How best to improve the nation’s technological competitiveness is not an easy problem to tackle. Senator John Ensign (R-Nev.), Chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Technology, Innovation and Competitiveness, presided over a Senate hearing, Fostering Innovation in Math and Science Education, on Wednesday which explored the importance of science, math, and engineering education in fueling innovation and competition in an increasingly high-tech society. Ensign and fellow panelists discussed science and engineering awareness, rising international competition in innovation and the importance of role models as key factors to get more students into the engineering pipeline.
Of course, this is easier said than done. Panelists, comprised of leaders in education and the hi-tech industry, addressed weaknesses in the American educational system, specifically infrastructure within U.S. schools, the deficiency of minority students in math and science fields, lack of qualified math and science teachers, and the lack of parental support. Solutions to some of these problems surfaced during the course of the day: increased federal support in math and science education — including tax incentives, investments in education from private companies, after-school programs and internships, and, most importantly, motivation.
Image courtesy of The Hill