Monday, November 17, 2008

Obama-Biden: 'Science, Technology and Innovation for a New Generation'

BDPA members should be aware of the Science, Technology and Innovation Plan promised by Barack Obama and Joe Biden during the recent campaign. We need to follow-up to ensure that these plans are put into action. More importantly, we need to ensure that our organization supports this plan on a local and national level.

Here are some of the highlights from the Barack-Biden plans:

  • Bring Government into the 21st Century: Barack Obama and Joe Biden will use technology to reform government and improve the exchange of information between the federal government and citizens while ensuring the security of our networks. Obama and Biden believe in the American people and in their intelligence, expertise, and ability and willingness to give and to give back to make government work better. Obama will appoint the nation's first Chief Technology Officer (CTO) to ensure that our government and all its agencies have the right infrastructure, policies and services for the 21st century. The CTO will ensure the safety of our networks and will lead an interagency effort, working with chief technology and chief information officers of each of the federal agencies, to ensure that they use best-in-class technologies and share best practices.

  • Deploy Next-Generation Broadband: Barack Obama believes that America should lead the world in broadband penetration and Internet access. As a country, we have ensured that every American has access to telephone service and electricity, regardless of economic status, and Obama will do likewise for broadband Internet access. Obama and Biden believe we can get true broadband to every community in America through a combination of reform of the Universal Service Fund, better use of the nationʼs wireless spectrum, promotion of next-generation facilities, technologies and applications, and new tax and loan incentives.

  • Make the R&D Tax Credit Permanent: Barack Obama wants investments in a skilled research and development workforce and technology infrastructure to be supported here in America so that American workers and communities will benefit.

  • Make Math and Science Education a National Priority: Obama and Biden will recruit math and science degree graduates to the teaching profession and will support efforts to help these teachers learn from professionals in the field. He will also work to ensure that all children have access to a strong science curriculum at all grade levels.

  • Improve and Prioritize Science Assessments: Science assessments need to do more than test facts. They need to measure a student's higher order thinking skills including inference, logic, data analysis, interpretation, forming questions and communication. Barack Obama and Joe Biden will work with governors and educators to ensure that state assessments measure these skills.

  • Address the Dropout Crisis: Obama and Biden will address the dropout crisis by passing his legislation to provide funding to school districts to invest in intervention strategies in middle school - strategies such as personal academic plans, teaching teams, parent involvement, mentoring, intensive reading and math instruction, and extended learning time.

  • Pinpoint College Aid for Math and Science Students: In 2007, Barack Obama introduced the National STEM Scholarship Database Act, which would launch an innovative online database to coordinate information on financial aid opportunities available in science and technology fields through the federal government and public or private resources. Access to this information is especially crucial for first generation college students who might otherwise receive limited guidance in how to successfully pursue, and finance, a degree in science or technology.

  • Increase Science and Math Graduates: Obama and Biden will improve science and math education in K through 12, to prepare more students for these studies in college. They will work to increase our number of science and engineering graduates and encourage undergraduates studying math and science to pursue graduate studies. They will also work to increase the representation of minorities and women in the science and technology pipeline, tapping the diversity of America to meet the increasing demand for a skilled workforce. The challenges of the 21st century can only be met by combining many skills from people with many backgrounds. America's diversity is a clear competitive advantage if we use it.

    It will be nice to have a president who wants to protect the openness of the Internet, deploy a modern communications infrastructure and improve America's competitiveness through science and technology.

    What are your thoughts on these high-level plans?
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