President Obama: To Win the Future, America Must Win the Global Competition in Education
| February 22, 2011
The Innovation Economy
In last Saturday’s weekly address, President Obama underscored the vital importance of education to America’s global competitiveness and our long-term economic growth. Speaking at Intel’s Hillsboro, Oregon campus, the President stated:
If we want to win the global competition for new jobs and industries, we’ve got to win the global competition to educate our people. We’ve got to have the best trained, best skilled workforce in the world. (President Barack Obama, Feb. 19 Weekly Address)
Investing in and improving education is vital to our country’s future – particularly in the fields that are leading our technology-based innovation economy: science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
We saw further evidence of this during this past December’s “Education for Innovation: A Digital Town Hall,” with the release of a new report on STEM education from The Information Technology & Innovation Foundation (ITIF): “Refueling the U.S. Innovation Economy.”
For over a half century, science-based innovation has powered America’s economy, creating good jobs, a high standard of living, and U.S. economic and political leadership. Yet, our nation’s global share of activity in STEM-focused industries is in decline, jeopardizing our status as the world’s leader in innovation. Moreover, there is clear evidence that the United States is consistently not able to produce enough of its own STEM workers in key fields (e.g., computer science, electrical engineering), even though the best universities for studying these subjects are U.S.-based. (ITIF, Refueling the U.S. Innovation Economy)
The urgency in this report, underscored by President Obama’s recent statements, demonstrates both our need and our ability to improve U.S. education and ignite a culture of curiosity in our students and our classrooms. During his weekly address, President Obama illustrated the enormous potential of America’s youth:
One young woman, Laurie Rumker, conducted a chemistry experiment to investigate ways to protect our water from pollution. Another student, named Yushi Wang, applied the principles of quantum physics to design a faster computer chip. We’re talking about high school students.
So these have been a tough few years for our country. And in tough times, it’s natural to question what the future holds. But when you meet young people like Laurie and Yushi, it’s hard not to be inspired. And it’s impossible not to be confident about America. (President Barack Obama, Feb. 19 Weekly Address)
By investing in education, we will help to create the next generation of innovators that will build U.S. global competitiveness, drive sustainable economic growth and, as the President said, win the future.
Watch the full video of President Obama’s February 19 weekly address, below.