San Antonio education reformer answers Obama's "21st Century Sputnik" Call-to-Action

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San Antonio TX: San Antonio education reformer answers Obama's "21st Century Sputnik"-Call-to-Action: U.S. Vocational Education Integrating the Three Houses of Education to Enhance American Innovation and Financial Recovery

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jim Brazell, - Phone: 210-595-3443

(MMD Newswire) 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, Lt. 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 technology.

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, Lt. 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.


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