You may have read discouraging reports about declining performance among U.S. students in math and science, and the trouble it spells for America’s economic future. Today, however, I’m pleased to report another step for a growing movement to reverse this trend and get more students back on the path to excellence in these critical areas of learning.
I’m talking about the launch of Change the Equation, a new initiative announced today at the White House by President Obama. The initiative brings government, corporate and NGO leaders together in a major effort to improve science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education in the United States.
ExxonMobil is proud to be a founding sponsor of Change the Equation.
Change the Equation will mobilize corporate support for improving U.S. STEM education at all grade levels. It seeks to expand the pool of qualified teachers and promote student achievement, especially among women and minorities, in addition to helping share best practices and programs for scaling up across the country.
Our chairman and CEO, Rex Tillerson, attended today’s event and has been named to the board of directors. As a technology-driven company that employs more than 16,000 scientists and engineers, ExxonMobil is excited to support this initiative.
Here’s something I find interesting about Change the Equation: We all know that success in the classroom is driven in part by intangibles — things like inspiration and passion. But to ensure that education investments are being spent effectively, we also need tangible metrics such as goals set, goals met, and scorecards on progress and accountability. These data-based markers, familiar to the business community, are a key part of Change the Equation’s plan for educational success.
ExxonMobil’s support for Change the Equation is part of a broader commitment to math and science education. As we join this effort, we’re also proud to announce that collectively we’re planning to invest more than $120 million over the next three years on math and science education in the U.S. We focus on programs that motivate students to enroll and succeed in challenging courses and develop more qualified teachers. For example, we are a founding sponsor of the National Math and Science Initiative, whose innovative programs have produced amazing results after just two years.
I know that Rex Tillerson is looking forward to helping make Change the Equation a success. We know that fewer U.S. students pursuing careers in math and science — plus greater competition from abroad – equals a challenge to America’s technological and economic competitiveness. We can, and must, change that equation.
I welcome your comments and thoughts.