In a September 16, 2010 White House press release President Barack Obama announced the expansion of his “Educate to Innovate” campaign with the launch of an organization called Change the Equation. Change the Equation is a new non-profit organization led by a network of 100 corporate chief executive officers (CEO) who will collaborate in an effort to help achieve the President’s goal to improve U.S. students’ performance in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). According to its website www.changetheequation.org , Change the Equation aligns corporate efforts in STEM education to ensure real, measurable growth in student achievement and STEM fluency. The organization states that it will work toward three critical goals:
• Improving STEM teaching;
• Inspiring student appreciation of STEM; and
• Achieving a sustained national commitment to improving STEM education.
In its first year of operation Change the Equation will, among other things, work with its member companies to extend a small number of successful privately-funded programs to 100 high-need schools and communities across the country. With first-year funding of $5 million, the CEO-led organization is in a unique position to achieve its goals, according to the White House press release. The organization’s founders include former NASA astronaut Sally Ride, former Intel Chairman Craig Barratt, Xerox CEO Ursula Burns, Time Warner Cable CEO Glenn Britt and Eastman Kodak CEO Antonio Perez. The organization receives support from the Bill and Melissa Gates Foundation and the Carnegie Corporation of New York.
On the same day as the White House press release regarding President Obama’s expansion of his “Educate to Innovate” campaign, Education Week reported online that the potential political shake-up in Congress after the November 2010 elections may make it more difficult for the President to continue to move forward with his agenda for education reform through the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, aka No Child Left Behind, in 2011. Many congressional representatives and their constituents have expressed dissatisfaction with the growing federal role in k-12 education expressed in the President’s Blueprint for Education Reform published in March 2010 and the Race to the Top Competition. On the other hand, many members of Congress agree that the legislation needs a major overhaul. More details about the debate can be reviewed at www.edweek.org in the article titled K-12 Policy Shifts Loom in GOP Surge.