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3. SHOULD THERE BE ANY "RULE OF THUMB" WE SHOULD FOLLOW IN DETERMINING THE
PROPORTIONS OF FUNDS TO BE EXPENDED ON TEACHER TRAINING, FOR EXAMPLE, AS OPPOSED TO INSTRUCTIONAL EQUIPMENT?
Answer. A "rule of thumb" cannot be established for determining what portion of funds should be spent on teacher training, equipment, or any other purpose. The reason is that the needs of each school district vary. However, school boards can be asked to establish priorities. If federal fundi ng is limited, teacher training and other capacity building activities should be funded first, leaving the higher cost maintenance costs to be funded once capacity building is complete. (From a practical standpoint, capacity building and maintenance costs should be supported simultaneously.)
4. I ASKED THE PREVIOUS PANEL ABOUT THE QUESTION OF LOAN FORGIVENESS. DO YOU
BELIEVE LOAN FORGIVENESS WOULD BE AN EFFECTIVE MECHANISM TO HELP IMPROVE THE QUALITY AND INCREASE THE QUANTITY OF MATHEMATICS AND SCIENCE TEACHERS?
Answer. A loan forgiveness program may be a useful component of a larger program. However, it should be emphasized that the first personnel priori ty need is to upgrade the content knowledge and instructional skills of the existing teaching force both elementary and secondary. With respect to new teachers, loan forgi veness can work within certain limits. For example, we do not believe that they will attract the best students, nor will they necessarily result in teachers remai ni ng in the profession beyond the term of their loan forgiveness.
5. ONE OF THE ARGUMENTS FOR A FEDERAL ROLE IN MATHEMATICS AND SCIENCE
EDUCATION IS THE CRISIS WE FACE IN PROVIDING AMERICANS WITH THE TECHNOLOGICAL SKILLS NECESSARY TO MEET OUR ECONOMIC AND DEFENSE NEEDS. IN THIS LIGHT, DO YOU FEEL IT IS APPROPRIATE FOR THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TO PROVIDE GENERAL EDUCATIONAL AID FOR MATH AND SCIENCE, WHEN MOST EXISTING FEDERAL PROGRAMS PROVIDE AID TO SPECIAL POPULATIONS?
Answer. At least for the large fundi ng programs, the federal role in education has been supported as a means for achieving some other national purpose. In recent years, the national purposes sought have been in the related areas of civil rights, poverty, and other targeted purposes, the costs of which have been beyond the means of local school systems (i.e, P.L. 94-142 and Bilingual Education Act). However, programs have been enacted in the past to serve general student participation in program areas tied to the economy and national defense, e.g., the Morrill Act, the Vocational Education Act and NDEA. The point is, from the standpoint of history as well as contemporary needs, there is a legitimate role for the federal government to finance the needs of local school districts in mathematics and science - particularly if the fulfillment of those needs is tied to the national interest in other areas of federal concern. However, any time the federal government moves into the area of curriculum or instructional methods, care must be taken to ensure that (a) the federal government does not engage substantively in those areas, or (b) the federal government does not rearrange the local/state relationship to the extent that the state level, under its own policies, laws, and traditions, becomes more or less involved in curriculum, instructional skills, etc.
RESPONSE TO QUESTIONS FOR PANEL II
Susan B. Adler
March 22, 1983
QUESTION #1: Are there any potential pitfalls in a comprehensive federal mathematics and science education initiative? Are we neglecting other necessary subjects of study? ANSWER: Part of the answer lies in how such a federal initiative is defined and who will be involved in shaping the definition; the remaining part of the answer lies in how comprehensive and flexible will be various approaches for carrying forward this initiative and again, who will be involved in its implementation. The ECS Task Force on Education for Economic Growth is focusing its attention on the kinds of skills, attitudes, and behaviors needed by high school students in order to become productive and contribute to the needs of a modern technological society, and on the kind of learning environment needed which will motivate students to acquire these skills. The adequacy of these students' preparation relates back to the quality of the education work force generally, which in turn raises questions regarding the value we place on attracting, training, and rewarding the very best teachers. And, this situation relates directly to concerns over our ability to compete in the economic arena. Our Task Force focus is broader than mathematics and science; we are highlighting skills that encompass the ability to think through problems, to reason, to analyze, and to infer and draw conclusions. What is important is that in reaching consensus on our definition, state and local policymakers, education leaders, business and industry representatives were directly involved in discussing the dimensions of the problem and in shaping approaches in which each sector could recognize their respective responsibilities in affecting change. The pitfall federal legislation must avoid is the omission of any of the essential players in defining a comprehensive federal mathematics and science initiative. With limited federal dollars to invest and with incomplete knowledge of what programs will guarantee success, we do not have the luxury to allocate money which might not reach down to the core of the problem, as experienced by individual states and local communities. Governors, legislators, chief state school officers, state and local school board members, teachers, parents, and private industry representatives must all become involved both in shaping this definition and in defining the solutions. QUESTION #2A: Should there by any intrastate distribution formula in a legislative initiative to deal with the math and science education problem? ANSWER: No. The history of intrastate distribution formulas, despite the most carefully constructed weighting systems and percentage distributions, essentially wash out to funding distributions based primarily on per pupil enrollment. Based on what our Task Force has seen happening in state after state and highlighted in the attached set of regional profiles, the federal government should:
(1) Define a set of criteria or purposes that must be addressed
through a statewide plan, task force, or special committee.
need from the locals as one way of meeting the federal criteria.)
by the state of the changes resulting from the impact of these
may have been encountered, as well as any successes. We have heard over and over again from our Task Force members that it is equally as important to understand what has not worked and why, rather than learning only about model programs. In this way, a foundation can be laid for determining what has been accomplished over the time period of this initiative, and information will have been obtained which can establish some basis for determining what future federal role may be needed. QUESTION #2B: If we are speaking of a maximum level of funding of no more than $500 million, do we seriously dilute our effort if we require funds to be passed through to all school districts within a state? ANSWER: Yes. Passing funds through to every local school district would seriously dilute any federal initiative in the $500 million range. This approach does not take into account the unevenness of the problem among districts, or the importance of encouraging such approaches as: (1) the formation of multidistrict consortia arrangements; (2) regional strategies administered through intermediate education units; (3) cooperative arrangements among elementary, secondary and higher education, libraries, museums and other community resources; and (4) partnerships with private industry. Again, incentives for these kinds of cooperative approaches which build on a collective sense of responsibility among state, local and private industry leaders need to be addressed through the development of individual state plans. As stated in question #1, these plans must include direct involvement of state leaders in the position to tie education resources directly to the economic development needs of their states--governors, together with legislators, chief state school officers and private industry partners. State and local education agencies alone are not able to draw these pieces together. QUESTION #20: In light of several studies indicating that state distribution of Chapter II Block Grants more closely mirrors general enrollment patterns in states rather than patterns of greatest need, what assurance is there that states will distribute federal math and science funds to areas of greatest need? ANSWER: NO assurance, especially if federal dollars are distributed on a formula basis to locals. Part of the difficulty lies in constructing a federal definition for "greatest need." Is teacher quality the issue of equal concern in every state? Whose definition of equity is the most appropriate? Are mathematics and science shortages of the same severity in every area? How much of the problem
is student motivation and, if so, how can more of these students be drawn to participate in upper level mathematics and science courses? Many states are already in the process of gathering the data to make more precise determinations of their actual needs, as our Task Force is documenting. Federal dollars would be best leveraged within this contex
QUESTION #3: Should there be any "rule of thumb" we should follow in determining the proportions of funds to be expended on teacher training, for example, as opposed to instructional equipment? ANSWER: No "rule of thumb" can be applied. Again, the unevenness of the problem across states and local districts makes federal proportioning difficult, combined with the uncertainty of continued federal resources. The history of Title I funding apparently demonstrated that in the early years, when schools were unsure of long-term future funding, more money was spent on "equipment." Again, if a state develops a comprehensive plan, multiple funding sources could be addressed through this plan, with possible arrangements in certain states for equipment donations from private industries. There seems to be a general consensus that funding should be limited in the instructional equipment area, and that perhaps, a percentage limitation should be placed on the amount of dollars spent for hardware.
QUESTION #4: I asked the previous panel about the question of loan forgiveness. Do you believe loan forgiveness would be an effective mechanism to help improve the quality and increase the quantity of mathematics and science teachers? ANSWER: Loan forgiveness does not address the underlying problem of what needs to be changed to create an environment with the growth and reward structures necessary to attract and keep the best teachers. Loan forgiveness only lowers the price tag; this strategy does not address the question of what long-term career incentives are available to encourage the best students to become and remain teachers.
In 1979, the New England Board of Higher Education (NEBHE) formed a special
• a fundamental weakening of the public school system;
The Commission concluded that the central task facing NEBHE is developing a more complete understanding among New Englanders of the strong influence of the quality of the region's educational system on the performance of the region's economy. Recommendations for addressing each of the three problem areas identified are designed for the purpose of regaining the competitive strength of the "knowledge intensive" New England region. In the area of particular interest to the Hunt Task Force--concern over weakening of the public school system--recommendations include: carrying out an assessment of teacher certification procedures in each of the six states, including a review of legislative constraints which may not allow flexibility for the employment of qualified teachers in such areas as science and mathematics; suggesting that senior personnel officers in the major New England corporations assist high school staff in developing curriculum relating to business and industry; and suggesting that partnerships between single high schools and individual corporations be systematically established in all states. NEBHE's action plan focuses on highlighting projects in each New England state which carry out recommendations advanced in the Commission report. A scoreboard of progress by state will be published and widely disseminated in the Spring of 1983. An ad hoc committee is also planned, composed of members from each of the six state legislatures, including members of the finance, education, and appropriation committees. Work of the committee will concentrate on assessing the conditions in each New England state regarding the recommendations presented in A Threat to Excellence. A central goal of these state reviews is to identify the level of progress and the ways in which the public and business sectors can facilitate the contributions of educational institutions to economic development in the region.
NEBHE membership encompasses the following six states: Connecticut, Maine,