EIJING, Feb.6 (Xinhuanet)¡ª President
Bush told the nation's students on Friday that being good at math
and science would not turn them into nerds. Rather, it will help their
own futures and the economic health of the United States.
"You know, a lot of people probably think math and
science isn't meant for me ¡ª it kind of seems a little hard," Mr. Bush said at a
panel discussion, organized by the White House, outside Albuquerque at the Intel
Corporation's largest chip-making plant. "I can understand that, frankly."
But Mr. Bush cited the example of a high school
senior on the panel, Nicole Lopez, who told the assembled crowd that she had
joined gangs in her freshman year and was on the wrong road until two teachers,
now her mentors, helped steer her toward math and science. Ms. Lopez said she
would attend the University of New Mexico and planned to major in civil
"I hope people listening and hear Nicole's story take
a look at math and science," Mr. Bush said.
The president also said, "I'm looking for a mentor,
by the way, both in math and English."
Mr. Bush was near Albuquerque, in the suburban city
of Rio Rancho, as part of his post-State of the Union road show to promote major
proposals in the address. In Rio Rancho, he pushed what the White House is
calling the "American competitiveness initiative," which calls for, among other
things, doubling federal spending on basic research grants in the physical
sciences over 10 years, at a cost of $50 billion.
In his State of the Union address, Mr. Bush called
for the training of 70,000 Advanced Placement teachers and the recruitment of
30,000 math and science professionals to help out in school classrooms.
"In order for America to be a competitive nation in
the years to come, we have got to have a work force that is strong in
engineering and science and physics," he said at the end of the classroom visit.
"You know, some would hope that the competition around the world will go away.
It's not going to. And so we have a choice to make: Do we want to retreat,
become protectionist, or do we want to seize the moment and shape our future?"