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nication technologies in behalf of better science and mathematics educa-
How science and mathematics teachers go about their work and with what resources may change in the future, but nothing on the horizon even suggests that their role will be diminished. Thus, it is urgent that some legislation be passed in this Congress so that we can begin to deal with the problem of helping the teachers upgrade their subject-matter knowledge and their ability to teach it.
Viewed in the long run, however, there are, I believe, several shortcomings in proposed legislation that remain to be dealt with. Some of these are:
The aggregate authorization in most proposed bills, whether matched
o Many of the proposals call for state and private matching of funds.
This is a reasonable idea conceptually, but it is clumsy in operation
o Proposed legislation does not distinguish between two related, but
quite different dimensions of the problem: (1) the recognition and
The proposals are not facing up to questions of effectiveness and effi
ciency. If we are really to serve the continuing education needs of
Like it or not, it will cost billions of dollars to restore vitality to the nation's science education enterprise. Proposed Federal legislation calls for only a few hundred million. Some States are making investments, but many are not, and many in fact are reducing educational expenditures. Where, then, are the funds to come from to do the job, and how can the job be managed?
The management question comes up because there are so many players in the game.
On the Federal side there are several agencies (the Department of Education and NSF are the most prominent, but not alone) and several Congressional committees that have a legitimate interest in helping to upgrade science education. After that, we are dealing with 50 states, many of which divide the responsibility in smaller regional units, and some 15,000 separate school districts presided over by independent school boards. Private business and industry vary greatly from place to place in what they are doing to assist education. The foundations, public libraries and science museums, colleges and universities, numbering in the thousands, have a part to play in science education, as have the nation's scientific, mathematics, and engineering societies. How, then, are we to marshal resources and achieve national purposes, given such dispersion of authority?
As a start in finding an approach that acknowledges the capital investment character of the problem, the need for Federal leadership, and the crucial reality of State and local implementation, I would like to suggest that congress consider creating what I will refer to here as the Corporation for Educational Assistance. This, or some such organization, might have the following features:
It would be quasi-governmental, modeled after such predecessors as
Like such organizations, and perhaps also the Corporation for Public
It would itself be capitalized with funds from several sources.
- a fixed annual appropriation from Congress,
the issuance of interest-paying bonds,
contributions from the private sector that would qualify for special tax credits,
revenue from an ear-marked tax on electronic arcade games. (This alone might provide something like several hundred million dollars a year, and would not be onerous.)
The Corporation would review plans to improve science and mathematics
Since the focus of CEA would be long-term investment and making capital
The second idea I would like to present to you has to do with the quality and availability of continuing teacher education. The nation's teachers, as has already been suggested, and the nation's children need to have available a modern system for learning. Such a system would have several elements, including:
a dedicated satellite (EDSAT), available for 24 hours a day exclusively to serve the educational needs of all of our students and teachers.
a combination of land stations and cable connections that would link every school and college to EDSAT.
the development in many different universities, schoolrooms, televi
sion stations, museums, laboratories, etc., of instructional programs and materials for science teachers and their students, and eventually for students and teachers of all subjects.
In addition to program material to supplement science and mathematics teaching at all grade levels, EDSAT could transmit such unusual fare as daily science news for the classroom, ideas for student activities, math competitions, special events, etc. All broadcasts could be automatically video-taped on the premises (day or night) and used by teachers and students in accordance with their own individual situations and preferences. Needless to say, material could be made available in this way to colleges, homes, libraries, and museums.
computer capability in every school. One or two computers per school
Under present circumstances some of these things will be done in some places, but, viewed nationally, progress will certainly be hit or miss, unsystematic, and unnecessarily expensive. The Federal government should consider assigning NASA the responsibility for designing, launching, and maintaining this national educational communications system. The costs and responsibility for the development of materials themselves could be lodged in other agencies, such as the Department of Education and NSF. The management of "EDSAT PLUS". could be modeled after COMSAT, or made the responsibility of an Education Communications Authority.
purpose, in any case, would be to set as a national goal the technological modernization of teaching, and to set up an agency to build a nationwide system of communications linking the schools and colleges of America to each other, to the scientists, engineers, and mathematicians of our nation, and to the most creative producers of science learning materials.
These two ideas--a Corporation for Educational Assistance and EDSAT-have not been worked out in detail. I present them to this Committee because I believe that eventually we must look to such mechanisms as ways to mobilize our financial and intellectual resources in behalf of the scientific learning of our young people.
Senator STAFFORD. Thank you very much, Dr. Rutherford.
Mr. ALDRIDGE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. For the record, I would like to begin by noting that the data which has documented this crisis has come from only two sources, principally from the National Science Teachers Association, and second from Howe and Gerlovich of Iowa State. None of that data came from the National Science Foundation.
I am saying this because one of the serious problems we had was spending 3 years convincing the Congress that we had a crisis because the National Center of Education Statistics had not provided documentation, and neither had the Science Resource Studies Group at the National Science Foundation.
With that, I would like to cite some of the more recent results of our studies, but not repeat most of the statistics which you have all heard so frequently.
There clearly is a catastrophic drop in the number of people prepared to teach science and mathematics in the secondary schools. În addition, there are at this time large numbers of unqualified teachers in the classrooms-something like 30 percent of the teachers in science and math classes.
We know that a substantial number of these are reassignments from social sciences, physical education, home economics, and so forth-reassignments because of surpluses in those areas and the inability of schools to employ qualified people because of the shortages.
We also know that in this present school year, something like 640,000 children were not able to take a science or math course because the classes were not scheduled in order to schedule courses other than science or math for those surplus teachers; we have evidence of that.
We know that among the 17 million children in grades 8 to 12 this school year, 6.3 million are not taking any science at all, and 6.4 million are not taking any math.
One of the more serious problems that we recognize and we feel is not adequately addressed in the legislation that we have seen is the matter of outdated courses and course content.
What we have today in the schools was designed originally for those persons who would become scientists and engineers. It now is outdated and obsolete even for that audience. It has not served at all those 95 percent of the population who do not intend to become scientists or engineers. So, something important needs to be done in this regard.
We recognize the fact that there is a local responsibility for the delivery of education, and we recognize the State responsibility in preparation of teachers, and we recognize that the Federal responsibility comes in only when we face such a crisis as we now see.
Nevertheless, you have an agency in the Federal Government which has a mission to support science education at all levels. Almost as a direct consequence of the negligence of that agency, we face the present situation; that agency is the National Science Foundation.
The constituency of the board that offers policy for that agency is almost entirely made up of people who are research scientists or