Blog

STEM Education at the White House

September 6, 2011 by Rita Ferrandino

I recently had the incredible opportunity to attend a session of the Community Leaders Briefing Series at the White House on July 15th, along with about 150 other community leaders from Florida. The Briefing Series is sponsored by the White House Office of Public Engagement, and gives grassroots leaders the opportunity to hear directly from White House officials on issues important to their communities, and to offer feedback to the White House about what is going on at the community level.

During the briefings, I heard from several top administration officials, including Deputy Commerce Secretary and Tampa resident Francisco Sanchez and Deputy NASA Administrator Lori Garver. During the Q&A with top officials, I took the opportunity to voice the need for more investment in STEM education.  For every year that we continue to trail in STEM education, we lose ground in the race for global competitiveness, and we must make science, math, technology and engineering curriculum a priority. We must also start earlier, emphasizing STEM education in elementary school, both because they are more likely to find it more engaging by starting earlier, and because of the cumulative nature of STEM learning.

The visit’s highlight was an unscheduled stop by President Obama after his press conference on the debt ceiling – his direct address to the community leaders certainly highlights the importance of the White House Community Leaders Briefing Series! For more information on this and other White House initiatives, go to www.whitehouse.gov/engage; for more on my visit to Washington, check out our press release here.

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