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The Soviet Union, considered at least by this administration to be our principal competitor and opponent, has instituted a general curriculum at the primary and secondary levels which, in terms of its heavy focus on science and technology, is the most advanced in the world.
In addition to 2 years of calculus, all students in the Soviet Union are required to complete 5 years of physics, 4 years of chemistry, 4 years of biology, and 5 years of algebra.
It is not just the major industrialized countries either; it is other nations around the world that are working hard to prepare their young citizens for the future. I would like to just highlight, if I may, one such instance that I am aware of.
Kien Pham is an intern in my office this year. He was educated in the public schools of South Vietnam before escaping by boat with three dozen members of his family in 1977, successfully, I am glad to report.
The education he received in mathematics, science, and foreign languages from the public school system of this small, war-torn nation was superior to the average education in America today.
Earlier, I quoted the National Science Foundation when I stated one-half of all high school students in the United States take no mathematics or science beyond the 10th grade. By comparison, in the 10th, 11th, and 12th grades, Kien took mathematics, natural science, physics, chemistry, French, and English. It is important to note that this was the standard curriculum for all students in his class in the public schools of his nation.
Six months after his arrival in this country, Kien took the American College Test for admission to the University of Colorado. He scored in the 95th percentile in mathematics and slightly below norm in English. Apparently, his education in Vietnam was more than adequate.
Not surprisingly, our national inattention to science and mathematics is matched by a dangerous decline in the number of qualified teachers in this area. Further statistics by the National Science Foundation show that in 1981, 43 States of 45 responding reported a shortage of mathematics teachers. In the same year, 50 percent of the teachers newly employed nationwide to teach secondary science and math are actually uncertified to teach those subjects.
These statistics are alarming and could be devastating for this country's future. The situation demands an immediate national response. The American Defense Education Act is one such response and is designed to meet the specific shortfall that I have documented here this morning.
The American Defense Education Act provides that local school districts develop and implement programs in elementary and secondary schools to improve instruction and student achievement in mathematics, science, foreign languages, communications skills, and technology
During each fiscal year, school districts, working with the ADEA program will be entitled to a basic payment based on the average per pupil expenditure in the State, and for those which can show substantial evidence that the program meets the ADEA goals for the year, an additional payment is available.
The bill encourages institutions of higher education to coordinate efforts with local school districts for the training and retraining of teachers through workshops, summer institutes, and inservice training
Lastly, Mr. Chairman, the American Defense Education Act authorizes funds through the National Institute of Education to support research and development into effective teaching and learning techniques in math, science, and these other vital subjects.
The American Defense Education Act establishes an incentive program which is necessary to give needed Federal impetus to enable our country to meet the demands placed on our educational system by the technological changes and revolutions we are experiencing in today's world.
It is vital to our national economic well-being and our national security that the Federal Government provide the incentive to local school districts to develop a program which will train our young people for tomorrow's world and will eventually reach the goal of establishing the first and best education system in the world.
Mr. Chairman, in closing, many of the measures, if not all of the measures, proposed to this subcommittee and in the Congress in the last few months are designed to address specific elements of the education shortfall, if not the education crisis.
The American Defense Education Act is designed fundamentally to lift all education boards across this country, and it is in that spirit that it is offered for your consideration, for consideration of the Congress, and I hope for enactment this year.
Thank you very much.
Senator STAFFORD. Thank you very much, Senator. As we told Senator Domenici, Senator Pell and I have a bill-Senator Domenici does, you do, and it will be our intention to review them all carefully, borrow any good ideas we see, and we will consider your proposal very carefully. We are very pleased that you found the time to join us in your very busy schedule.
Senator Hart. My pleasure. I want to again say that all Senators, and I think the country, are aware of the work that Senator Pell' has done throughout his public career, as well as you, Mr. Chairman. You have not, either of you, flagged in your commitment to education even during a period when it was popular to do
Senator PELL. Thank you very much indeed. I concur in what the chairman said. We hope to weave together these different approaches and make a good bill out of it. I remember being in Moscow when Sputnik went up and the exhilaration that that gave to the Soviet people. The spur that it gave to us—we created the National Defense Education Act out of it—was very necessary, and we need another spur. Maybe these bills and the public sentiment at this time will be that spur.
Also, I remember handling the Hungarian refugee problems for the International Rescue Committee in Europe in 1956, and I noticed that those students, when they came to America to high school, although they could not speak the language, as soon as they got control of the language, they were usually 2 years ahead of our students, paralleling the very point that you made, Senator Hart. Senator Hart. Well, Mr. Chairman, I hope that we do not have to have another shock of the Sputnik sort to shock this Nation into acting.
Senator PELL. Maybe these various approaches will do the trick. I hope so.
(Whereupon, Senator Pell assumed the Chair.]
Senator PELL. If not, we will start with the first panel, and I would ask Dr. James Rutherford, Mr. Bill Aldridge, Dr. Stephen Willoughby and Dr. David Leeson if they would come forward, with the understanding that, as a matter of Senatorial courtesy, when Senator Chiles comes, they would step to one side.
STATEMENT OF F. JAMES RUTHERFORD, CHIEF EDUCATION OF.
FICER, AMERICAN ASSOCIATION FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF
It is a pleasure to be here, especially in contrast to some former years when my colleagues and I were here and found that it was difficult to get attention on these matters. I am just delighted that the Congress of the United States is really taking the leadership in this matter. I would like to submit my testimony and deal with three points, Senator PELL. Thank you.
Dr. RUTHERFORD. The first has to do with the current set of proposals in both Houses. I think that these are timely; I think they address in a beginning sort of way the issue that confronts us, and I do urge that the Congress, and the Senate, in particular, design a bill that will parallel what is in the House, so that by the time this Congress has finished its work, it will be possible actually to have a bill and be on the way.
[Whereupon, Senator Stafford resumed the Chair.)
Senator STAFFORD. Dr. Rutherford, with apologies from Senator Pell and myself, we see that Senator Chiles has come in. Would the panel be willing to step aside, or lay the matter temporarily aside, as we say here, and allow Senator Chiles to testify?
Dr. RUTHERFORD. Yes.
Senator STAFFORD. Senator Chiles, we are very happy that you found time on an extraordinarily busy morning for all of us to appear here.
if I may
STATEMENT OF HON. LAWTON CHILES, A U.S. SENATOR FROM THE
STATE OF FLORIDA Senator CHILES. Thank you; I appreciate it. I am sorry that I was a minute late.
Mr. Chairman, H. G. Wells compared human history to the race between education and a catastrophe, and I think he made a good point. When you look at how fast this math and science legislation is moving, you would think that catastrophe is going to win the race unless we get the bill enacted right away.
I think there certainly is a need for immediate action to close the math, science, and high technology skills gap. It is the key to one of our most pressing economic problems today-unemployment, dislocated workers, low productivity, and lack of competitiveness in world markets.
It is certainly something that we have neglected too long, and we are paying a price now and we will pay a higher price if we continue to neglect it.
I think it is encouraging to see the consensus in Congress that math and science education is a high priority. We all want an effective Federal initiative to support what the State and local educational agencies and the private industry are doing.
I certainly commend your subcommittee and my colleagues here for your commitment and efforts, and I appreciate the opportunity to participate in the dialog. In a couple of weeks, I am going to be introducing my bill on this subject.
Since I am on the Budget and Appropriations Committees and not on the authorizing committees, I very seldom introduce legislation to authorize education programs. But from my work on the funding committees and on the Governmental Affairs Committee, I have a great deal of interest in trying to see how we direct our resources adequately and effectively to national priorities.
There are two contributions that I hope to make to the dialog on the issues by having a bill. One is to offer a large framework that we can use to identify how we bring about the changes needed to improve math, science, and technical skills; second, to try to offer some mechanisms that we can use in our grants to States to see that the funds are targeted to the problem.
I will have to say, Mr. Chairman, that seeing the number of bills and seeing the speed with which this sort of thing is working, I just implore your subcommittee and us in the Congress to see that we come up with a good approach and not one just because we finally discovered this problem. We all seem to have sort of discovered it and everybody wants to say they are doing something about it; I certainly do.
I am very concerned that we are going to spend a lot of money before it is over and I want to spend it in an effective way.
Senator STAFFORD. Senator, I could respond by saying that we are going to consider all of the bills that are introduced. We hope you will get yours in as soon as possible so we can have it in front
Senator CHILES. We will.
Senator STAFFORD. I am being a little facetious maybe when I say that in view of your position on the Appropriations Committee and
the fact that Senator Domenici, who preceded you, is chairman of the Budget Committee, we hope some aspects of your bill and his bill both
will be part of the final product. Laughter.] Senator CHILES. Well, I am on the Budget Committee, too, and so I hear what you are saying.
Senator STAFFORD. We have a double reason, then.
Senator CHILES. Yes, and Pete now serves on the Appropriations Committee as well.
Well, my bill is not the only comprehensive piece of legislation that is being offered, and many of our colleagues have offered packages of legislation to deal with the shortage. But I think that we have to adopt a program that takes into account all of the points of intervention and how we allocate our resources to them.
I think we have to look at how those pieces fit together and how all of the education programs work together for better math, science, and technological training. As you know, our problem is not only a shortage of qualified math and science teachers at the secondary level.
The elementary teachers and postsecondary teachers in other fields need assistance in upgrading their math and science skills and understandings of technology. Not only do we need to raise our students' achievement in math and science; we need to get into the whole area of how the new technologies are going to affect their lives and work.
So, efforts to just improve math and science are not enough. We are facing that tremendous gap of workers in the midlevel technical skills. Of course, that calls for fully using our vocational education system that we have in place for retraining in these skills.
We have a lot of experience in education to show the need for a comprehensive approach. We know, for example, that you cannot improve education for handicapped children unless you can get them into the buildings.
Our emphasis on basic math and reading skills is yielding some good results in test scores. It is interesting to see that the tests also show that the kids are learning how to multiply, but not when they should be multiplying. So, basic skills instruction has got to be matched with development of the so-called higher order of skills in analysis and decisionmaking.
Our efforts to provide access to education have to include being sure that we are giving children access to quality education. That is not to say that we should abandon any of the worthwhile initiatives or shift nur emphasis in the opposite direction, but it does point out the need to avoid a nearsighted approach.
I think the type of improvements we are seeking here have to do with teacher training, with curriculum development, with research, with vocational education, and even with the overall quality of education and school improvement.
So, our initiative to State and local education agencies, to colleges of education, and to industry seems to be to develop a balanced, well-coordinated and integrated system that prepares young people for the technological society in which they live and work.
That need for a comprehensive approach is related to how we work on the Federal budget. We have to look at how much of our resources are directed to education versus health or defense in