Education Secretary Arne Duncan said he wants to launch a "new era" of science education in the United States--one that encourages students to ask tough, challenging questions and brings more specially trained science and math teachers into the classroom.

Speaking at the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) conference in New Orleans on March 20, Duncan said President Barack Obama sees a need for inventors and engineers along with poets and scholars and "will not allow scientific research to be held hostage to a political agenda."

"Whether it's global warming, evolution, or stem-cell research, science will be honored. It will be respected and...

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