President Barack Obama and

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					                              For Immediate Release


       Boston, Chicago, San Antonio and Rio Grande Valley, TX: US education and
innovation leaders call for emphasis on vocational education as an answer to
Obama’s “21st Century Sputnik” to enhance American innovation and financial

       For immediate release, Thursday, October 22, 2009—When President Barack
Obama and the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST)
meet in Washington, D.C. this week on issues related to science, technology, engineering
and mathematics education (STEM) and global innovation, two of San Antonio’s best
minds will weigh in with a radical suggestion-focus on vocational education plus
traditional academics and the arts. Jim Brazell, a consultant to the, Innovation, Creativity
and Capital Institute, University of Texas Austin and Dr. Francis X. Kane, President,
Schriever Institute (USAF, Col., ret.) are confirmed to be heard by the committee during
the public comments. Both will provide written comments related to the importance of
the arts, traditional academics and career and technical education (CTE) in responding to
the 21st century Sputnik—the economic crisis and global trends in demography and
       On Feb. 19, 1957 General Bernard A. Schriever set the stage when he provided a
similar warning in his famous space speech just before the launch of Sputnik. Brazell and
Kane made a stir with a similar announcement prior to the October 2009 financial crash
titled the ―Bellwether Sounds‖ which was published by the National School Boards
Association Electronic School publication in August 2008
       In April, 2009, President Obama framed his speech to the National Academies of
Science using Sputnik as a symbol and call to American action and collaboration to face
global opportunities and challenges. In that same speech, he committed three percent of
gross domestic product to fuel science and technology research, development,
commercialization and education. According to Dr. Kane, ―Similar to President Obama,
President Eisenhower, after the launch of Sputnik, faced rising global tensions, a critical
time window and very low tolerance for failure.‖ PCAST letter contributor, Dr. David
Thornburg of the Chicago-based Thornburg Center for Professional Development adds,
―Eisenhower discovered the M.I.T. Physical Sciences Study Committee (PSSC) who had
created and proven new curricula for science and physics on a small scale. The PSSC
curricula allowed the U.S. to disseminate and scale up education reform-answering the
call for innovation while managing risk of failure.‖
       Brazell points out, ―the modern equivalent of the curricula chosen by Eisenhower
is Tech Prep, Career Pathways and Career and Technical Education (CTE)—modern
vocational education.‖ Debra Amidon, Innovation, Creativity and Capital, Research
Fellow, and another contributor adds, ―Today, we live in a knowledge-innovation society
and America’s youth need to be prepared for the complexity of the modern world by
integrating knowledge and action. In other words, preparing students with rote learning
and memorization has an inverse relationship to our need to put knowledge into action—
to create, innovate, lead and enhance public discourse.‖
       Patricia Bubb, from the Rio Grande Valley Tech Prep Consortium also
contributed to the PCAST letter and explains, ―Modern vocational education is a calling
to one’s passions and an alignment to the problems and opportunities of the world. Tech
Prep students in the Rio Grande Valley graduate high school and attend colleges and
universities at higher rates than general academic students in the State of Texas. Tech
Prep works and it does not sacrifice the importance of American ideals of preserving and
perpetuating freedom, public discourse, creativity and learning beyond work preparation.
Tech Prep integrates all of this into modern vocational practice.‖
       According to the PCAST letter from Brazell and his collaborators, ―The irony of
our time in history is that Tech Prep, Career Pathways, and modern vocational education,
provide the innovation PCAST is seeking—increasing student attendance, graduation,
and matriculation to colleges and universities. Tech Prep defined as a full academic load
of classes, plus career and technical education courses, plus college courses provides the
modern definition of a well rounded student.‖ Brazell concludes, ―This is a cornerstone
solution to the American and global financial crisis—we need to put knowledge into
action in order to create new jobs and ultimately new opportunities for history which
transcend the politics and institutions of the industrial era—to create what is next!‖

The letter to be read to PCAST and detailed comments can be found online at


PCAST and the October 22-23, 2009 Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics
(STEM) Meeting

On April 27, 2009, President Obama announced the President's Council of Advisors on
Science and Technology (PCAST). PCAST is an advisory group of the nation’s leading
scientists and engineers who directly advise the President and the Executive Office of the
President. PCAST makes policy recommendations in the many areas where
understanding of science, technology, and innovation is key to strengthening our
economy and forming policy that works for the American people. PCAST is administered
by the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP).

PCAST Web Site (Video Broadcast of Meeting is available
free online)

PCAST STEM Meeting Agenda Oct 22-23, 2009

PCAST Federal Registrar Announcement of STEM Meeting

About The Author and Contributors

Jim Brazell, Consultant, Innovation Creativity and Capital Institute (IC2), University of
Texas and the Schriever Institute, San Antonio, Texas. Brazell is a consultant, speaker
and American innovator. His work includes consulting to the Schriever Institute on
proposals related to human performance and learning systems to support the Mars
Mission. He has also consulted with the Innovation, Creativity and Capital Institute,
University of Texas Austin for the past five years including designing video games for
training as part of University XXI, performing international technology
commercialization and strategy for the University Technology Enterprise Network
(UTEN) in service to the government of Portugal, authoring emerging technology studies
for the Texas State Technical College System and studying global technopoleis who
merge technology, engineering, arts, mathematics and science (TEAMS) to define a new
generation of high technology regions (Transdisciplinary Places) throughout the world.

Dr. Francis X. Kane (USAF, Col. ret.), President, The Schriever Institute. Dr. Francis X.
Kane is the military father of the global positioning system (GPS) and a member of the
U.S. Air Force Project Forecast—the long range technology forecast that informed
decisions related to the Strategic Technological War as the U.S. faced the Soviets in the
race for space superiority and ultimately the technologies that redefined the economic
landscape of the world after World War II.

Patricia G. (Pat) Bubb, Executive Director, Tech Prep of the Rio Grande Valley, Inc.
Patricia Bubb is the director of the Rio Grande TECH PREP Consortium. Patricia is a
TECH PREP leader who has forged a model relationship among workforce, education,
economic development and industry partners in the Texas Rio Grande Valley bordering
Mexico. Her TECH PREP students outperform the State’s general academic and Career
and Technical Education students proving that the unification of Liberal Arts, Fine Arts
and Career and Technical Education is greater than the sum of its parts.

Debra M. Amidon, founder and CEO of Entovation International Ltd., is considered an
architect of the Knowledge Economy. As a Senior Research Fellow, IC2 Institute, she
first published concepts such as ―Intellectual Capital‖ and ―Knowledge-Innovation‖ in
the 1980’s. Author of The Innovation SuperHighway, Debra is a global actor who is
redefining the measures of innovation in global economic practice from metrics based on
competition to metrics based on collaboration – en route to the impending Millennium
Bretton Woods. Her Entovation Network of 188 across 67 countries represents some of
the world’s global knowledge innovators. These leaders are part of the world’s research
parks, technology incubators, government agencies, and practicing innovation agents
working to connect knowledge and action to create positive social and economic change
for the world.

Dr. David Thornburg, Founder, Thornburg Center for Professional Development and
the Thornburg Center for Space Exploration. David is the founder and director of the
Thornburg Center for Professional Development and the co--founder of the Thornburg
Center for Space Exploration. He is an award-winning futurist, author and consultant
whose clients range from school boards to the US Office of Science and Technology
Policy. David is a 27 year leader in the art and practice of teaching through project- and
inquiry-based learning. His educational philosophy is based on the idea that students
learn best when they construct knowledge through action and engagement with peers and
the world. These techniques are now recognized by emerging research into how humans
learn—by doing and by playing. Prior to his involvement with education, David was a
Principal Scientist and one of the first employees of the famed Xerox Palo Alto Research
Center (PARC).
Dr. Murat Tanik, Stan and Bonnie Gatchel and the Systems Design and Process
Science (SDPS) community. Murat, Bonnie and Stan are members of the
Transdisciplinary academic community who have worked for over two decades to align
research and practice to worldly challenges and opportunities through higher education
and civil engagement. SDPS is concerned with complex adaptive systems and emergent
mathematics in the fields of chaos theory, artificial intelligence and related techniques. It
is the vision of this Society to be a catalyst for change, enabling the discovery of new
approaches that lead to alternative solutions for the increasingly complex problems that
face civilization.