U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan today praised corporate and philanthropic leaders for stepping up to support improvements in science, technology, engineering and mathematics education.
“The president and I believe that ensuring our nation's children are excelling in the STEM fields is essential for our nation's prosperity, security, health and quality of life,” Secretary Duncan said. “All of us need to be engaged in task of improving STEM education. Business leaders and major donors are leading the way, and leaders from other sectors need to join them.”
Duncan attended at an event at the White House where the president addressed the importance of STEM education to a group that included other Cabinet members, business executives, foundation leaders and students from Washington, D.C. schools.
At the event, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Carnegie Corp. of New York, and several corporate leaders announced they will work together to gather support for STEM education and recruit others to join them. They also will raise awareness of the STEM education priority in the department’s $4 billion competition for states to develop comprehensive reform plans under the Race to the Top Fund.
Board members of the new group include Craig Barrett, the former chairman of Intel; Ursula Burns, the chief executive officer of Xerox; Glenn Britt, chairman and CEO of Time Warner Cable; and Antonio Perez of Kodak.
Time Warner Cable committed $100 million in media time and promises to produce shows that promote STEM issues. Media efforts will be launched by other partners, including Discovery Communications and Sesame Street. The MacArthur Foundation and other donors are supporting National Lab Day — an effort to promote and celebrate learning in science labs and other learning environments, and to build communities of support for STEM teachers across the country through the Web site nationallabday.org. National Lab Day will include a year-long effort to expand hands-on learning methods throughout the country.