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The bill requires local planning and authorizes programs to train and retrain teachers, improve curricula, to develop improved instructional methods and materials, to acquire instruction equipment and to expand access to quality instruction in math, science, and technology. It will support similar activities in colleges and universities, as well as programs of research and development.
Finally, it will support the establishment of new math and science centers which will provide valuable resources to students and teachers at the elementary and secondary levels and will form the conduit between the researchers in the universities and the practitioners in the schools. This bill will provide a comprehensive, cooperative program to improve math and science education in our schools.
I am not unmindful that this program requires a major commitment of resources and effort, and no single institution or level of government can bear the burden alone. The Federal Government must provide the leadership. It must provide funds. It must provide guidance. But it must work with State and local governments, both financially and programmatically, in this effort. Nor can universities, libraries, museums, or businesses be forgotten. Together in a truly national effort, this Nation can make its public math and science education the best in the world.
I look forward to working with my colleagues on the committee and particularly my two good friends, Senators Pell and Stafford, to develop a bill on this subject agreeable to a majority of this committee and the Senate.
Senator STAFFORD. The committee will come to order. We see the Secretary has returned, which means that at least one member of the conference has survived for the rest of the meeting. [Laughter.]
Mr. Secretary, I want to say that I join with Claiborne Pell in saying to you that I think under very trying circumstances, under many of which probably you have been misunderstood by those who wish to misunderstand you, that I think you have really been a friend of education these last 2 years, and I join with Senator Pell in welcoming you here this morning as a friend of education who has done the best he can under the most trying of circumstances for the last 2 years.
And we would be very happy to hear your statement.
STATEMENT OF HON. TERREL H. BELL, SECRETARY OF EDUCA
TION, ACCOMPANIED BY CAROL CICHOWSKI, ACTING DIREC-
If it is agreeable to the chairman, I will submit my written statement for the record, make a few comments and then be ready to respond to questions.
Senator STAFFORD. That would be most agreeable. We will place the written statement in the record in full.
Secretary BELL. Thank you. I know that the committee has heard in testimony the rationale for an initiative to solve the problem in the area of math, science, and technology. With the budget pressures under which the administration is laboring at the present time, the enormous concern about a deficit that could reach as high as $200 billion, and with a great amount of concern on the part of many in the administration about the initiation of a new Federal aid to education program in the face of all of these factors, the President has been very responsive to the data that we have presented indicating that this is a critical problem and that it is related to many priorities that we have in this administration.
Mr. Chairman, the administration's bill that Senator Hatch indicated was introduced yesterday, compared to the other bills, is a very limited and carefully targeted piece of legislation. The moneys available for this bill within the Department's budget had to be worked out within some tight constraints, constantly looking at this huge deficit that we are pondering. We felt that we needed to target the very limited resources that we could provide on the most urgent problem, and the most critical problem is the shortage of teachers. So, we have concentrated the full $50 million in our proposal on scholarships to provide and encourage the preparation of additional teachers in math and science.
We wanted a bill that would provide enough flexibility so that each of the 50 States could utilize these funds where the need is the greatest. We hope that our funds will be supplemented and enhanced both from State and local resources, limited as I know they are, and also from the private sector. We have analyzed the availability of secondary schoolteachers. We have studied some successful programs that have been piloted in some school systems at the present time, and we have concluded that if we can concentrate our resources on prospective teachers, those with college degrees, and those that have been teaching but do not have a teaching major in math or science, if we can concentrate our efforts on these potential teachers, we will be able to have a quick response to the need. And that is why we have focused our efforts in this regard.
As our bill is considered, we would urge that the committee keep in mind that the National Science Foundation budget and deliberations on their budget within the administration were taken into account.
NSF is going to be working in the precollege science field in both science and mathematics, in materials development, and in areas that will complement the focus of our bill-increasing the supply of teachers.
We have emphasized in our proposal the fact that the need is immediate. A survey that we conducted of the States and the school systems indicates that boards of education and State boards of education are dramatically raising the high school graduation requirements in these subject matter areas.
Because of this, the demand for teachers in mathematics and science on the high school level is increasing, and there is a decrease-I would not say a commensurate decrease—but there is quite a decrease and going to be quite a decrease in demand in other subject areas.
For one thing, high school enrollments are declining, and as students are required to take more mathematics and science courses, it just follows that they are going to enroll in fewer courses in other fields.
There is going to be an opportunity to redeploy teachers. In addition to that, with the high level of unemployment right now, there are others with college degrees who would be willing and capable of preparing for teaching. And so we have wanted to concentrate our resources in this area.
I would like to add just a few comments about some of the other math/science bills. If our legislation is not the legislation that moves forward, I think it is important that we concentrate on the number one problem. And the number one problem is to increase the supply of mathematics and science teachers. Admittedly, there are other things that we ought to be doing in addition to that, but my concern about the other bills is that the dollar amounts are in excess of what we can afford right now with the budget problems that we have. But if that is disagreed with and if we cannot persuade the committee on that item, we would emphasize, Mr. Chairman, that the provisions in the other bills do not concentrate a large enough portion of the total dollars and target them on bringing into the teaching ranks immediately more math and science teachers.
I would acknowledge that there are applicable provisions in the bills, those sponsored by you, Mr. Chairman, and Senator Pell, the bill sponsored by Senator Domenici, and the bill sponsored by Congressman Perkins and others in the House. But we do not think that they carry sufficient resources and they give sufficient priority to getting new teachers and retrained teachers into the classroom in a very short period of time.
There is both a long range and a short range solution. We would emphasize that our bill concentrates on the short range problem. And as limited as our bill is in dollar amounts, we emphasized this area.
We would urge the committee to take another look at that and see if whatever bill you markup and move forward, that our approach would get favorable consideration. But whatever bill does move forward, we would hope that we would get more emphasis upon meeting the needs for next fall and a year from next fall when we think the increase is going to be dramatic.
Just to put that in perspective, I would emphasize that our National Center for Education Statistics estimates for every increase in a course required to graduate from high school, you generate a need for 34,000 additional teachers.
Now, that is not allowing for the attrition and the loss that we are getting in the supply of teachers at the present time. And so we cannot emphasize too much the necessity for increasing the supply.
I am sure the chairman is very familiar with our bill and its orientation. With those comments and with that emphasis, I would be pleased to respond to questions.
[The prepared statement of Secretary Bell follows:)
T.H. Bell, Secretary of Education
Senate Committee on Labor and Human Resources
Science and Mathematics Education
March 9, 1983
Secretary Bell is accompanied by
Chairman Hatch, Chairman Stafford, and Committee members.
this opportunity to appear before the Subcommittee on Education, Arts, and
the Humanities to discuss science and mathematics education.
and I know you share this view
that there are currently few topics in
education which are more deserving of attention than this one.
Certainly quality in education 18 a concern in every field of study, and
there 18 a pressing need to increase academic excellence at all levels.
is why I have created « National Commission on Excellence in Education to
focus on the entire range of problems which face American education.
Commission's report will be published this Spring.
But science, mathematics, and technology have a very special importance
in this country. They comprise one of the cornerstones on which our success
18 & nation 18 built.
Our economic strength, our clitary strength, and our
health and well-being depend to a very large degree on modern science and
much of which has been developed by our own citizens.
maintain our strength and, Indeed, our independence, we simply cannot
afford to let our considerable sk111 in these fields degenerate.
The President, in his message last May to the National Academy of
Sciences symposium on science education, and again in the State of the.
Union address, clearly and forcefully articulated this concera, saying
that the declining condition of science and mathematics education has
become serious enough to compromise the nation's future ability to develop
and advance our traditional industrial base, and to compete in inter
The problems are particularly severe at the secondary school level
where there is a growing shortage of qualified science and mathematics
teachers at the very time when many States and localities are trying to
raise standards and locrease enrollments.
o In a recent survey, for example, 43 States reported a shortage of
math teachers, 42 reported a shortage of physics teachers, and 38 a shortage of chemistry teacherı.
Yet, the supply of new science and mathematics teachers is dwindling:
o According to data from the National Science Teachers Association,
during the past decade there has been a 79% decline in the number of individuals preparing to teach mathematice, and a 64% decline in the number of individuals preparing to teach science,
As our current science and mathematics teachers retire or, in too many
lastances leave teaching for other fields, it is very, very difficult
to find qualified replacements for them. The problem will grow into a
crisis because of another trend in education:
State and local school
boards are raising high school science and math graduation requirements.
For example, since 1980 nine States have decided to increase the graduation
requirements in mathematics, while another ten are also considering that
as an option.
Our current requi rements for high school graduation are too low.
For example, · 1983 survey showed that only fourteen States require two years of mathematics, and only three States require three years.
Other data show that only 38% of seniors report taking more than
As boards raise the requirements to increase students' competence in
mathematics and science, the need for teachers will expand at an alarming