STEM the Tide

Obama kicked off a program this week to “energize and excite America’s students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.” His stated goal is to show young people how cool science can be. Further, two local CEO’s were tapped to be on the team of five business and thought leaders to lead the $260 million program.

On the one hand, this is great news. I’m all in favor of anything that gets our kids engaged in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) careers. As I’ve argued before, I think this is essential to the economic success of America moving forward. What I can’t tell from any of the news is how this program really helps. I can’t see that Antonio Perez or even Sally Ride doing public service announcements about why science is cool will convince a lot of kids to give up their plans of being a rock star, a fireman, or a fashion model to take up physics. And for $260 million, I think about all you’re going to get is an ad campaign.

Still, the sentiment is in the right place. I’m just skeptical the execution will make a difference. But I’m still hoping.

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