PDA

View Full Version : The President gets it !!!!


JohnBoucher
03-20-2009, 06:20 AM
From the Tonight Show transcript 03/19/09
And what we need is steady growth; we need young people, instead of -- a smart kid coming out of school, instead of wanting to be an investment banker, we need them to decide they want to be an engineer, they want to be a scientist, they want to be a doctor or a teacher. And if we're rewarding those kinds of things that actually contribute to making things and making people's lives better, that's going to put our economy on solid footing.

XXShadowXX
03-20-2009, 07:12 AM
And where is the national funding for FIRST?

swamp_child
03-20-2009, 07:19 AM
Seriously I know we could use a few thousand dollars more. I wish FIRST got some of that bailout money, I know we would use it better than the AIG executives.

J_Greco
03-20-2009, 07:22 AM
This shows why Dean goes after politicians all the time. Politicians, like the President, seems to understand that scientists, engineers, docters, etc. are important and that developing these skills in high school is crucial. What they don't all understand it that FIRST is the program that does this! The President, as well as other politicians, should still be invited to FIRST events, even though it was Dean's Homework for 2007 (and there is more homework to be completed this year!), so they can see the program that really makes a difference!

Rich Kressly
03-20-2009, 08:08 AM
This shows why Dean goes after politicians all the time. Politicians, like the President, seems to understand that scientists, engineers, docters, etc. are important and that developing these skills in high school is crucial. What they don't all understand it that FIRST is the program that does this! The President, as well as other politicians, should still be invited to FIRST events, even though it was Dean's Homework for 2007 (and there is more homework to be completed this year!), so they can see the program that really makes a difference!

You have part of the picture of what it will take to get anything meaningful done on a large scale.

1. Awareness of the problem(s) and potential solution(s)
2. Awareness that FIRST and other similar programs exist and are attempting to meet the need.
3. Public commitment/pledge of support
-------------------------------------------------
1 through 3 are a nice start and Dean (and others) have been able to get to this point at state and even federal levels in some cases. However, the real, lasting, meaningful culture change takes place one student, mentor, school, and community at a time. Thus, even if a Governor, Senator, President promises widespread support and even if they find a way to appropriate funds in the direction of these programs, there is still the need for:
-------------------------------------------------
4. Refocusing of the educational system as a whole in order to get the "No Child Left Behind Act" working for its originally intended purposes. Using the one size fits all standardized testing model to gauge our progress may be cost-efficient, but it sure as heck flies in the face of all current and semi-current research which shows us unconditionally that there are many ways to cultivate, measure, and reward excellence. The time in schools we spend teaching "to the test" so students can jump through a hoop all in the name of convincing ourselves this is the way to a better future is, well, frustrating at best.

5. An investment in our future so businesses, school systems, and govt. agencies encourage, reward, and create incentives for employees to participate with students in these programs as part of their professional responsibilities. This happens in small pockets (thanks to Dave and others),but we need the federal support for the local folks to think differently about what our work day looks like on a grand scale. Right now too many of us lose money, time, and even put our jobs in jeopardy to a certain degree just to be able to help out and run teams and events. Appropriating funds is only worthwhile if we also empower enough of the right people to execute the mission on a daily basis. Preparing students for a 21st Century world when many of us are confined, constrained, and beaten down by a 19th Century mentality is a huge obstacle to our efficiency and productivity. Right now it takes extraordinary and creative efforts to do what we do.
--------------------------------------------------

Don't get me wrong, I'm wholly encouraged by the President's comments. Publicly stating the right thing can certainly create positive rumblings in the culture, however actually affecting the decisions and helping 4 and 5 above to happen is much more difficult work - and for some public officials would be political suicide to mention that we need such overall reform.

Here's to hoping these comments are ones that will be backed by real, systemic, meaningful action.

JaneYoung
03-20-2009, 08:40 AM
We encourage teams to develop short term and long term goals. To develop and maintain business plans. In other words to use a lot of common sense when helping the team to remain stable, sustainable, and prepared for achievement and success.

Businesses need to do this same thing, as well as the educational system, the health system, the political system - everyone should use some common sense and develop good business practices that will help develop the communities and the nations. We see too many times that money that is not used wisely and with careful thought and planning can be frittered away and misspent. So can time, energy, and reputation.

It's easy to say that we need engineers, teachers, scientists, and doctors. It's another thing to provide sound opportunities for these professions to develop and thrive, helping to create change. And to give them the respect that they deserve. I have never understood why teachers are so underpaid and so overworked - and continue to be.

Thank you for your insight, Rich.

Jane

Team2339
03-20-2009, 09:17 AM
Exellent comments Rich.

Team 2339 is in it's second year at Antelope Valley High School. Next year the district has approved a robotics class as an A thru G elective ( UC credit)based on our performance and efforts. This is where the paradigm shift needs to occur, one school at a time, one class at a time. Ultimately the education system will evolve, sometimes kicking and screaming, but evole it shall!

One factor leading to the creation of the class was the axiom:
"Applied knowledge is this generation's version of wood and metal shop. Instead of making chairs and boxes, we are working with robots.:) "

JesseK
03-20-2009, 09:20 AM
You know, I just had a conversation with someone at the Florida regional who told me that high schools (http://www.thefreelibrary.com/SCHOOL+DISTRICT+APPROVES+CONTRACT+STADIUM+AND+TRAC K+INCLUDED+IN+WORK-a0115536364) in the U.S. spend $millions (http://www.allbusiness.com/company-activities-management/sales-selling/10379843-1.html) on their football stadiums and sport arenas (http://www.nwaonline.net/articles/2008/03/04/news/030508bzmillage.prt). It's pretty shocking when you consider that 'non-sport activities' keep having their budgets cut, and cut, and cut. I've said it before and I'll say it again: the community that supports something will pay for something, regardless of what it takes. To realign things for academia (including Band, Arts, Music, Wood Shop, Robotics, etc), there has to be local culture shifts before we can do a nationwide culture shift.

I think the next political step isn't just to have Congress appropriate funds for FIRST; actually if you understand the way federal educational appropriations work, you would know that the funds MUST be for federal programs only. Since education is a state-level line item, it would be up to all of us in FIRST to get to our district representatives for the state we live in, and get them involved. Then the step after that is to get the school boards involved, which is, I believe, the hardest part because the communities we live in directly interact with the school board on a daily basis. Hence, if you truly influence your community, you will eventually change your school board's mind. Obama's words are a start to get a spark going nationwide, but don't think for a second that they alone change anything.

J_Greco
03-20-2009, 10:02 AM
Don't get me wrong, I'm wholly encouraged by the President's comments. Publicly stating the right thing can certainly create positive rumblings in the culture, however actually affecting the decisions and helping 4 and 5 above to happen is much more difficult work - and for some public officials would be political suicide to mention that we need such overall reform.

Here's to hoping these comments are ones that will be backed by real, systemic, meaningful action.

It's easy to say that we need engineers, teachers, scientists, and doctors. It's another thing to provide sound opportunities for these professions to develop and thrive, helping to create change. And to give them the respect that they deserve. I have never understood why teachers are so underpaid and so overworked - and continue to be.

Thank you for your insight, Rich.

Jane

I couldn't agree more. This is why it is so important the FIRST exists to inspire kids to pursue these careers. Perhaps the government will provide opportunities for these professions to develop and better our society if it is able to notice the impact that FIRST has on youth today. So, in a sense, FIRST could be a means by which society can begin to reasses its priorities. That is not to say that other measures should not be taken, but FIRST is certainly helping.

Hopefully, society will begin to appreciate the heros that really matter (engineers, teachers, scientists, etc.), and then politicians would be able to advocate the programs and priorities that will truly help us to advance.

JaneYoung
03-20-2009, 11:20 AM
Hopefully, society will begin to appreciate the heros that really matter (engineers, teachers, scientists, etc.), and then politicians would be able to advocate the programs and priorities that will truly help us to advance.

Within that advancement, it would be my hope that there would be focus on quality of life, appreciation for excellence, respect for knowledge and application. Some would say this discussion is idealistic. Idealism can become a part of reality when change is created with vision, understanding, and an educated plan. Rocket scientists get that. It must be frustrating for them to watch the rest of us struggle with the basic concepts or not even attempt the struggle.

Barry Bonzack
03-20-2009, 11:37 AM
4... Using the one size fits all standardized testing model to gauge our progress may be cost-efficient, but it sure as heck flies in the face of all current and semi-current research which shows us unconditionally that there are many ways to cultivate, measure, and reward excellence. The time in schools we spend teaching "to the test" so students can jump through a hoop all in the name of convincing ourselves this is the way to a better future is, well, frustrating at best.

As a student that is eternally frustrated with ALL standardized tests (partially because I'm just not good at them), I can not agree with you more. My Statistics 2 class did a project where we ran a correlation of SAT scores with final college GPAs, and it is no shock that a couple hour test of knowledge is unable to gauge how well one is able to study and perform academically.

When Harmony High School opened 5 years ago, a special room was built with modules and a teacher highered to teach construction and engineering (as well as a room for veterinary, and one for the arts). A couple years ago all of these programs were closed (and team 1604's budget cut) so the school could allocate more resources to teaching FCAT Test programs. This is no surprise, the school's budget depends on how students well students do on the standardized test, not based on real world skills learned. What gets rewarded gets managed.

That was then, this is now. 1390 and 1604 is now one team. 1390's room was demolished last year, and they built this years robot in the old construction room. The principal of St. Cloud came to the Florida regional, and made a call for a room to built just for FIRST. Both schools are going to work together to get and Engineering curriculum as an elective credit, and also make that a Duel Enrollment class worth college credit.

Side note, I would like to mention all of this wonderful momentum has all to do with the teachers of the two schools, and I do not accept credit for their great work.

meaubry
03-20-2009, 01:44 PM
Originally Posted by Rich Kressly - "Here's to hoping these comments are ones that will be backed by real, systemic, meaningful action"

Unfortunately, Saying it and Meaning it do not seem to correlate in politics.

I find it unfortunate that these days, pointing fingers at individuals and implying that "all of them" in a certain profession like investment banking are unworthy. This is a sad situation. I am sure that there are some very well intended, highly educated, and pretty smart investment bankers out there.

The world is a big place, and it holds alot of opportunity for everyone - even good financial, business, and management people that may not "make things", but they can make a difference.

I love Engineering, but the world needs GOOD people in ALL walks of life.

I hope some day to figure out just what value politicians provide.

Bi-partisan legislation for the betterment of all, regardless of party, race, gender, or religion, seems like what is needed - but it isn't words that get that done, it's deeds. Unfortunately, it seems like there is an abundance of one, and a shortage of the other.

Let's hope that changes - and soon.
(Mike steps down off soap box)

ZakuAce
03-20-2009, 02:26 PM
From the Tonight Show transcript 03/19/09

You know, I can agree with pushing science and technology in school. But hey, if someone really WANTS to be a businessman or an investment banker, I say let them. Science is important, but being happy with the career you choose is more important.

santosh
03-20-2009, 05:35 PM
You know, I just had a conversation with someone at the Florida regional who told me that high schools (http://www.thefreelibrary.com/SCHOOL+DISTRICT+APPROVES+CONTRACT+STADIUM+AND+TRAC K+INCLUDED+IN+WORK-a0115536364) in the U.S. spend $millions (http://www.allbusiness.com/company-activities-management/sales-selling/10379843-1.html) on their football stadiums and sport arenas (http://www.nwaonline.net/articles/2008/03/04/news/030508bzmillage.prt). It's pretty shocking when you consider that 'non-sport activities' keep having their budgets cut, and cut, and cut. I've said it before and I'll say it again: the community that supports something will pay for something, regardless of what it takes. To realign things for academia (including Band, Arts, Music, Wood Shop, Robotics, etc), there has to be local culture shifts before we can do a nationwide culture shift.


...Yeah, but in tax money received back, those stadiums most certainly pay for themselves after a few year's and more...

keehun
03-20-2009, 05:43 PM
...Yeah, but in tax money received back, those stadiums most certainly pay for themselves after a few year's and more...

That's the inherent problem. Short term & quick payoff verses investment in the future that will never directly pay off the investor but to society as a whole. Money screws everything.

misspunk
03-20-2009, 07:09 PM
I think it's a good idea to spread the word about FIRST around. It will be all over the news if the president comes to a FIRST competition.

Trent B
03-20-2009, 07:25 PM
...Yeah, but in tax money received back, those stadiums most certainly pay for themselves after a few year's and more...

Yea and after it is paid off via tickets and other things, the money is then put towards sports teams and a new stadium which is put towards training new players and making a new stadium. If we can't afford to build a stadium in a few years because of an economic depression, what good will training a bunch of professional league grade players do to benefit us as a society. Yet 20k for a robotics team which will train a bunch of individuals on future skills cant be done.

nathanww
03-20-2009, 07:31 PM
The other part of this is that not all of your return on investment is necessarily in money. If you spend the money on a new stadium, you might make a profit. If you spend the money on upgrading school lab facilities, you might inspire someone to make a vaccine for HIV.

Thta's one of the things I love about FIRST--I think the idea of combining a sporting event and scitech education is one of the best ways to effect this culture change.

waialua359
03-20-2009, 11:06 PM
I think it's a good idea to spread the word about FIRST around. It will be all over the news if the president comes to a FIRST competition.

He could start by going to his own alma mater in hawaii that has a FIRST robotics team, team 2090. They have a great team. When Dean came to visit Hawaii, he did a speech at Obama's school.

canadiankid1029
03-21-2009, 07:28 AM
Exellent comments Rich.

Team 2339 is in it's second year at Antelope Valley High School. Next year the district has approved a robotics class as an A thru G elective ( UC credit)based on our performance and efforts. This is where the paradigm shift needs to occur, one school at a time, one class at a time. Ultimately the education system will evolve, sometimes kicking and screaming, but evole it shall!

One factor leading to the creation of the class was the axiom:
"Applied knowledge is this generation's version of wood and metal shop. Instead of making chairs and boxes, we are working with robots.:) "

Its great to know that some people understand the value of robotics and engineering for our generation. Its encouraging to know that this kind of change is occurring. But in some cases, much like my school, there is a backwards shift. Due to the tough times, we are in a position to lose our metalworking major (we are a trade school). We had the whole club and lots of parents etc come to board meetings to fight for it, and we hope the message got across. All we can do now is hold on for the ride and see how things turn out... :(

AlexD744
03-22-2009, 06:08 PM
You know, I just had a conversation with someone at the Florida regional who told me that high schools (http://www.thefreelibrary.com/SCHOOL+DISTRICT+APPROVES+CONTRACT+STADIUM+AND+TRAC K+INCLUDED+IN+WORK-a0115536364) in the U.S. spend $millions (http://www.allbusiness.com/company-activities-management/sales-selling/10379843-1.html) on their football stadiums and sport arenas (http://www.nwaonline.net/articles/2008/03/04/news/030508bzmillage.prt). It's pretty shocking when you consider that 'non-sport activities' keep having their budgets cut, and cut, and cut. I've said it before and I'll say it again: the community that supports something will pay for something, regardless of what it takes. To realign things for academia (including Band, Arts, Music, Wood Shop, Robotics, etc), there has to be local culture shifts before we can do a nationwide culture shift.



Our school doesn't even spend that money!! Everything like that has been donated (If only a lab as big as a football field could be donated), students have to buy their books, equipment, and robotics fees. But at least things are fair to everyone.

CarterM
03-22-2009, 06:12 PM
We need to get Obama to go to Nationals!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :D

Zach O
03-22-2009, 06:17 PM
Everyone make a very good point about how FIRST deserves funding, but I think before we hope someone must step up and show our president how important this is, and give him some of the facts that shows we NEED this, and funding would help increases this.

NorviewsVeteran
03-22-2009, 06:18 PM
We need to get Obama to go to Nationals!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :D

That is in a different thread, please keep it there.

Feisty_one
03-22-2009, 07:11 PM
A couple of thoughts from an old guy:

Membership in the <Politicians> goup and the <teachers, scientists, and engineers> group is not mutually exclusive. There are many in our government who are both and are willing listeners to proposals increased technology in education.

Sputnik was launched when I was in the 1st grade, which created almost a panic in the USA due to the perception that we had fallen behind in math and science. Priorities in education changed in short order as students were urged to concentrate on these fields. This is the way things work.

artdutra04
03-22-2009, 07:16 PM
At least someone gets it.

Last year our town spent over $2 million dollars to install an Astroturf football field for the two city high schools in our town to use.

This year, their budget is $1.8 million dollars in the red, and 30 teaching positions, all extra curricular activities, and all middle and high school sports are on the cutting block.

Oh the irony.

We lose all of this, just to have the entire city sit and watch the huge waste of money they spent on fake plastic grass to sit unused because there would be no more sports.

robostangs548
03-25-2009, 09:56 AM
Does anyone by chance have Obama’s number? I was looking through my phone and I have seamed to misplace it.... :)

Kims Robot
03-25-2009, 11:00 AM
Seriously I know we could use a few thousand dollars more. I wish FIRST got some of that bailout money, I know we would use it better than the AIG executives.

Now Im not against FIRST getting governement funding, but seeing this country fall into a recession and take the whole world with it, Ive got my fingers crossed that we hit the low point already and we dont see anything worse. While I agree that the whole AIG thing was nonsense, Obama quickly put that back in its place. The intent of the bailout money is to get corporations back on their feet and stable so that companies start HIRING again. Without a stable economy all those kids that are interested in engineering and science wont have jobs. Look at the majority of the engineering companies right now. How many are doing layoffs?? I know that we all love FIRST and all believe that science, technology and engineering is the way to the future, we need to be stable before we can hire all those scientists or engineers. I know I didnt live through the great depression, or anything that was even close, but I can imagine that if we let this country get to a point where people are worried about putting food on the table, the first thing on our President's mind wont and shouldnt be funding the FIRST program.

We should be honored to hear him say such great words, and there is no reason to stop pursuing government funding, but lets all make sure we keep the big picture in mind, that if any of us want jobs when this is all over, we need to get our economy straightened out first.

Molten
03-25-2009, 11:51 AM
I would gladly discuss the politics of such things as funding and government influence, however this is not a thread for that. Please, if you really want to discuss the differences in funding sports vs robotics.... or want to discuss the AIG... or want to discuss anything other then the presidents appearance on the Tonight Show Please Make a Thread for it. This thread isn't for that.

JaneYoung
03-25-2009, 12:07 PM
We are living in times that are having a profound impact/influence on our lives. There are many of these influences and within the influences there are many opportunities to look at and identify need for change - cultural change. The thread has moved along well enough without flaming, attacks, or passionate outbursts. I think it is doing pretty well and have enjoyed the input, insight, and viewpoints. That's not to say that I'd like to see it take a downturn towards attacks or flaming but there seems to be care and thought given to the posts. If we choke that or narrow that opportunity, it can create loss of wisdom.

Just an .02,
Jane

laurenlacy
03-25-2009, 12:20 PM
Now Im not against FIRST getting governement funding, but seeing this country fall into a recession and take the whole world with it, Ive got my fingers crossed that we hit the low point already and we dont see anything worse. ... the first thing on our President's mind wont and shouldnt be funding the FIRST program.


I agree with this completely... I also think that while some of you have said that FIRST deserves more government funding or all of that, yes, perhaps they do but they have also at the same time created for themselves a somewhat cost prohibitive program. I am speaking mostly on an FRC level--I do a lot with trying to raise money for teams and a regional, and at least for the regional I speak of we are spending almost 170 dollars for every student attending the regional or 75 for every single person who attends. That doesn't even get to the teams part, the cost of running and funding a team. I firmly believe that a lot of the inspiration comes from the FRC program, I am a product of that. However when people are saying that FIRST deserves this money etc etc, it has to be backed up with fact. I know I am someone who would have never considered a career in engineering without the program, but as far as those I've talked to go (and I've made many friends through FIRST), it seems that many FRC participants are students who would already be pursuing a technical career.

Then, perhaps, we need to focus on what FIRST truly stands for -- For Inspiration and Recognition of science and technology. And I think that part is definitely working. It's not all about churning out scientists and engineers, and while yes that is great I think many of us are losing sight of what FIRST really is about--changing a culture, celebrating science and technology. To that end is where I think you can really justify the costs associated with the program--because that's where I think you are seeing the change. And it can be backed up... politicians, influential media figures, former presidents are coming to our competitions. Little by little people are "getting it". And president Obama's acknowledgment of our need for more scientists and engineers is a great example of this. I would challenge FIRST to come up with ways to keep the inspiration, but maybe cut down on the cost. It's only if programs like FRC are available to everyone that we'll really see change. I'm happy we have a president who "gets it", and as a FIRST community we need to continue to show those like president Obama how awesome our program is, and what it does for our communities and our culture. It's not just about becoming a scientist or an engineer--it's about celebrating science and engineering, no matter what career you choose to pursue.

Molten
03-26-2009, 01:24 AM
Jane and all: I was by no means trying to discourage such conversation. I was just suggesting that perhaps it would be better suited in a thread specifically for that situation.

Afterall, there's a thread for everything and everything in it's thread.

Team 135
03-26-2009, 09:21 AM
I am very happy that the top politician in our country get what is really needed. Now if we can only get him to nationals :cool:

NorviewsVeteran
03-26-2009, 04:28 PM
That is in a different thread, please keep it there.

Seriously guys.

cheesehead97
04-04-2009, 10:35 PM
Has anybody invited someone else to nationals?

PhilBot
04-05-2009, 08:06 AM
Don't get me wrong, I'm wholly encouraged by the President's comments. Publicly stating the right thing can certainly create positive rumblings in the culture, however actually affecting the decisions is much more difficult work .

Great post Ritch.

"Talking the talk" is easy, "Walking the walk" is harder.

Case in point....

During the DC regional (a new regional this year), we were all doing our best to promote Science and Technology to all the rookie teams that were just started in the DC area. We were hoping that they would get a feel for the fact that this can be just as much fun, and just as exciting, as a sporting event.

Being in the heart of Washington DC, its location was the perfect opportunity for politicians to get behind the concept and lead by example.

Imagine how dissapointed I was to learn that while we were doing our best to inspire, the President was a few blocks away at a basketball game.

We still have a long way to go .....

As a foreign implant (g'day mate) I don't know much about American politics, but I do know that "leading by example" is a powerfull tool, and that seeing a President (current or X) at a FIRST competition can be an amazing sign (I was at nationals last year).

Phil.

dani190
04-05-2009, 08:27 AM
well you guys might of done your best but, the president is a human also.

Therefore i can sympathize with him seeing that he needs to relax just as much as we do...

JoeXIII'007
04-05-2009, 10:24 AM
He (http://blog.pmarca.com/2008/03/an-hour-and-a-h.html) has (http://sharp.sefora.org/people/presidential-candidates/barack-obama-presidential-candidate/), and continues to get it...

IMHO, what I believe Obama understands is that there are so many ways of getting Science and Technology back in the mainstream of our culture, and how we do it exactly will intertwine with other pressing political issues.

The big elephant in the room that tends to drive what happens in these areas is international policy and relations (seeing now were in a Globalized society). The problems in that area tend to trickle down to the problems in science and technology (somehow, exactly how, I would write a full theoretical essay on).

So, in brief, a solution in international matters may just bring a solution to what is stifling scientific and technological progress.

That said, learning a thing or two about politics is critical.

As far as translating Obama's positions into funding and support for FIRST, it is important to remember that there are many more student science and engineering programs out there. Pretty sure a google search will fill you in on that. They will likely fund that which brings a very specific something to the table, what that is, I do not know. FIRST therefor needs to diversify to the fullest extent possible the areas of technology it covers in competition in an effort to show the government and Obama that they could use us as a force of change.

My rough 2 cents. Take it for what it is worth. :cool:

J-Brock
04-05-2009, 05:09 PM
I think if the presedent watched a compatition, I think he would enjoy it.