23 February 2012
The Obama administration recently released its proposed fiscal 2013 budget. In it, the president seeks $80 million in new government funding to boost science and math programs in schools. We hear this pretty much every budget season from every president (this is the second attempt from Mr. Obama), so I can't blame you for thinking you've heard this tune before.
The hook in this proposal is that the money would be used to train 100,000 specialized teachers so we can graduate 1 million more science, engineering and math students in the next decade.
When we visited Don Morgan at Brooks County High School in rural Georgia recently, we were struck by his passion and dedication.
At the end of our several-hour visit with him, I said, "Don, I think if we could have a thousand more like you, our future would be bright indeed."
He replied, "Well, we need at least 100,000 to make a difference." It seems there aren't many specializing in secondary schools at what he teaches.
It's likely Don did not know that this budget proposal was in the works, but in retrospect, he looks both brilliant and prescient.
Given all the talk and the politics and the history, do you think programs like this can make a difference? I know there are a lot of you semi-retired, unemployed, under-employed engineers who would be perfect fits for these types of jobs. But is it enough? Is it the right approach to lay the foundation for a real 21st century workforce?
What do you think?