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Rising Above the Gathering Storm Two Years Later: Accelerating Progress Toward a Brighter Economic Future - Summary of a Convocation The Overall Response to Rising Above the Gathering Storm Rising Above the Gathering Storm “continues to resonate among many segments of industry, government, academia, and the public,” said Charles Vest in his introductory remarks at the convocation. The report received widespread media coverage when it was released and generated extensive discussions among policymakers and business leaders. President Bush incorporated key ideas from the report into his American Competitiveness Initiative, which he announced during his 2006 State of the Union address a few months after the report was released. Congress included many of the report’s recommendations in the America Creating Opportunities to Meaningfully Promote Excellence in Technology, Education, and Science Act, or the America COMPETES Act, which was passed by a large bipartisan majority and signed into law in August 2007. Meanwhile, many states acted on the recommendations contained in Rising Above the Gathering Storm, and a convocation of state leaders and other stakeholders at the National Academies in September 2006 highlighted state achievements and catalyzed multistate collaborations. The private sector also responded to the report. For example, the National Math and Science Initiative (NMSI), which sponsored the “Two Years Later” convocation, was created after the report’s release to address the nation’s shortcomings in math and science education. All of these follow-up activities helped maintain the momentum created by the report to build the intellectual and economic foundations needed to ensure the United States’ standard of living and national security. However, several factors have limited progress. The America COMPETES Act authorized expenditures and programs in research and in education, but appropriations of the funds needed to implement most of the recommendations of Rising Above the Gathering Storm have not yet been forthcoming. Meanwhile, short-term concerns have distracted policymakers from the essential task of investing in the nation’s future. The “Two Years Later” convocation was held in part to identify these obstacles and demonstrate how they can be overcome. “The time for action is now,” said Vest.
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Rising Above the Gathering Storm Two Years Later: Accelerating Progress Toward a Brighter Economic Future - Summary of a Convocation Without a dramatic increase in investment in basic research and reform of our K-12 educational system, it’s very likely that America’s children of tomorrow will enjoy a lower quality of life and standard of living than did their parents…. The key to competing is innovation — our ability to create new knowledge, turn that knowledge into products and services, and put those products and services into the marketplace. —NORMAN AUGUSTINE, former Chief Executive Officer of Lockheed Martin Corporation The enemy I fear most is complacency. We are about to be hit by the full force of global competition. If we continue to ignore the obvious task at hand while others beat us at our own game, our children and grandchildren will pay the price. —CHARLES VEST, President of the National Academy of Engineering We are not looking forward. We are looking backward. We have one of the highest per capita incomes in the world, and we think that we have an entitlement to continue with that. But if you have enough visas in your passport, you get an entirely different perspective. —CRAIG BARRETT, Chairman of the Board, Intel Corporation