FIRST thing: Robotics in every school

Read about long time FIRST volunteer Brian Toohey’s efforts to bring FIRST robotics to schools around America in USA Today:

http://www.usatoday.com/news/education/2009-04-29-robotics-schools_N.htm

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An excerpt:

Brian Toohey has one thing on his mind: how to make a robotics education accessible to every public high school.

Toohey, senior vice president for international affairs at Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, is rallying support among members of Congress and Department of Education employees for legislation to help his cause. And with the publicity boost from the competition, sponsored by robotics education non-profit FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), Toohey hopes it’s enough to inspire Congress to fund a program that would allow inner-city schools access to the FIRST program.

“Our thought is, as we grow, an appropriate role for the government might be to provide funding to the inner-city minority schools so we don’t leave those school systems behind,” he says. FIRST now relies on corporate sponsors, but the program has had a tough time finding sponsors and mentors for low-income areas, Toohey says.

Toohey says he is crafting legislation that could secure $100 million over five years, a figure he describes as “modest.” The money would go toward travel expenses, robot-building equipment and possibly a stipend to teachers who lead the program. …

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