Posted by: COSI | November 25, 2009

COSI Links With National Education Priorities

I’m spending the week in the Washington, DC area—partly for meetings with national and international organizations that COSI is affiliated with and importantly to also play grandpa to our little Leah 😉

When in DC, you hear about multiple governmental announcements and stories each day—it’s part of life “inside the beltway.” I was glad to be here though and getting detailed news about the President’s announcement of his Educate to Innovate initiative in partnership with multiple companies and organizations. The announcement was of import to us at COSI and other science centers as the initiative recognizes the power of support for science investigation and learning not only in the classroom but in community resources as well.

And the objectives expressed in this new initiative mirror exactly how we see our role at COSI, as highlighted in the following statement contained in President Obama’s comments at the White House:

Everyone in this room understands how important science and math can be. And it goes beyond the facts in a biology textbook or the questions on an algebra quiz. It’s about the ability to understand our world: to harness and train that human capacity to solve problems and think critically, a set of skills that informs the decisions we make throughout our lives. So, yes, improving education in math and science is about producing engineers and researchers and scientists and innovators who are going to help transform our economy and our lives for the better. But it’s also about something more. It’s about expanding opportunity for all Americans in a world where an education is the key to success. It’s about an informed citizenry in an era where many of the problems we face as a nation are, at root, scientific problems. And it’s about the power of science to not only unlock new discoveries, but to unlock in the minds of our young people a sense of promise, a sense that with some hard work—with effort—they have the potential to achieve extraordinary things.

A video of the President’s announcement is available here:

The partners in this initiative include Time Warner Cable, our new sponsor of after school programming and special monthly science days that COSI will implement with their support. In addition to what takes place in the classroom, there are so many learning opportunities with the often non-productive (even destructive) time children and youth have out-of-school. COSI and science center colleagues around the country are developing more partnerships with schools and others to bring our special opportunities, engagement with science and technology, and resources to play an increasing role.

Coincidentally, the same day as the Educate to Innovate announcement, the Wall Street Journal published a special CEO Council report. Several Columbus area CEO’s—Michael Morris of AEP, George Barrett of Cardinal Health, and James Hagedorn of Scotts Miracle-Gro Company were participants—all partners and supporters of COSI’s educational efforts. The group defined and discussed top national priorities. Interestingly, the group of 100 top CEO’s in the U.S. concluded that “Education is an urgent national priority—well ahead of health care, climate change and financial regulatory reform…”

Wow, that says something.

We are linking with more partners locally and nationally to expand and enhance what we can do to support lifelong learning—building on that special skill set we’ve developed of linking and engaging people with the wonders and power of science and technology. You can see the variety of ways in which we’re putting forth our efforts by scanning our web site. My time in DC is partly to expand and link that through national and international partnerships.

During this time of thanks, I’m thankful that at COSI we have the talent and resources to make a difference. The challenge at times is knowing where to focus.

What do you think are the most important areas of learning for COSI to focus on?

What do you see as COSI’s most important, maybe unique, strengths to bring to the national priority of a scientifically literate and comfortable society?

I think about these questions constantly with our team here—any thoughts are always appreciated.


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