The Innovation Agenda

Posted on December 3, 2005  Comments (3)

Democrat’s are proposing an Innovation Agenda, including:

Educate 100,000 new scientists, engineers, and mathematicians in the next four years by proposing a new initiative, working with states, businesses, and universities, to provide scholarships to qualified students who commit to working in the fields of innovation.

Place a highly qualified teacher in every math and science K-12 classroom by offering upfront tuition assistance to talented undergraduates and by paying competitive salaries to established teachers working in the fields of math and science; institute a “call to action” to professional engineers and scientists, including those who have retired, to join the ranks of our nation’s teachers.

Create a special visa for the best and brightest international doctoral and postdoctoral scholars in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Make college tuition tax-deductible for students studying math, science, technology, and engineering.

They also propose doubling the funding for the National Science Foundation. Making promises about what you will do is much different than actually doing something: lets see what actually happens.

Currently the United States has over $8,000,000,000,000 (that is over $8 trillion – see current count) in debt (increasing by over $400 Billion a year). That brings every person’s share to over $27,000. Given that, it seems reckless to just add spending without either cutting something else or increasing taxes and I don’t see those details in the innovation agenda. Of course, my opinion on that being reckless may not be shared by a majority choosing to spend more money – after all they have been adding to that debt at a record pace the last few years.

To me, the most realistic federal action, given the role of the federal government (k-12 education is primarily a state and local responsibility) is the scholarship proposal but lets see what actually happens. In July we posted about proposed Science and Engineering Fellowships Legislation (which also seems like a good idea). We have not been able to find out about any progress on that legislation. From the November AAAS S&T newsletter:

Meanwhile, across the Capitol, Senators Joe Lieberman (D-CT) and John Ensign (R-NV) are currently drafting bipartisan legislation to implement a series of policies based on the “National Innovation Initiative” report from the Council on Competitiveness. The legislation, which the senators originally planned to introduce in September, has reportedly been delayed by lack of agreement on its immigration provisions.

I am not certain whether the legislation being worked on includes the fellowships or not (though I would guess that it does).

3 Responses to “The Innovation Agenda”

  1. CuriousCat: FDA May Make Decision That Will Speed Antibiotic Drug Resistance
    June 3rd, 2007 @ 1:02 pm

    You would think that adults would be able to understand that just because consequences will be delayed a few years that doesn’t mean you should allow special interests to get what they want today. But the deficit (nearly $8,800,000,000,000 for the federal government now) provides a visible sign how much they care about future consequences of their actions…

  2. CuriousCat: Science Interview with John Edwards
    July 11th, 2007 @ 8:19 am

    The answers overall seem to be lacking in specifics. While providing a show of support for science they don’t seem to offer much else.

  3. Curious Cat » Proposed Legislation on Science and Education
    February 23rd, 2008 @ 6:50 pm

    Each year, up to 25,000 bright young Americans would receive a 4-year competitive scholarship to earn a bachelor’s degree in science, engineering or math…

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