Efforts Will Bring Together Children, Families, Teachers, Businesses and World Leaders in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics
The USA Science & Engineering Festival (www.USAScienceFestival.org), supported by presenting host sponsor Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT], is pleased to announce the passage by the U.S. Senate of Senate Resolution 329, which “Express(es) support for the goals and ideals of the biennial USA Science & Engineering Festival in Washington, D.C. and designati(es) the last week of April 2014 as ‘‘National Science Week.” The resolution was introduced by Sen. Chris Coons (DE), who was joined by a bipartisan group in co-sponsoring his efforts, including Sen. Kirk (IL), Sen. Rockefeller (WV), Sen. Alexander (TN), Sen. Baucus (MT), Sen. Crapo (ID) and Sen. Durbin (IL).
The USA Science & Engineering Festival was co-founded by serial entrepreneur Larry Bock and Lockheed Martin Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, Dr. Ray O. Johnson. The Festival will take place April 25-27, 2014 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C. The free, nonprofit Festival will serve to highlight our Nation’s commitment to Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). It is the largest STEM event in the world, with over 350,000 attendees expected. The Festival is filled with hands-on exhibits, experiments, concerts and talks from leading technology entrepreneurs, Nobel Prize winning scientists, Hollywood celebrities, Fortune 500 CEOs and many others.
Twenty years ago, the U.S. led the world in high school graduates; now we are a mere 20th. And of the students who do graduate, only 30% are ready for college level science and 45% for the rigors of collegiate mathematics. The World Economic Forum ranks the United States 52nd in the quality of mathematics and science education. This drop is having a noticeable effect, as over half of all U.S. patents are now awarded to non-U.S. companies. Numerous reports, including the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine’s “Rising Above the Gathering Storm” report, sound a clarion’s call that we are a “nation at risk.” Today, for the first time in history, America’s younger generation is less well educated than its parents. The creation of a National Science Week —to be celebrated at the USA Science & Engineering Festival— is one big step in the right direction of recognizing that STEM is once again a national priority.
“If our nation is to remain a leader in scientific research, innovation, and the development of new technologies, the next generation of American workers must be better educated and more skilled – especially in science, technology, engineering, and math,” said Senator Chris Coons. He added, “A quality STEM education is the best gift we can give our children to ensure they are prepared for the jobs that will power our 21st century economy. The USA Science & Engineering Festival is a strong promoter of American STEM leadership and I am proud to join my colleagues in recognizing its important contribution to our nation.”
“A Nation gets what it celebrates, and if we celebrate reality TV stars and athletes instead of great scientists, technology entrepreneurs, engineers and mathematicians, future generations of Americans will suffer for it,” said Larry Bock. He added, “We thank the U.S. Senate for their support and efforts in creating National Science Week and strengthening the STEM educational foundation of our nation, which is vital to our future economy and the health, safety and well- being of America’s families.”
“Fewer than 50 percent of high school graduates are prepared for college-level math and science classes,” noted Senator Mark Kirk. Adding, “We can and must do better. Investing in STEM education will help prepare our kids to compete in a global marketplace and keep Illinois at the forefront of high-quality research. The USA Science & Engineering Festival particularly is important to Illinois because of our two national laboratories – Fermi and Argonne – that lead the world in innovation and technology development. I’m honored to help highlight this important event.”
“Innovation, technology, and engineering continue to be essential to America’s economic development, and they will only become more important to our global competitiveness in the years ahead,” said Dr. Johnson. He added, “It is imperative that the academic, business, and government leaders of our nation work together to celebrate the STEM fields. Initiatives like National Science Week and the USA Science & Engineering Festival serve to awaken a passion for curiosity in our young people and influence conditions that will accelerate U.S. productivity, strengthen our economy and ensure the prosperity of our citizens.”
The U.S. House of Representatives has introduced a similar Resolution, H. Res 276, Co- Sponsored by Rep. Randy Hultgren (IL) and Rep. Joe Kennedy (MA). Members of Congress, the Obama Administration and numerous federal agencies will be among those participating in this groundbreaking and vital event in our Nation’s Capital and supporting National Science Week.