White House Announces 'Change the Equation' Initiative

White House Announces 'Change the Equation' Initiative

The White House has announced the launch of Change the Equation (CTEq), a public-private partnership designed to cultivate widespread literacy in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).

An offshoot of the $250 million public-private Educate to Innovate initiative, CTEq has received commitments from more than a hundred companies and several foundations that are dedicated to preparing U.S. students for STEM-related careers as an investment in business, the economy, and the country's future. In collaboration with the Obama administration, state houses nationwide, and the education and foundation communities, CTEq aims to improve STEM teaching at all grade levels with a larger and more racially, ethnically, and gender-diverse pool of highly capable STEM teachers; deepen student appreciation and excitement for STEM programs and careers, especially among women and students of color; and achieve a sustained commitment to the STEM movement through communication, collaboration, and data-based decision making.

In its first year, CTEq will work to establish a set of criteria to help guide the initiative and its member companies in defining program success, create a state-by-state scorecard to assess the condition of STEM education across the country, and launch a core set of programs at a hundred sites across the country. The initiative's board is made up of executives from ExxonMobil, which has committed $120 million to the initiative; Intel, which invests $100 million in education annually; Time Warner Cable; the Eastman Kodak Company; Sally Ride Science; and Xerox. Additional corporate and foundation partners include Texas Instruments, Bayer, JPMorgan Chase, Oracle, Boeing, Samsung, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, and the Bill & Melinda Gates and S.D. Bechtel, Jr. foundations.

According to a Center on Education and the Workforce report, there will be eight million job openings in STEM-related fields by 2018, although the next generation of U.S. workers will be unprepared and unqualified to take advantage of many of those positions. Meanwhile, a CTEq-funded survey found that nearly three-in-ten adults believe they are not good at math, an attitude especially prevalent among younger Americans.

"'I can't do math' has become an iconic excuse in our society," said Linda Rosen, CEO of CTEq. "Many Americans have expressed it, but I don't believe it's an accurate reflection of who we are or, more importantly, what we can do....If we don't encourage our children and students to get excited about math as well as science, technology, and engineering, we are denying them the chance to reach their potential and be prepared for a future filled with opportunity."