CNN Special Featuring FIRST, Sunday 5/15

In “Education in America: Don’t Fail Me,” we learn that at this very moment, America’s future is at stake.

“If we don’t generate the next group of innovators, scientists, engineers, and problem solvers,” inventor Dean Kamen warns, “our standard of living, our quality of life, our security, will plummet!”

American students rank 17th in science and 25th in math when compared to other industrialized nations. They don’t have the skills to take on the high tech jobs of the future.

This is because of how and what we teach American kids. It is also because of a culture that values sports and celebrities above all.

The United States needs to change the way students are taught math and science, and children need to be encouraged and inspired to take the toughest classes in those subjects.

There is a nationwide competition designed to motivate high school students to take those classes, push themselves, and learn more (FIRST). Students Maria Castro, Brian Whited, and Shaan Patel are actively involved in it. But is it too late for them? Is it too late for us?

For Teachers and Others Who Want to Discuss the CNN Program… Pre and Post Program Questions, Learning Activities and Curricula Connections can be found at:

FIRST® Robotics Competition Teams featured in the CNN Special include:
FRC Team 842, Falcon Robotics, Carl Hayden High School, Phoenix, Ariz.
FRC Team 1403, Cougar Robotics, Montgomery High School, Skillman, N.J.
FRC Team 3675, Eagletrons, Seymour High School, Seymour, Tenn.

Twitter Hash Tag for “Education in America: Don’t Fail Me”:

For the group’s convenience (and because I couldn’t find one myself), here’s a Facebook event for the program.

Invited all the robotics members in our facebook group. I’ll be sure not to miss this. Someone should set up a livestream or something.

EWCP will be running a discussion after the showing using TalkShoe at

Sorry for the threadjacking.

I noticed that as well. We are welcome to have them though :slight_smile:

Who told Soledad that St Louis was “Nationals”? But the show got the major points stated…leading the viewer to figure out that FIRST is the answer.

This defijnitely was great for FIRST, showed FIRST in such a great light. Of course I couldnt help but nerdily see some inaccuracies :stuck_out_tongue: Pennsylvania Regional, anyone? Gotta love the nerdy things that FIRST-ers notice and think about

If anyone missed it , it’s being reaired at 11pm EDT, and again at 2am EDT:

Agreed…i’m fairly sure we didn’t make it out of the quarters. Also I like the irony of them showing us loosing to MOE and then at the end they show us jumping around when we beat them at Chesapeake! lol

I thought it was great exposure for FIRST and a nice portrayal of these 3 teams.
You have to kind of accept the little inaccuracies with the greater good in mind. Reporters will get things wrong and flat out change some things to make it more digestible for a general audience. Similar things happened with Gearing Up. At first I was not pleased and even a little embarrassed by some of the changes in Gearing Up. But over time, you come to realize that the message holds up and the mission is achieved.
I think it will help all of us in the long run.

I already regret my last post. Getting hung up in the details is, for lack of a better word, stupid.

That jump was when you won the first match in the quarterfinals in Philadelphia. Notice that it was 1712 standing next to you. :wink:

I’m guessing they didn’t mention that 842 automatically qualified for the Championship as a member of the FIRST Hall of Fame because it wouldn’t be nearly dramatic enough (even though being finalist will not earn you a trip to St. Louis). A little tension helps hold the viewers interests.

I thought this documentary was well done, and will do FIRST a lot in terms of getting the word out. I was surprised how much it focused on STEM, and not on the skills that are actually required to compete in FRC. And then there is the whole “you only covered a small facet of FRC teams” argument, but I am willing to let that go because they were able to get their message across just fine. I just hope this will have the impact we all hope it can have.

(The whole documentary was focused on the education students are receiving, not FIRST!)

As blunt that may be, FIRST was used as a tool to several points across, like engaging students into STEM actively. O’Brien did a better job than what I would’ve done if she was following my team (it didn’t happen, just an example). FIRST will garner a bit of attention from this- but I wouldn’t go as far as to say that this was an impact.

Being a Hoosier, I loved it when they implied 111 was from Indiana. (sarcasm)

My mistake, both experiences were extremely memorable. You guys were great alliance partners in Philly!

Being on the inside shows how much they must edit and cut to make it understandable for the general public. The let us see the pre screening and it had more facts about education and how teachers ate not respected in the US like in India. They also left out how only two students in the whole state of Tennessee are studying to be a physics teachers. The doc was about education in the US and they used FIRST as the vehicle. The true test is to see how people who don’t know about FIRST react to it. We are all inside because we notice all the flaws, we need to step back and see what effect it has, then judge it.

I thought Dean came off very well and I actually wanted to hear more from him.

Can’t wait to head out to the Pennsylvania Regional next year. I might get lost!

The fact that the documentary had to be generalized so much can be considered an indictment on television viewers, but I’ll chalk it up to me just being nitpicky.

Loved the documentary. Recorded it and talking to our officers about it this week.

I did like most of the special and it was really intriguing even with out the mentions of FIRST. I still cannot believe most of the facts that were stated thought. I believe it’s ridiculous that states alter their standardized tests just to have a majority of the students pass. Instead of mostly focusing on our military industrial complex that our government is, we should take much more time to focus on our actual future as well.

I have great respect for your team and this program helped increase that respect. Please pass along my best wishes for the continued success of your students. I hope that education in Tennessee and New Jersey and all states benefits from this doc. It shows more than anything, that there are students out there that want to learn, to do better, to improve their own lives and those around them. Thankfully, FIRST is there to help them realize some of their goals.