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Educate to Innovate

November 30, 2009

A Saline High School faculty member recently sent me the text from President Obama’s recent announcement about his “Educate to Innovate” campaign.  The effort is aimed at moving America to the top of the pack globally in the area of science and math achievement over the next decade. In the speech he made a couple interesting statements.  One was related to starting a “White House Science Fair.”

He stated, “I’m announcing that we’re going to have an annual science fair at the White House with the winners of national competitions in science and technology. If you win the NCAA championship, you come to the White House. Well, if you’re a young person and you’ve produced the best experiment or design, the best hardware or software, you ought to be recognized for that achievement, too. Scientists and engineers ought to stand side by side with athletes and entertainers as role models, and here at the White House we’re going to lead by example. We’re going to show young people how cool science can be.”

I am excited to hear about the shifting focus to highlighting hands-on learning opportunities.  In many ways, the access to information is everywhere.  However, to create or add value our students will need to be able to use critical thinking skills, imagination and take chances on big ideas.  President Obama also made some excellent points about the crisis we are currently facing.

“This nation wasn’t built on greed. It wasn’t built on reckless risk. It wasn’t built on short-term gains and shortsighted policies. It was forged on stronger stuff, by bold men and women who dared to invent something new or improve something old — who took big chances on big ideas, who believed that in America all things are possible. That’s our history. And, if we remain fixed on the work ahead, if we build on the progress we’ve made today, this is going to be our legacy as well.”

As an educator, I need to practice what I preach and be willing to take big chances on big ideas.

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