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• Forty-nine percent of U.S. adults don’t know how long it takes for the Earth to circle the sun.

• China replaced the United States as the world’s top high-technology exporter.

On Monday, Mr. Obama reiterated his commitment to expand the U.S. science talent pool, announcing that the Defense Department and White House office on science and technology will partner with the privately funded National Math and Science Initiative, which already has programs serving military students in such places as the Fort Hood, Texas, community.

With an estimated 2 million youths with parents on active duty or in the National Guard and reserves, these students deserve special attention, the president said.

“This is not a one-time event,” Mr. Obama said at the East Room announcement. “We will push and advocate. We are going to mobilize the government and private sector.”

But Ms. Taymans said Tuesday that, “despite considerable efforts,” the need for a science-literate America remains acute.

“Without a strong science education for all students, the long-term health of the nation’s economy and of its politics is at risk,” she said. “The new NAEP Science Report Card indicates that despite considerable efforts, there are still considerable deficiencies in the level of science achievement that most of our students have attained.”