American Competitiveness Initiative
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The American Competitiveness Initiative (ACI) is a federal assistance program intended to help America maintain its competitiveness through investment in research and development (R&D) and education. The ACI’s focus is on programs that are likely to strengthen U.S. competitiveness by targeting funding to agencies that support research in the physical sciences. NASA, however, is not included in the ACI.
In partnership with the private sector, state and local governments, and colleges and universities, the ACI hopes to promote new levels of educational achievement and economic productivity.
In October 2005, the National Academies of Science released a report that revealed how U.S. technological leadership and export are currently under threat. As an example, the report cited that out of the 120 chemical plants built around the world worth $1 billion or more, one is constructed in the United States but 50 are in China. The organization stressed that "the scientific and technical building blocks of our economic leadership are eroding at a time when many other nations are gathering strength." Three months after the publication of the report, ACI was announced in President George W. Bush’s State of the Union Address given on January 31, 2006. In his statement, the President said: "Our greatest advantage in the world has always been our educated, hard-working, ambitious people - and we are going to keep that edge."
The Initiative committed $5.9 billion ($1.3 billion in new Federal funding, and an additional $4.6 billion in R&D tax incentives) in FY 2007 to increase investments in R&D, strengthen education, and encourage entrepreneurship. Over ten years, the Initiative plans to commit $50 billion to increase funding for research and $86 billion for R&D tax incentives. Key programs under the ACI include:
- more rigorous math courses with new programs for elementary and middle school students and research-based instruction;
- in-service development of new Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate teachers in schools that serve low-income families; and
- preservice development for 30,000 math and science professionals who will become adjunct high school teachers.
- Federal investment in the most current basic research, and facilities and instruments
- Institutions of higher learning that provide research opportunities in math, science, engineering, and technology
- Workforce training programs
- Immigration policies aimed at attracting talented international mathematicians and scientists
- Private sector investment in R&D
- Updated patenting system to further protect intellectual property
- Doubling the Federal commitment to the most critical basic research programs in the physical sciences over the next 10 years
- Encouraging the expansion of a favorable environment for additional private-sector investment in innovation
- Improving the quality of education to provide American children with a strong foundation in math and science
- Supporting universities that provide world-class education and research opportunities
- Providing job training that affords more workers and manufacturers the opportunity to improve their skills and better compete in the 21st century
- Attracting and retaining the best and brightest to enhance entrepreneurship, competitiveness, and job creation in America by supporting comprehensive immigration reform
- Fostering a business environment that encourages entrepreneurship and protects intellectual property
- 300 grants for schools to implement research-based mathematics and science curricula
- 100,000 highly qualified math and science teachers by the year 2015
- 700,000 advanced placement (AP) tests passed by low-income students
- 10,000 more scientists, students, post-doctoral fellows, and technicians provided opportunities to contribute to the innovation enterprise.
- Double funding over ten years to $50 billion for innovation-enabling research at key Federal agencies that support the physical sciences and engineering (National Science Foundation, Department of Energy Office of Science, and National Institute of Standards and Technology)
- Making permanent the Research and Experimentation tax credit to encourage increased private sector investment in innovation
- Improve K-12 math and science education by training teachers and developing effective teaching materials
- Offer training opportunities to 800,000 workers annually
The ACI hopes to improve America’s capabilities in numerous mathematical and scientific fields. Some of these include:
- Nanofabrication, nanomanufacturing, and nanotechnology
- Alternative energy (hydrogen, nuclear, and solar)
- High-end computing
- Intelligent manufacturing
- Accurate weather and climate prediction
- Design of safe and effective pharmaceuticals
- Quantum information processing and quantum mechanics simulations
- Secure communications, cyber security and information assurance
- Intellectual property protection and control
- Sensor and detection capabilities
- Development of manufacturing standards and integration of more efficient production practices
- Advances in materials science and engineering
The ACI proposes $380 million in new Federal funds to invest in the Nation’s education system.
- Advanced Placement/International Baccalaureate (AP/IB) Program:
- $122 million investment
- Train additional 70,000 AP/IB math and science teachers in five years with matching dollar contributions from states and the private sector
- Increase the number of AP/IB math and science tests passed by low-income students from 230,000 to 700,000
- Increase funding to $122 million with specific emphasis on math and science
- Offer incentives and training to teachers to become AP/IB math and science teachers
- Subsidize AP/IB testing fees for low-income students
- Establish an Adjunct Teacher Corps program to encourage up to 30,000 math and science professionals to become adjunct high school teachers by the year 2015
- $25 million investment to encourage partnerships between school districts and public or private organizations involved in science, math, and engineering
- Improve classroom instructional methods and materials by establishing a National Math Panel ($10 million investment) to evaluate the effectiveness of various ways of teaching math and science
- Math Now (combined $250 million investment) for
- Elementary students: help prepare students for advanced math courses in middle and high school
- Middle School students: help diagnose and remedy students lacking proficient math skills and better align instruction with No Child Left Behind (NCLB) goals
- Evaluation of Federal Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education programs to gauge effectiveness in meeting stated goals ($5 million investment)
- Inclusion of Science Assessments in NCLB accountability
Competitiveness Grants Program
- Supplemental grants to low-income
- college freshman and sophomores who completed a rigorous high school curriculum and maintain at least a 3.0 GPA in college
- college juniors and seniors who major in math, science, and critical foreign languages
- Provide enhanced Pell Grants to students who pursue rigorous coursework in high school and the Presidential Math and Science Scholars Fund
- Provide a total of $4.5 billion in grant aid to students through the 2010-2011 academic year, $790 million in the 2006-2007 academic year, and $850 million in 2007-2008
Career Advancement Accounts (CAA)
- Self-managed accounts of up to $3,000 available for approximately 800,000 workers annually to increase their skills though job training
- Preeg, Ernest (2008). India and China: An Advanced Technology Race and how the United States Should Respond. Arlington, VA: Manufacturer Alliance. p. 249. ISBN 9780974567433.
- McCready, Mike (2007-09-11). "Is America On The Right Path?". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2018-07-04.
- Bush, George (2009). A Charge Kept: The Record of the Bush Presidency 2001 - 2009. New York: Morgan James Publishing. p. 75. ISBN 9781600377877.
- Mitchell, Karen; Bakia, Marianne; Yang, Edith (2007). State strategies and practices for educational technology. Jessup, MD: Education Publications Center. p. 9. ISBN 9781422325070.
- On April 21, 2006, President Bush visited Cisco in San Jose, California. He praised the company for helping students in mathematics, science, and information technology. California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger also attended the roundtable discussion. Detailed information, including a video transcript of the panel can be found here.
- United States Department of Education webpage on the ACI
- The ACI Press Briefing held on February 1, 2006
- ACI Booklet from the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP)