Obama's teleprompter commits mutiny during major science speech
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We also need to engage the scientific community directly in the work of public policy. And that's why, today, I am announcing the appointment -- we are filling out the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, known as PCAST, and I intend to work with them closely. Our co-chairs have already been introduced -- Dr. Varmus and Dr. Lander along with John. And this council represents leaders from many scientific disciplines who will bring a diversity of experiences and views. And I will charge PCAST with advising me about national strategies to nurture and sustain a culture of scientific innovation.Skip to next paragraph
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In addition to John -- sorry, the -- I just noticed that I jumped the gun here -- go ahead and move it up. (Laughter.) I'd already -- I'd already introduced all you guys.
In biomedicine, just to give you an example of what PCAST can do, we can harness the historic convergence between life sciences and physical sciences that's underway today; undertaking public projects -- in the spirit of the Human Genome Project -- to create data and capabilities that fuel discoveries in tens of thousands of laboratories; and identifying and overcoming scientific and bureaucratic barriers to rapidly translating scientific breakthroughs into diagnostics and therapeutics that serve patients.
In environmental science, it will require strengthening our weather forecasting, our Earth observation from space, the management of our nation's land, water and forests, and the stewardship of our coastal zones and ocean fisheries.
We also need to work with our friends around the world. Science, technology and innovation proceed more rapidly and more cost-effectively when insights, costs and risks are shared; and so many of the challenges that science and technology will help us meet are global in character. This is true of our dependence on oil, the consequences of climate change, the threat of epidemic disease, and the spread of nuclear weapons.
And that's why my administration is ramping up participation in -- and our commitment to -- international science and technology cooperation across the many areas where it is clearly in our interest to do so. In fact, this week, my administration is gathering the leaders of the world's major economies to begin the work of addressing our common energy challenges together.
Fifth, since we know that the progress and prosperity of future generations will depend on what we do now to educate the next generation, today I'm announcing a renewed commitment to education in mathematics and science. (Applause.) This is something I care deeply about. Through this commitment, American students will move from the middle of the top -- from the middle to the top of the pack in science and math over the next decade -- for we know that the nation that out-educates us today will out-compete us tomorrow. And I don't intend to have us out-educated.
We can't start soon enough. We know that the quality of math and science teachers is the most influential single factor in determining whether a student will succeed or fail in these subjects. Yet in high school more than 20 percent of students in math and more than 60 percent of students in chemistry and physics are taught by teachers without expertise in these fields. And this problem is only going to get worse. There is a projected shortfall of more than 280,000 math and science teachers across the country by 2015.
And that's why I'm announcing today that states making strong commitments and progress in math and science education will be eligible to compete later this fall for additional funds under the Secretary of Education's $5 billion Race to the Top program.
And I'm challenging states to dramatically improve achievement in math and science by raising standards, modernizing science labs, upgrading curriculum, and forging partnerships to improve the use of science and technology in our classrooms. (Applause.) I'm challenging states, as well, to enhance teacher preparation and training, and to attract new and qualified math and science teachers to better engage students and reinvigorate those subjects in our schools.