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terms of the needs for each area. But we also have to look at the big national priority, like math, science, technology, and research in education, to see what portion of our resources should be and can be directed there.
Within the big priority are the detailed needs of the various institutions and State and private industry, as well as the part each plays in the overall solution. Within the big priority are the various programs we have in place or will enact to address it. All of it, of course, we are trying to fit together to be effective.
The bill that I am introducing is not all-inclusive; it does not contain additional tax incentives for business or industry to participate or donate equipment. It will not authorize a new direct Federal scholarship or loan forgiveness program. Those are potentially effective ways of addressing parts of the problem. The cost-benefit effect of those proposals, I think, has to be considered as well.
But every form of grant entitlement and tax deduction is a form of spending, and we have to consider the cost of those proposals in terms of what we can afford and what will have the most impact as part of the comprehensive program.
The second feature of the legislation I am going to introduce is the targeting and accountability mechanisms. The problem we are dealing with is a big one; it will take a lot of dollars at every level of Government and private industry over the years to address it.
So, it is not a quick-fix or short-range solution. Teachers do not get recruited and trained overnight. As Dr. Rutherford and others have pointed out, it takes a long time for curriculum changes and new teaching methods to work their way into the classroom.
But at the same time, we cannot repeat what we did after Sputnik went up-put on a crash program and then abandon it. So, I think we are going to need a way to justify the Federal spending that we commit to math and science now and in the future.
The only way to justify this Federal spending is to have a valid national priority, which we do, and to show that the Federal dollars are zeroed into the program in an effective way. Because we need a comprehensive approach to all the interventions necessary does not mean that we can take a single-shot or shotgun approach. I think we are going to have to look at ways that this legislation can do several crucial things.
Each Federal dollar needs to lever State, local and private resources to our highest national priorities in math, science, education and high-technology training. The Federal initiative, at the same time, must not stifle what the States and the private sector are already doing, nor can we burden them with a rigid, inflexible program.
Many of the States are moving out on this, as you know, Mr. Chairman. My State of Florida is considering this in their new legislative session, and they have got a big package of what they are going to do in the State. So, we are not the only ones who have sort of awakened to the problem; the States are out there working on it, too.
So, the Federal dollars need to carry with them some responsibility for the recipients to meet those national needs and gaps and what the States are doing. If we ignore this type of targeting and accountability, we will be sitting here a few years from now faced with the same complaints that I heard when I was running for the first time in the 1970s: Congress is wasteful; Congress throws money at problems; Federal programs discourage State, local and private initiative, and even hinder it, with the strings, the paperwork and the regulations that tell you how to dot every “I” and cross every “T.”
I think the way to strike a balance between targeting the money to the problem without rigid restrictions is to give the States a lot of flexibility, and at the same time give them a lot of responsibility in how to use the Federal funds.
The bill I will be introducing will contain a process for the States to plan how they are addressing and will address five or six national priorities. Those include teacher recruitment and retention, teacher training, curriculum improvement, industry needs for workers, access to math and science careers for women and minorities.
The States would have the flexibility to target the Federal funds to their greatest need areas through the institutions that are most effective to address the problem. And then the States would have the responsibility for showing how the Federal funds were being used to address those overall goals.
Under my bill, all the institutions that are a critical part of the answer to our math, science and high-tech skills problem would be included from the planning stage through the participation in the program. That includes the State themselves, local education agencies, community colleges, colleges of education, voc ed, private industry, public interest groups, and teachers.
But rather than tying the hands of the States, saying that 60 percent of the funds must go here and 25 percent or 10 percent somewhere else, the approach that I would make would be to hold the States accountable for directing the funds according to the greatest need areas, whether it is recruiting in that particular State or improving curriculum.
The States would also have to justify their activities in grants according to the involvement and capabilities of the types of institutions selected. All the eligible institutions would have a say in the development of the plan and, of course, there are incentives built in for the institutions and private industry to work together.
As I say, I appreciate the opportunity to be a part of the dialogue on this critical issue. I certainly look forward to working closely with the subcommittee and my colleagues to develop a sound Federal initiative and the appropriate Federal initiative to play its part in the national goal, including the part that we will have to play in the budget and/or Appropriations Committee when we come up with that particular plan.
[The prepared statement of Senator Chiles follows:
H. G. Wells compared human history to a race between education
I think he made a good point.
And when you look
at how fast this math and science legislation is moving, you would think catastrophe was going to win the race unless we get a bill
enacted right away.
There is a need for immediate action to close the math, science,
and high technology skills gap.
It is the key to our most pressing
economic problems today
unemployment, dislocated workers, low
productivity, and lack of competitiveness in world markets.
something that we have neglected too long. We are paying the price now, and we will pay a higher price in the future if we continue
to neglect it.
It is encouraging to see the consensus in Congress that math-science education is a high priority. We all want an effective Federal initiative to support what the States, local education
agencies and private industry are doing. I commend the Subcommittee and my colleagues here for your commitment and efforts. I appreciate
the opportunity to be a participant in the dialogue.
In a couple of weeks, I will be introducing the Math-Science
High Technology Skills Act of 1983.
Since I am on the Budget and
Appropriations Committees, and not on the authorizing committee, I do not often introduce legislation to authorize education programs.
But my work on the funding Committees, and on the Governmental
Affairs Committee, gives me a great deal of interest in directing our resources adequately and effectively to national priorities.
There are two contributions I hope to make to the dialogue on this issue by having a bill: One is to offer a large framework
we can use to identify where and how we can bring about the changes
needed to improve math, science, and technological skills.
I would like to offersome mechanism we can use in our grants to the
States to see that the Federal funds are targetted directly to the
My bill is not the only "comprehensive" piece of legislation being offered. Many of my colleagues have offered a package of legislation to deal with the critical teacher shortage, the need
for curriculum improvement and research.
But we must adopt a
program that takes into account all the points of intervention
and how we allocate our resources to them.
We have to look at how
the pieces fit together, and how our existing and new education programs will work together for better math, science, and technological
Our problem is not only a shortage of qualified math and science teachers at the secondary level. Elementary teachers and
postsecondary teachers in other fields need assistance in upgrading
their math and science skills and understanding of technology.
--- There is not only a need to raise student achievement in
math and science.
Students must be taught how new technologies will
affect their lives and work.
Efforts to improve math and science education are not enough.
We are facing a tremendous gap in workers with mid-level technical
That calls for fully using the vocational education system
we have in place for training and retraining in these skills.
We have a lot of experience in education to show the need for
a comprehensive approach.
You cannot improve education for handicapped children
unless you provide access to the buildings and the facilities.
Our emphasis on basic math and reading skills is yielding
some good results in terms of test scores.
But tests also show
kids are learning how to multiply but not when to multiply to solve
Basic skills intruction must be matched with development
of the so-called "higher order" skills
analysis and decision-making.
Our efforts to provide access to education have to include
being sure we are giving children access to a quality education.
This is not to say we should abandon any of these worthwhile
initiatives, or shift our emphasis in the opposite direction.
just points out the need to avoid a near-sighted approach when looking at education. 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 incentive to State and
local education agencies, to colleges of education, to industry must