Hutchison: America’s Long Term Competitiveness is Critical

March 10, 2010

Hutchison PortraitWASHINGTON, D.C. – During a Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee hearing today on advancing American innovation, Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas), Ranking Member on the Committee, stressed that the nation’s long term competitiveness is critical to the American economy.

“With the U.S. economy still fragile, America’s long-term competitiveness is more critical than ever,” said Senator Hutchison.  “We have important work to do to make sure that we have sustained economic growth and a robust private sector to employ the next generation of American workers.  Science and technology are at the core of America’s ability to compete in an increasingly globalized economy and to solve many of the challenges we face as a nation in energy independence, biotechnology, and healthcare.”

According to the National Science Board’s Science and Engineering Indicators 2010 report, U.S. leadership in research and development (R&D) and technological innovation is now shrinking.  The report notes that while the U.S. remains a world leader in R&D, its advantage is diminishing, threatening our nation’s preeminence in technological development.  In Texas, only 41 percent of the high school graduates are ready for college-level math (algebra), and only 24 percent are ready for college-level science (biology). Nationally, only two percent of boys and one percent of girls will attain an undergraduate science or engineering degree.  Recent studies show that 42% of all college undergraduates in China earn science or engineering degrees and nearly 80 percent of the 114,000 science and engineering (S&E) doctorates awarded worldwide were from institutions outside the United States.

“In order to compete, the U.S. needs not only to train the best scientists and engineers in the world, but also ensure that our students are prepared with a strong proficiency in math and science so that they can be competitive for the high-paying, high-tech jobs of the 21st century,” Senator Hutchison said.  “I think we can and must make America more competitive and innovative than it is today.”

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You can watch Senator Hutchison’s statement here.