This week, we welcomed 200 elementary school teachers from around the country to the 2010 national Mickelson ExxonMobil Teachers Academy. We created this program in partnership with PGA golfer Phil Mickelson and his wife, Amy, to help teachers inspire student interest in math and science and help make U.S. students more competitive internationally.
On Monday, Mickelson himself paid a visit to this year’s national academy at the Liberty Science Center in Jersey City, N.J. There, teachers from all 50 states are spending a week sharpening their skills in math and science education and learning innovative new tools to bring back to their classrooms.
I have immense respect for these teachers, because they truly are facing a daunting challenge. At a time when we need more young minds pursuing fields like medicine, computing and energy to keep the U.S. internationally competitive, the reverse is happening in our schools. In a 2007 educational assessment of 30 countries, U.S. 15-year olds ranked 21st in science and 25th in math. Our loss is a big gain for other nations that are gaining strength in these fields.
Mickelson, who won his third Masters tournament earlier this year, has said that helping teachers is the best way to address this national challenge. “We can’t expect to have innovative kids if we don’t have innovative teachers,” Mickelson said. “So, we’re dedicated to giving them the tools to get the job done.”
Since we founded the Academy in 2005, we have trained more than 2,400 teachers in its annual summer programs in New Jersey, Texas and Louisiana. They are just some of the investments that ExxonMobil is making to support U.S. math and science education.
If you or your kids know of a teacher in the third, fourth or fifth grades who deserves this opportunity, go to www.sendmyteacher.com. Nominations for the 2011 Mickelson ExxonMobil Teachers Academy are open until the end of October.