Obama Beats the Drum for Science Education

Two weeks shy of its first anniversary, the Obama Administration still seems to be in campaign mode when it comes to science and math education.

Speaking today at a White House event honoring the nation's top elementary school teachers and scientist-mentors, President Barack Obama gave a stump-like speech about the need "to move from the middle to the top of the pack in science and math education over the next decade." He applauded the growing number of companies, foundations, universities, and organizations investing in myriad programs to improve science, technology, engineering, and  math education, an activity that the Administration has labeled "Educate to Innovate."

He touted a Department of Education program, not yet implemented, that offers up to $4 billion to states that promise to raise student achievement and improve the quality of their teachers training. He even recycled part of the speech he gave in November when the Administration launched the initiative, which is seen as a complement to federal efforts.

Through such events—the teaching awards have been given out since 1983, but rarely do they feature public remarks by the president—the Administration is raising expectations that the state of U.S. science education will improve on its watch. And at some point campaign promises won't be good enough.