Thursday, August 2, 2007

Science Research and Education to get a boost

US House Resolution 2272 will be voted on today and is expected to be passed by the senate on Friday. This is good news. This bill, called the "America COMPETES Act - Creating Opportunities to Meaningfully Promote Excellence in Technology, Education and Science" is a $40 billion three-year bill that will increase funding to the National Science Foundation. But, more importantly, it provides a big boost to an area that is sorely needed here in the US - grade school Math and Science education. I have long thought that the lack of competent people in the physical sciences stems from early on in the education system. As an educator, I find the decline of students in physical sciences alarming. The number one reason I have observed for this decline is a lack of proper preparation before college in math. Students are opting for, shall I say, more wishy-washy biotechnology majors that don't require the math. My suspicions are confirmed by a recent study showing that High School math is the one thing that best prepares students for successful college physical science courses. Another thing I like about this bill is that it requires the President to hold a summit on American math and science practices and to create a Council on Innovation and Competitiveness. If I may speak frankly, our current President has pushed scientists out of governmental advising roles in favor of incompetent buffoons who believe in magic. I am also not complaining about the $22 billion increase in NSF funding. Their grants are way to small now to support a research program.