture the imagination of young people who can help us meet the energy challenge, and will create research opportunities for undergraduates and educational opportunities for women and minorities who too often have been underrepresented in scientific and technological fields, but are no less capable of inventing the solutions that will help us grow our economy and save our planet.”

I was curious to see more details about what the administration wants done in this area. A number of federal agencies, including the NSF, Department of Energy, and NASA, already sponsor outreach programs to K-12 students and teachers.

The NSF released a statement after Obama’s speech pledging to support “innovative technology experiences for students and teachers.” Those efforts “will assess what works and why, enable enhanced learning in the K-12 setting on topics relating to clean energy, and consider new and innovative ways to communicate the challenges and promise of clean energy,” it said. Those could include “incorporating currently popular ubiquitous social communication platforms,” and “projects to design and evaluate educational strategies and assess how to scale them up to reach large numbers of students. This will also include innovative technology experiences for students and their teachers that address how to effectively interest and prepare students to participate in the clean energy workforce of the future.”

An NSF spokesperson told me this week that this is a new effort, created in response to the president’s priorities, though at this point there is no new funding devoted to it. The agency is currently taking inventory of existing clean-energy education programs, in response to Obama’s agenda, spokeswoman Maria Zacharias said in an e-mail. The new program is being run jointly by NSF and the Department of Energy, though the science foundation’s directorate of education and human resources is taking the lead on this project.

What role can and should federal agencies play in creating classroom resources on energy topics for students? As I’ve reported, many teachers complain that scientifically reliable documents on energy and environmental topics are in short supply, so they often end up having to cull together their own. There appears to be a real hunger for “green energy” curricula and lessons in classrooms. A report released a few years ago cited a lack of coordination among federal agencies in planning and implementing hundreds of millions of dollars worth of K-12 programs. Can this new effort avoid those those pitfalls?

Related Tags:

A version of this news article first appeared in the Curriculum Matters blog.


Commenting has been disabled on edweek.org effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Teaching Webinar
6 Key Trends in Teaching and Learning
As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and a return to the classroom for many—we come better prepared, but questions remain. How will the last year impact teaching and learning this school
Content provided by Instructure
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
Ensuring Continuity of Learning: How to Prepare for the Next Disruption
Across the country, K-12 schools and districts are, again, considering how to ensure effective continuity of learning in the face of emerging COVID variants, politicized debates, and more. Learn from Alexandria City Public Schools superintendent
Content provided by Class
Teaching Profession Live Online Discussion What Have We Learned From Teachers During the Pandemic?
University of California, Santa Cruz, researcher Lora Bartlett and her colleagues spent months studying how the pandemic affected classroom teachers. We will discuss the takeaways from her research not only for teachers, but also for

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Science Opinion Four Good Science Teaching Strategies & How to Use Them
Three science educators share their "go-to" teaching strategies, including encouraging student talk & implementing project-based learning.
11 min read
Images shows colorful speech bubbles that say "Q," "&," and "A."
iStock/Getty
Science Opinion The Three Most Effective Instructional Strategies for Science—According to Teachers
Three science educators share their favorite instructional strategies, including incorporating a sense of play in their classes.
9 min read
Images shows colorful speech bubbles that say "Q," "&," and "A."
iStock/Getty
Science Make Science Education Better, More Equitable, Says National Panel
States must take steps to ensure that all students get a fair shot at learning science, says the National Academies of Science report.
3 min read
Illustration of father and child working on computer.
Getty
Science Q&A Many Schools Don't Teach About the Science of Vaccines. Here's Why They Should
Schools play an important role in confronting misinformation and mistrust in vaccines by helping students understand how they work.
7 min read
Ainslee Bolejack, freshman at Shawnee Heights High School in Tecumseh, Kansas, prepares to receive her first COVID-19 vaccine on May 17, 2021, at Topeka High. Unified School District 501 held a clinic at all their high schools welcoming students now 12-years-old and up to receive their vaccination.
Freshman Ainslee Bolejack prepares to receive her first COVID-19 vaccine on May 17, 2021, at Topeka High School in Kansas. Unified School District 501 held a clinic at all its high schools for students 12 and older to receive their vaccinations.
Evert Nelson/The Topeka Capital-Journal via AP