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Obama Wants More Math And Science Teachers

  • Kent Klein

U.S. President Barack Obama has unveiled a program aimed at training 10,000 new mathematics and science teachers in five years. The president announced the next phase of his Educate to Innovate campaign at the White House.

President Obama says young people in another countries are being better educated in math and science than American teenagers, and something needs to be done about it.

"One assessment shows American 15-year-olds now ranked 21st in science and 25th in math, when compared to their peers around the world," said President Obama. "Think about that, 21st and 25th. That is not acceptable."

Part of the problem, Mr. Obama says, is a shortage of teachers. He says the U.S. will need more than 250,000 teachers in the next five years, many of them in schools that serve poor people and ethnic minorities.

The president says an additional $250 million will be spent on a teacher training program, to improve education in science, technology, engineering and math. The money comes from a partnership between government and private institutions, and follows a $260 million commitment by the administration last year.

"Several new public-private partnerships are going to offer additional training to more than 100,000 teachers, and prepare more than 10,000 new teachers in the next five years alone," said Mr. Obama.

The president made the announcement (Wednesday) as he honored 100 math and science teachers and education groups at the White House.

He also encouraged the 200,000 scientists who work for the federal government to help stimulate young people's interest in science by volunteering in their communities.

The Educate to Innovate campaign is one of several programs intended to help make the U.S. more competitive with other countries in math, science and related fields. It accompanies Mr. Obama's Race to the Top program, in which states apply for a share of $4 billion in grants for education.