[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/01/06/art.boeduc0106.gi.jpg caption="President Obama spoke about the importance of improving the country's educational system at a White House event Wednesday."]
Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama announced Wednesday a $250 million public-private initiative designed to improve national math and science education.
Specifically, the money will be used to promote five new partnerships intended to help train over 10,000 new math and science teachers over the next five years. It will also be used to support the professional development of more than 100,000 current math, science, technology and engineering teachers, according to the White House.
The new funding builds on Obama's math and science "Educate to Innovate Campaign," which was announced last November. Several large companies, including Intel, Xerox, Kodak and Time Warner Cable have already pledged $260 million to the effort.
American students, Obama noted, currently rank 21st in science and 25th in math compared with students around the world, putting the United States at a disadvantage on vital issues such as medicine, energy and security.
The administration, Obama said Wednesday, is committed to moving the United States "from the middle to the top of the pack."
The president handed out awards to over 100 math and science teachers after making the announcement.
Last year, Obama unveiled a $4.35 billion "Race to the Top" fund to offer competitive grants to states pursuing creative strategies for recruiting, training and retaining teachers.