Gratis naar HO en minder studieschuld

Nieuws | de redactie
14 januari 2016 | Obama zet vol in op onderwijs, onderzoek en innovatie. Zijn State of the Union was een ‘valedictory’ betoog, dat onderstreept waarom hij de Messe komt openen. “Sixty years ago, when the Russians beat us into space, we didn’t deny Sputnik was up there. We didn’t argue about the science, or shrink our R&D budget.”

De president schetste waarom na het krachtig herstel na de ‘Lehman Brothers’ crisis en de instorting van verouderde, energieslurpende maakindustrie, de USA helemaal terug is als kennisnatie en leidend centrum van innovatie. Een van de vier cruciale vragen voor de toekomst noemde hij daarom: “how do we make technology work for us, and not against us?—?especially when it comes to solving urgent challenges like climate change?”

Dogma’s van een stil verleden

Hij begon met een context vanuit de eigen aard en historie van zijn land en riep daarbij – immers zelf ooit senator namens de staat Illinois, ‘the Land of Lincoln’ – zijn grote voorganger aan en in herinnering.

“America has been through big changes before?—?wars and depression, the influx of immigrants, workers fighting for a fair deal, and movements to expand civil rights. Each time, there have been those who told us to fear the future; who claimed we could slam the brakes on change, promising to restore past glory if we just got some group or idea that was threatening America under control. And each time, we overcame those fears.”

“We did not, in the words of Lincoln, adhere to the “dogmas of the quiet past.” Instead we thought anew, and acted anew. We made change work for us, always extending America’s promise outward, to the next frontier, to more and more people. And because we did?—?because we saw opportunity where others saw only peril?—?we emerged stronger and better than before.”

Met het herstel uit de diepste crisis sinds de jaren van FDR staat Amerika voor grote en nieuwe uitdagingen. Daarin staat he onderwijs op de eerste plaats en zet de president opnieuw in op zijn hoge prioriteit aan ’STEM’. “For the past seven years, our goal has been a growing economy that works better for everybody. We’ve made progress. But we need to make more. And despite all the political arguments we’ve had these past few years, there are some areas where Americans broadly agree.”

“We agree that real opportunity requires every American to get the education and training they need to land a good-paying job. The bipartisan reform of No Child Left Behind was an important start, and together, we’ve increased early childhood education, lifted high school graduation rates to new highs, and boosted graduates in fields like engineering. In the coming years, we should build on that progress, by providing Pre-K for all, offering every student the hands-on computer science and math classes that make them job-ready on day one, and we should recruit and support more great teachers for our kids.”

Gratis HO, minder studieschuldenlast

Dat zet hij door in het hoger onderwijs. De grote campagne die Martha Kanter is gaan leiden kreeg in de rede duidelijk een plek.

“We have to make college affordable for every American. Because no hardworking student should be stuck in the red. We’ve already reduced student loan payments to ten percent of a borrower’s income. Now, we’ve actually got to cut the cost of college. Providing two years of community college at no cost for every responsible student is one of the best ways to do that, and I’m going to keep fighting to get that started this year.”

Wetenschap ziet Obama voor de toekomst als het centrale terrein waar Amerika zijn wereldpositie moet bevestigen, uitdiepen en elan geven. Ontkenning van wat kennis en R&D ons leren over wat op de wereld afkomt zette hij in de hoek met een vileine verwijzing naar de Koude Oorlog en de ruimtevaart. “Sixty years ago, when the Russians beat us into space, we didn’t deny Sputnik was up there. We didn’t argue about the science, or shrink our research and development budget. We built a space program almost overnight, and twelve years later, we were walking on the moon.”

Joe in charge

“That spirit of discovery is in our DNA. We’re Thomas Edison and the Wright Brothers and George Washington Carver. We’re Grace Hopper and Katherine Johnson and Sally Ride. We’re every immigrant and entrepreneur from Boston to Austin to Silicon Valley racing to shape a better world. And over the past seven years, we’ve nurtured that spirit.”

“We’ve protected an open internet, and taken bold new steps to get more students and low-income Americans online. We’ve launched next-generation manufacturing hubs, and online tools that give an entrepreneur everything he or she needs to start a business in a single day.”

 “But we can do so much more. Last year, Vice President Biden said that with a new moonshot, America can cure cancer. Last month, he worked with this Congress to give scientists at the National Institutes of Health the strongest resources they’ve had in over a decade. Tonight, I’m announcing a new national effort to get it done. And because he’s gone to the mat for all of us, on so many issues over the past forty years, I’m putting Joe in charge of Mission Control. For the loved ones we’ve all lost, for the family we can still save, let’s make America the country that cures cancer once and for all.”

De erfenis van Steven Chu

Het mes ging er toen diep in in de rede van de president. Hij legde een scherp verband tussen zijn energiebeleid en innovaties daardoor en de aanpak van het klimaatvraagstuk, zoals door zijn eerste minister op dat terrein, Nobelprijswinnaar Steven Chu, visionair in gang gezet. U leest Chu’s interview met ScienceGuide hier.

“Medical research is critical. We need the same level of commitment when it comes to developing clean energy sources. Look, if anybody still wants to dispute the science around climate change, have at it. You’ll be pretty lonely, because you’ll be debating our military, most of America’s business leaders, the majority of the American people, almost the entire scientific community, and 200 nations around the world who agree it’s a problem and intend to solve it.”

“But even if the planet wasn’t at stake; even if 2014 wasn’t the warmest year on record?—?until 2015 turned out even hotter?—?why would we want to pass up the chance for American businesses to produce and sell the energy of the future?”

“Seven years ago, we made the single biggest investment in clean energy in our history. Here are the results. In fields from Iowa to Texas, wind power is now cheaper than dirtier, conventional power. On rooftops from Arizona to New York, solar is saving Americans tens of millions of dollars a year on their energy bills, and employs more Americans than coal?—?in jobs that pay better than average. We’re taking steps to give homeowners the freedom to generate and store their own energy?—?something environmentalists and Tea Partiers have teamed up to support. Meanwhile, we’ve cut our imports of foreign oil by nearly sixty percent, and cut carbon pollution more than any other country on Earth.”

“Now we’ve got to accelerate the transition away from dirty energy. Rather than subsidize the past, we should invest in the future?—?especially in communities that rely on fossil fuels. That’s why I’m going to push to change the way we manage our oil and coal resources, so that they better reflect the costs they impose on taxpayers and our planet.”

“That way, we put money back into those communities and put tens of thousands of Americans to work building a 21st century transportation system. None of this will happen overnight, and yes, there are plenty of entrenched interests who want to protect the status quo. But the jobs we’ll create, the money we’ll save, and the planet we’ll preserve?—?that’s the kind of future our kids and grandkids deserve.”

It betrays who we are

Bij die toekomst hoort ook dat zijn land gerespecteerd wordt om waar het werkelijk groot mag heten en niet zozeer vanwege het kabaal of de fysieke power die de USA uitstraalt. Zijn getuige tegen xenophobie en islamofobie maakte hij daarbij niemand minder dan de vorige wereldleider die sprak vanaf het rostrum in het Congres.

“The world respects us not just for our arsenal; it respects us for our diversity and our openness and the way we respect every faith. His Holiness, Pope Francis, told this body from the very spot I stand tonight that “to imitate the hatred and violence of tyrants and murderers is the best way to take their place.” When politicians insult Muslims, when a mosque is vandalized, or a kid bullied, that doesn’t make us safer. That’s not telling it like it is. It’s just wrong. It diminishes us in the eyes of the world. It makes it harder to achieve our goals. And it betrays who we are as a country.”

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