National Academies Press: Rising Above The Gathering Storm
There's a new report out from the National Academies called Rising Above The Gathering Storm: Energizing and Employing America for a Brighter Economic Future. (It's free to download the pdf, although for some reason they make you give out your e-mail address and zip code.) Thomas Friedman wrote about it today, although I won't bother linking since I assume most of my readers don't have TimesSelect.
However, here's Friedman's synopsis of the report's recommendations, and I think it's a pretty good list:
(1) Annually recruiting 10,000 science and math teachers by awarding four-year merit-based scholarships, to be paid back through five years of K-12 public school teaching. (We have too many unqualified science and math teachers.)
(2) Strengthening the math and science skills of 250,000 other teachers through extracurricular programs.
(3) Creating opportunities and incentives for many more middle school and high school students to take advanced math and science courses, by offering, among other things, $100 mini-scholarships for success in exams, and creating more specialty math-and-science schools.
(4) Increasing federal investment in long-term basic research by 10 percent a year over the next seven years.
(5) Annually providing research grants of $500,000 each, payable over five years, to 200 of America's most outstanding young researchers.
(6) Creating a new Advanced Research Projects Agency in the Energy Department to support "creative out-of-the-box transformational energy research that industry by itself cannot or will not support and in which risk may be high, but success would provide dramatic benefits for the nation."
(7) Granting automatic one-year visa extensions to foreign students in the U.S. who receive doctorates in science, engineering or math so they can seek employment here, and creating 5,000 National Science Foundation-administered graduate fellowships to increase the number of U.S. citizens earning doctoral degrees in fields of "national need."
You already know where I'm going with this, though. How seriously can we take the government's recommendations about beefing up academic research when the government wants to pollute young minds with the pseudo science of intelligent design? I'd really love to see some recommendations about taking science education seriously at the elementary level, which of course would include basic facts about what a scientific theory is, and why evolution is such a strong theory that it serves as the bedrock of biology.