Math Science Education: Worth All That $$$

Original: February 22, 2011 Issue 11

Point

By: Sarah Elborai

Staff Writer

Math and sciences are important for every age and grade and they are among the most popular majors chosen for undergraduate study. Nonetheless, President Obama has stated the reality of the situation and its importance, “The quality of our math and science education lags behind many other nations. America has fallen to ninth in the proportion of young people with a college degree.

And so the question is whether all of us — as citizens, and as parents — are willing to do what’s necessary to give every child a chance to succeed.” I agree with the President’s statement. I believe that math and sciences do require an increase in funding due to advancements in technology and their importance in many careers. An increase in funding would help motivate students in these areas of study and encourage them to work hard and aim for their highest goals.

In addition, the increase in funding would help the United States competition against other nations like China and India who already start educating their children earlier, for longer while focusing more on math and science. This leads to innovative research and new technologies.

“We desire to highlight the great work that you guys are doing in math and science and engineering, because we want the kind of success that we’re seeing at this school spread all across the country. And that requires we make investments in great teachers and good equipment and labs and the Internet. And it means that we’ve got to make sure that we’re emphasizing every day how important education is and we’re putting our money behind it,” said Obama at Parkville Middle School and Center of Technology in Baltimore, Md.

In keeping with his statement, the President added that U.S. states who boost science and mathematics education will be eligible for extra funding from a $5 billion program called Race to the Top.

Saying that we shouldn’t see an increase in funding, is like saying we don’t want our children to get the most out of their education. So for those who say we cannot afford to invest in science, that support for research is somehow a luxury at moments defined by necessities, know the President fundamentally disagrees.

A commitment for an increase in Math and Science funding is essential in order to fulfill many children’s hopes and aspirations towards their majors and careers in the future.

Counterpoint

By: Hiba Ahmed

Staff Writer

Ladies and gentlemen let me present to you a topic of controversy: something that will affect our country and our lives drastically, a concern that may live as one of America’s greatest mistake! This concern stems from the budgeting plans that our dear President Obama has proposed for educational systems nationwide.

Obama stated that in spite of the big deficit coming from our most recent recession, like most families in debt he will make an effort to cut down on unnecessary expenses and set aside money for funding science and math departments. Obama explained that with an increased number of people studying for 21st century jobs, such as those in the engineering and medical line, we must keep up and make sure that they have all of the necessary tools to become successful. President Obama claimed that the future is steadily approaching and that we need to be ready for it.

Well alright, I’ll agree that the future is steadily approaching and that most big budget jobs and high end careers have a lot to do with science and mathematics. Yet, does he realize that without smaller companies and careers, high end careers would never have progressed as far as they have.

Take a look at arts students for instance, what will happen to the students who, for centuries, have been the main force behind America’s growing cultural scene. Without art or theater majors how can we expect to have the culture that we are well known for. Without culture our nation would seem like nothing more than a factory with absolutely no creativity or room for entertainment.

Culture is just as important as technological innovation because it is the only factor that will describe this time period that we live in, years from now. Without luxurious theater, film, artistic or fashion careers, there would be virtually nothing for engineers, doctors or even the president to use as a source of relaxation from a hard day at work. Think about that, President Obama.

It is absolutely crucial that smaller majors get as much attention as popular majors, not just because they immensely influence our culture, but because it could vastly affect our class system. If students in the future only focused on math and science to join careers with high pay, what will happen to those who are not so good at math and science?

They would end up at low paying jobs and at the low end of the class system. The class system would only be comprised of those who are rich and successful and considered to be smart.

The exasperating part of it is that we do not have to be amazing at math or science to be smart and make a contribution to society. Other subjects deserve just as much attention, such as history and English. Without subjects like these, where would our lawyers or writers be?

What about salaries? How would that play into things? If we only focus on math and science courses, there would be a shortage of teachers, much more than we already have. Teacher’s salaries are often cut. If no one wants to become a teacher, these classes that Obama is putting an increase in funding on, will not be taught.

Furthermore, how does Obama plan on getting the cash for all of his plans? Surely, our taxes would be affected in some way and so would, again, salaries. With so many people joining the high-end career market there would be a shortage of jobs and some would end up with low paying jobs, which is not fair in its own right.

Clearly, there are many factors that must be taken into account before President Obama makes the decision to increase funding in math and science courses. Until he observes these factors, and finds a solution to each and every one of them, I believe this budget plan for 2012 should be put to a halt immediately.