Obama Meets the Next Generation of Scientists

SCIENCE Meet the teenage (and 7-ear-old!) scientists who exhibited at the 2014 White House Science Fair, which focused on women in STEM fields. (White House blog) Use our resources to help STEM take root. Discussion Ideas After reading a story in National Geographic about the global shortage of metals and elements used in magnets—called “rare earths”—and how important magnets are to objects like motors and … Continue reading Obama Meets the Next Generation of Scientists

China Irked by Obama-Dalai Lama Meeting

POLITICS President Barack Obama recently met with the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual leader, despite China’s appeal not to do so. (CNN) Use our resources to better understand the conflict surrounding Tibet. Discussion Ideas Why does China care if President Obama meets with the Dalai Lama? Read our media spotlight on the Dalai Lama, “Rebirth of a spiritual and political controversy,” for some help. (The … Continue reading China Irked by Obama-Dalai Lama Meeting

So, What’s the State of the Union?

POLITICS “Let’s make this a year of action,” President Barack Obama said in his 2014 State of the Union address. What issues was he talking about, and what actions can the government take? (New York Times) Use our resources to better understand the U.S. government. Discussion Ideas Discuss key issues in the debates surrounding the five key issues addressed in the New York Times article. … Continue reading So, What’s the State of the Union?

Obama Plans ‘Listening Tour’ of Israel

WORLD Obama Plans ‘Listening Tour’ of Israel When U.S. President Barack Obama arrives in Israel on Wednesday, he will not be carrying detailed plans for a Middle East peace process. Instead, Obama has planned a “listening tour,” where he looks forward to hearing both Israeli and Palestinian proposals for increased diplomacy. National Geographic Emerging Explorer Aziz Abu Sarah is a cultural educator working to build … Continue reading Obama Plans ‘Listening Tour’ of Israel

Obama Calls for World-class Education System


Yesterday, President Obama announced a plan to revamp the
nation’s education system in a speech before the United States Hispanic Chamber
of Commerce–a group afflicted by historically low educational achievement
levels among minority youth.

While many are focusing on the president’s calls to expand investment
in charter schools and performance pay for teachers, plans that have met with
opposition from some teachers’ unions and public schools advocates, I’m
choosing to highlight–you guessed it–geographic elements of the proposal.

Obama’s language was replete with references to the global
economy and nationalistic appeals to prepare students for competitive success. He
stipulated the specific goal of leading the world in graduation rates by 2020,
citing this attainment as critical in a 21st century environment where
the growth in communications tools like the internet has brought opportunity to
many and helped level the playing field.

“Let there be no doubt,” Mr. Obama said. “The future belongs
to the nation that best educates its citizens — and my fellow Americans, we
have everything we need to be that nation (as quoted in the NY Times).”

Continue reading “Obama Calls for World-class Education System”