For Silicon Valley to thrive, developing a highly educated workforce must remain a priority. As G.K. Chesterton said, “Education is simply the soul of a society as it passes from one generation to another.”
But beyond simply a “good” education, we must prepare children in our schools to succeed in the jobs of tomorrow. This is why I continue to fight for the funding levels and critical reforms we need to make sure there is a strong and efficient state education system in place.
While it’s one step in the right direction, we can’t stop there. We also need proactive leadership from Washington. We need leaders who not only say the right words, but who take decisive action. President Obama has proven that he is a leader who cares deeply about raising the bar on education. If we follow the money trail, it’s clear that President Obama’s budget makes education a priority – both in student loans for higher education and investment into K-12 education.
By sharp contrast, Governor Romney’s budget actually cuts education by 45%, according to estimates I have seen. Furthermore, President Obama’s Administration developed “Race for the Top”, which set up a $4.35 billion fund for Washington to invest in the states that developed the best four-year education reform plans.
President Obama has also made science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education a priority. In fact, I was in the audience when our President launched the “Educate to Innovate” campaign that improves the participation and performance of America’s students in STEM. This campaign has included efforts not only from the Federal Government, but also collaboration from leading companies, foundations, non-profits, along with science and engineering societies.
Recently, he announced plans to train another 10,000 STEM teachers. He has also supported the National Lab Network, a program that I co-founded to promote hands-on, challenge-based learning in the classroom. The President’s ongoing efforts in this area will help Silicon Valley continue to flourish in the future and make sure kids that grow up here get prepared for the jobs that exist here.
As someone who runs a company with a mission of bringing openness and transparency to IP law and helping companies make sense of the patent system, I am very appreciative that the President launched an Innovation Agenda early in his presidency and has executed on many elements of it. Our President has supported critical Research and Development funding. This funding is not only vital to University researchers, but also to corporate technologists who are blazing the trail for exciting innovations of the future.
Along these lines, our President has supported ARPA-E – a pioneering effort to fund cutting-edge progress in clean energy. Although these activities are too early for venture capital, they hold the promise of exciting breakthroughs to drive our nation forward. These breakthroughs mean future investment and future jobs here in Silicon Valley and across the country.
Clean energy is yet another area where our President has shown leadership, while Governor Romney has not much to say. Under President Obama’s vision, we have doubled clean energy production in this country. In fact, we now have more workers in the solar industry than the coal industry. Clean energy is important to the future of Silicon Valley.
For these reasons, among many others, I believe that President Obama is the right leadership choice for Silicon Valley in this election.