According to Jim: America Competes?

By Gallagher, James J. | Roeper Review, January-March 2009 | Go to article overview
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According to Jim: America Competes?


Gallagher, James J., Roeper Review


Our country seems to be in a massive depression about our status in the world. Obviously, we are being pursued by China, India, and others who are rapidly catching up to us in technology and economic prowess. We are hamstrung further by paying for two costly wars and dependence on foreign oil. Many are wondering if the next generation will have as good a life as we have had.

A recent report is worth reading. It is Rising Above the Gathering Storm and was produced by the National Academies of Science. It was generated by an impressive group of university presidents and Nobel prize winners. This report's recommendations have been placed into legislation titled the America Competes Act of 2007.

This bill received bipartisan support and was signed into law by the president in August 2007. Its three goals are

1. Increasing research investment.

2. Strengthening K-12 educational opportunities in science, technology engineering, and mathematics.

3. Creating the conditions for innovation and creativity.

The relationship between this law and gifted students is obvious and seems to parallel the work done in the National Science Foundation curriculum projects (e.g., School Mathematics Study Group [SMSG], Physical Science Study Committee [PSSC], and the Biological Sciences Curriculum Study [BSCS]) almost 40 years ago. Along with authorizing the doubling of the funds to the National Science Foundation so that we can explore nanotechnology, supercomputing, and alternative energy sources it has a number of specifics for education, as follows:

1. Competitive grants to states to promote better alignment of elementary and secondary education with the knowledge and skills needed for success in postsecondary education.

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