President Obama’s efforts to regain America’s economic edge by ramping up science, engineering, technology and math businesses has a fan in Bill Nye, the Science Guy.
Fresh from attending the White House’s third annual Science Fair, Nye spoke this week with the Huffington Post about the smart intersections of science and technology. Nye emphasized a point I’ve often made: America’s success depends on getting more at-risk students to take STEM courses.
The White House last month announced the US2020 campaign encouraging companies to commit 20 percent of their tech employees to 20 hours a year of mentoring or teaching by the year 2020.
Local examples lead the way on the president’s efforts, particularly the robotics club at Tacoma’s Lincoln Center High School. The club is receving widespread recognition, including an expected visit Friday by Gov. Jay Inslee, for computer application designs and a partnership with Bellevue-based Concur Technologies. Employees from Concur have been teaching Lincoln Center students basic coding and software development.
On the national level, Nye – a popular scientist who hosts television shows on PBS, The Science Channel, and Planet Green – is optimistic about the president’s efforts to harness private companies and government efforts. He also underscores something I believe will be the best thing to come out of all the attention on STEM: every student getting a solid ground in science and technology regardless of their career aspirations.
“We want our whole society to know and appreciate the value of science … whether or not you become scientist or an engineer,” Nye told the Huffington Post.
President Obama has committed $3.2 billion to bolstering STEM education in K-12 education and creating a teaching corps with expertise in STEM fields. Other critical initiatives include encouraging more girls to study STEM as this Seattle Times op-ed noted last fall. Nye, film actor LeVar Burton and others talk about STEM on the White House lawn in the video below.