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and professors in medical school and others more money because the marketplace simply would not let them remain there if we did not.
And I think we need to work out some flexibility in that regard, although first of all, we ought to greatly increase the salary schedule because we are simply not paying all of the teachers enough.
Senator STAFFORD. Thank you very much, Mr. Secretary. All of our witnesses before the subcommittee on this issue have indicated that a comprehensive Federal approach is absolutely essential to deal with the many problems of mathematics and science education.
The administration's proposal for the Department of Education would provide $50 million, as you pointed out, for increasing the number and skills of teachers. Do you feel that this is sufficient as far as the Federal initiative is concerned?
Are there other activities the Federal Government might undertake to address these problems?
Secretary BELL. Yes. Well, in addition to that, we have the initiative in the National Science Foundation, but if you added both of them up, you would not come to a dollar commitment, I would freely admit, that is related to any of the bills that we are discussing.
I would explain, Mr. Chairman, that the problem that I faced in fashioning this bill is that I had to work within a certain budget allowance. And I had to consider what the impact would be if I put more money into this and had a broader based program on student aid, aid for disadvantaged children or for the handicapped, and so on.
In addition to that, we get to the philosophical question about what is the appropriate Federal role and what is the State and local responsibility. And we feel that the primary responsibility still remains with the State and local entities. Now, let me hasten to say that I know they are as hard strapped for funds as we are. But we felt, given the fact that all the money we could afford right now for this program was $50 million, that we ought to have the rifle shot approach.
And that is why we are proposing to target all of our resources on the teacher supply, teacher scholarship situation. And if I were to point out any deficiency in the other bills, I would say that they do not concentrate, even with more money, they do not concentrate as much money there as our much more limited bill does.
Senator STAFFORD. Thank you very much. I think the Chair will observe that we think you did very well in working through OMB and the administration to come up with $13.1 billion overall against about the $10 billion level that you had a year ago. And while this committee may not think 13.1 is enough, we do want to recognize the fact you really did a very persuasive job in getting the administration to come that high.
Secretary BELL. Yes. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. We need to give the President credit because he made the ultimate decision that we would not come forward at this time and propose cuts in student aid and aid to the disadvantaged and handicapped, those priority areas.
And I want to say before the committee that President Reagan was very supportive of me in the budget deliberations. I want to express my appreciation to him. It was not easy for him, Mr. Chairman, to come forward with a proposal for another Federal aid to education bill in face of all of the deficit problems that we are facing. It also shows where his priority is.
And I appreciated Senator Pell quoting from his state of the Union message on this.
Senator STAFFORD. Thank you. One more question and I will yield.
It is my understanding, Mr. Secretary, that you may be considering the possible transfer of a portion of your discretionary fund under the chapter II bloc grant to the Department of Defense.
Could you tell us if this is true, and if so, for what purpose should this be done?
This Senator, who believes our education budget is extremely slim, relative to the defense budget, would look with considerable disfavor, frankly, upon such a transfer. If you are considering doing this, could not your purpose be served within the confines of the Department of Defense budget itself?
Secretary BELL. Mr. Chairman, I have not given any consideration to transferring any of my funds anywhere. We are so hard pressed where we are with our resources. Apparently some member of my staff has been discussing that with someone besides the Secretary. There has been no such proposal put before me. And when it comes, it will be viewed with a very skeptical eye. We have so much demand on that discretionary fund that there is no discretion left in it. I cannot see where we would have any resources to send over to Cap Weinberger's department.
Senator STAFFORD. Well, that is a reassuring answer, Mr. Secretary. And I thank you.
Senator Pell, do you have questions?
Senator PELL. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. And I apologize for not being here to get the full benefit of your testimony. I will read it in the record. But we had another hearing down the hall in the Foreign Relations Committee.
In light of the situation we face in foreign language instruction, I was wondering why the administration called for the elimination of all Federal funding for international education and foreign language studies in fiscal 1984?
Secretary BELL. Yes. With the budget constraints that we had, I set out from the outset, Senator Pell, not to come before you with a proposed cut in student aid, not to come before you with a cut in education for the disadvantaged and for the handicapped, and as we related to these priorities, we made some painful choices.
Within the budget constraints that I operated under, I simply felt that the priorities were higher in other areas. Now, that is not to downgrade foreign language instruction, which I know is a great concern to many, but I felt within the constraints of the $13.1 billion budget I had to make some hard choices. This was one of them.
I would emphasize, Senator, that we propose and you dispose. And you may not agree with my priorities, but we hope you will agree with the total dollar amount so we can hold that deficit down.
But if you do not do that, then there may be areas where you would fund differently than I would, even within the limits of the budget that we have had.
Senator PELL. As I said earlier in my opening statement, I think we are very lucky, those of us who believe in education, that you are fighting the battle for education as well as you do.
Secretary BELL. Thank you.
Senator PELL. I know that you are doing your best. You have been quoted as saying that we must consider setting new maximum competency goals by students and our citizens of enhanced math, science, and computer literacy.
How would you define these standards? How would we get to them? I have noticed that in general education communities seem to dislike the idea of tests and performance checks. I agree with you in this.
Secretary BELL. Yes. I feel that we have been concentrating unduly on minimum competency examinations. I agree with the concern that we can have too much testing. As important as it is to have evaluation, it can surely be overdone.
I feel that we need more challenge for our gifted and talented and for even the midrange in ability student than we now have. So I have been emphasizing wherever I have had the opportunity to have the podium before education groups, that we need to not abandon our commitment to the disadvantaged and the handicapped.
Surely, with all the progress that we have made in that area, we need to hang in there and continue to make more. But on top of that, we need to be challenging, the able students more. And that was the point I was trying to make when I criticized minimum competency examinations. I think we need education that challenges every student to the full limits of their ability.
And I feel that if we do not do that in this highly competitive world, that we are not going to be serving our Nation as well as we should.
Senator PELL. Thank you very much.
Senator DENTON. First, I want to defer to my colleagues here in terms of their senatorial experience and, I think, devotion to duty in the educational field. I do not challenge that, nor do I try to pretend that I have similar expertise. In 34 years in the Navy, however, about a third of it was actually spent in school as a professor teaching or involved with my seven children's education in a private capacity. So I do have about 7 years of ongoing involvement in education.
I wanted to correct any misimpression that might have been derived from my original remarks. I do think that we have to keep in mind-and I know that colleagues at the table here disagree with me on this—that we may have a crisis in the first mandate assigned Government, that is, provide for the common defense, and to promote the general welfare, which was mentioned second, and with a less active verb, if you will, promote rather than provide; indicates that the Federal Government is not the sole agency responsible, nor the primary one for the general welfare, and espe cially in the field of education. However, I do think that the expertise that you gentlemen have brought to this bill is broader and more relevant to the problem confronting us than the one which the administration has brought, and I do recognize, Mr. Secretary, that you had a limited amount of money to work with and would prefer to have a little more.
In other words, I want to say I do not necessarily approve of $400 million, but I think the amount proposed for this problem by the administration is probably not sufficient for the need.
I would like to say that I have a problem with both bills that have been discussed so far. Going from my own childhood until now and with what knowledge I have of education, which, as I qualified, is not as much as my colleagues on the subcommittee. I know that throwing money at the problem does not always solve it. From the point of view of the State of Alabama, it has not worked.
I watched that happen for about 9 years, both as a Senator and as someone on the Governor's commission on that subject. What is needed, I think, is some kind of emphasis on the common means by which you learn science, mathematics, computer education, foreign language, and that is an emphasis on the English language.
And I do not see that in any of these bills. And it appalls me because when I was-after returning to the States from an absence of some time, my son was teaching remedial English as a senior in a college to freshman students. I could not believe the kinds of papers that he was working with.
They were the equivalent of what I would have considered standard fifth grade papers when I was in school myself. Now, if you are going to study a complex scientific, technical subject with nuances of meaning which are implicit, you must have a mastery of the English language.
It seems to me that nothing has fallen off worse than proficiency in English, and that we should have some sort of emphasis in these bills. And I am just asking you and them if that is incorrect or do you agree, that we should have something?
I have seen accounts in the paper, in the newspaper in which there was mention that there would be emphasis on revivifying the emphasis on the English language in the basics. I find it chaotic and fundamentally responsible for some of the difficulties with respect to learning mathematics and science which are absent from this bill.
Can I ask you for a comment on that, Mr. Chairman?
Senator STAFFORD. Well, the Chair has two comments: The first one is not entirely serious, but I will say that Senator Pell and I appreciate your kind words about our alleged expertise in the area. And as one retired Naval officer to another, I would say that
Senator PELL. And a Coastguard officer.
Senator STAFFORD. And a Coastguard officer. That if we were faced with docking a ship under difficult circumstances, we would certainly yield to you. [Laughter.]
As to your comments about the necessity for teaching of adequate English in our school systems, we would be glad to entertain any concrete suggestion you might have in connection with what
ever bill that may emerge from this subcommittee. So we would be glad to make that part of our general discussion and general effort in terms of crafting a bill when we reach markup.
Senator DENTON. Well, just one sentence, sir, and this would be my final comment. It says, Senator Pell's bill to provide program financial assistance to the States in order to strengthen-and my memo may be wrong from my staff-instruction in mathematics, science, computer education, and vocational education, and foreign languages. And it is all addressed at a math/science need, and so forth.
And I just wonder why the English was left out of it.
Senator KENNEDY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I think the Senator from Alabama has just made a case for this Nation's continued recognition of education as a local responsibility and of the important role for the States and the Federal Government in support of the local effects.
I agree with the Senator from Alabama that we do not solve our problems domestically by throwing money at them but I remind the Senator that we also cannot do it in the areas of national security either. And if we find ourselves with a functionally illiterate population, we are not going to have a very effective military operation, as well. I think that we should recognize that.
There are just a couple of concerns that I have, Mr. Secretary, in the areas of math and science. First, how are we going to make sure that this program does not become an elitist kind of a program? How can we be sure that math and science education gets out to all the students?
I have my own ideas and suggestions on this subject? I welcome the opportunity to work with the chairman of the committee and the ranking member, who have always been enormously responsive to any ideas that any of the members of this committee or the Senate, to achieve its objective.
Second, does it not make sense to provide these kinds of programs at the elementary and secondary school level and in colleges rather than to focus exclusively on secondary schools and colleges?
Secretary BELL. Yes. First on the elitist matter, I think the best encouragement we have that that is not going to happen is the fact that school boards all across the country and State boards of education are raising the requirements that are applicable to everyone, that they take more mathematics and more science.
I feel that a general upgrading-if you have to have 3 years of math, algebra I, and algebra II, and then, say, trig and geometry as a minimum to graduate-all students have to take that, then that is going to apply to all of them except those few that are so handicapped that they cannot study in this area.
I think that is the best assurance that we have. Now, in our most populous State, the State of California, their State board of education has just made some very dramatic recommendations in these increases. They do not just apply to the more talented students; they apply to all students as a requirement for graduation.