Obama's teleprompter commits mutiny during major science speech
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And in this endeavor, we will work to support inventive approaches. Let's create systems that retain and reward effective teachers, and let's create new pathways for experienced professionals to go into the classroom. There are, right now, chemists who could teach chemistry, physicists who could teach physics, statisticians who could teach mathematics. But we need to create a way to bring the expertise and the enthusiasm of these folks –- folks like you –- into the classroom.Skip to next paragraph
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There are states, for example, doing innovative work. I'm pleased to announce that Governor Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania will lead an effort with the National Governors Association to increase the number of states that are making science, technology, engineering and mathematics education a top priority. Six states are currently participating in the initiative, including Pennsylvania, which has launched an effective program to ensure that the state has the skilled workforce in place to draw the jobs of the 21st century. And I want every state, all 50 states, to participate.
But as you know, our work does not end with a high school diploma. For decades, we led the world in educational attainment, and as a consequence we led the world in economic growth. The G.I. Bill, for example, helps send a generation to college. But in this new economy, we've come to trail other nations in graduation rates, in educational achievement, and in the production of scientists and engineers.
That's why my administration has set a goal that will greatly enhance our ability to compete for the high-wage, high-tech jobs of the future –- and to foster the next generation of scientists and engineers. In the next decade –- by 2020 –- America will once again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world. That is a goal that we are going to set. And we've provided tax credits and grants to make a college education more affordable.
My budget also triples the number of National Science Foundation graduate research fellowships. (Applause.) This program was created as part of the space race five decades ago. In the decades since, it's remained largely the same size –- even as the numbers of students who seek these fellowships has skyrocketed. We ought to be supporting these young people who are pursuing scientific careers, not putting obstacles in their path.
So this is how we will lead the world in new discoveries in this new century. But I think all of you understand it will take far more than the work of government. It will take all of us. It will take all of you. And so today I want to challenge you to use your love and knowledge of science to spark the same sense of wonder and excitement in a new generation.
America's young people will rise to the challenge if given the opportunity –- if called upon to join a cause larger than themselves. We've got evidence. You know, the average age in NASA's mission control during the Apollo 17 mission was just 26. I know that young people today are just as ready to tackle the grand challenges of this century.
So I want to persuade you to spend time in the classroom, talking and showing young people what it is that your work can mean, and what it means to you. I want to encourage you to participate in programs to allow students to get a degree in science fields and a teaching certificate at the same time. I want us all to think about new and creative ways to engage young people in science and engineering, whether it's science festivals, robotics competitions, fairs that encourage young people to create and build and invent -- to be makers of things, not just consumers of things.