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Summary and Recommendations
A lot of people out there think their kids are getting a good education, that they are getting everything they need. They badly need to be informed.—Robert Jentgens, Crane Naval Weapons Station
The last segment of this conference on the crisis in mathematics and science education in Indiana's elementary and secondary schools included a discussion by all of those participating in the conference on recommendations for a solution. All of the participants had a chance to voice their opinions on each recommendation, and after much discussion the following recommendations were agreed on. These recommendations have been organized into categories based on where initiatives for action would originate.
Recommendations for State Government
Recommendations for School Systems
1. Both mathematics and science should be taught to all students during every year in
Recommendations for Colleges/Universities
3. Colleges/universities that have summer institutes for talented mathematics and
Recommendations for the Private Sector
1. Businesses industries should provide part-time and summer employment for math-
If a coach loses a star player, that's news. If a teacher loses an entire program ... that's too bad.-William Lumbley
1. The four sectors should work together to establish some consensus about the
It is hoped that action will soon be taken on these recommendations, and that the current crisis in mathematics and science education in Indiana's elementary and secondary schools will be solved. The most important resource our nation has is its youth, and we are jeopardizing our future by neglecting our next generation.
Senator STAFFORD. Thank you very much, Doctor. Your help is appreciated.
Mr. Brod, you are next on the list, and we would be glad to hear
Mr. BROD. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. My name is Richard Brod. I represent the Joint National Committee for Languages, a coalition of 25 organizations for professionals in languages and international studies.
In our view, language study has two basic functions in American education. One is in general education to give students of all ages a basic groundwork in language and culture. The other is specialized skill training, thorough training in the language and culture for those individuals who need proficiency in order to perform their work or their public duties, or who simply desire it for the enrichment of their private lives.
All forecasts lead us to believe that the demand for training and language skills will continue the slow rise that has recently begun. Americans seem finally to be coming around to realizing that our national deficiency in language competence has weakened us economically and in other ways.
Interest in language study is growing, and its value is coming to be recognized both by our leaders and by the public at large.
May I say parenthetically that I am happy to be here during Foreign Language Week. The week began on Monday. President Reagan issued a proclamation from which I would like to quote a few words: "We cannot afford to be complacent,” he says, "about our position in the world community. Both our economy and our national security depend upon American competitiveness. We must be effective, not only in the development of high technology and telecommunications, but also in our ability to communicate in our own language, as well as the languages of other nations."
The two functions of language study, one general, one specialized, are different, but they are not incompatible. I am happy to say that there is good news on the front of language study in general education. After many years of what this morning was called permissiveness, colleges and universities have at last begun to restore the language requirements they abandoned 15 years ago.
Our most recent survey shows that 66 percent of them now have language requirements for the bachelor's degree, whereas about 5 years ago, the figure was only 54 percent. At the same time, our teaching profession has shown creativity in developing attractive and interesting new courses and in broadening the scope of curriculum in language and culture.
On the other hand, in specialized education and advanced research and training in language and area studies, the needs are growing; and it is clearly an area that the Federal Government must continue to address.
To quote a recently published statement on foreign language education by the Board of Regents of the State of New York: "Because foreign policy and international relations are the business of the Federal Government, this area almost uniquely is a clear province for Federal attention."
In the category of specialized education and advanced research and training in language and area studies, the Federal Government has made a major contribution through title VI of the Higher Education Act, originally known as the National Defense Education Act. These programs have a splendid track record, and in our opinion merit the continued recognition and support of the Congress.
Valuable as they are, however, they are also highly specialized and therefore limited in the number of people they can serve and in the kinds of institutions where they can be housed. To meet the growing economic, political, and cultural needs of our citizens for communicative skills in the use of foreign languages, programs of study in languages and cultures need to be made accessible to students of all ages in as many communities as possible. Incentives need to be found to encourage schools, colleges, and universities to invest their own resources into setting up programs in a variety of languages.
Incentives need to be found to encourage students, both in high school and in postsecondary education, to make the kind of commitment necessary for success, and above all, ways need to be found to insure an adequate supply of skilled teachers to meet anticipated needs and to retrain, refresh, and reequip experienced teachers to meet a growing demand.
Like the study of science, language study requires a considerable investment of time and effort. Like science teachers, teachers of foreign languages can easily grow rusty in their skills and have a legitimate need for refresher training at regular intervals.
As part of our own effort to build language competence in the Nation, leaders of our profession have recently embarked on a major effort to reach consensus on precise definitions of the stages of achievement in language study, ranging from novice level to survival skills, to the level of proficiency necessary for performing one's job.
The achievement of consensus in these definitions will not only help us become more accountable to our public, it will also enable us to shift the basis of educational measurement in our field from credit hours, that is, seat time, to proficiency. In other words, we will be able to certify what our students can do with a language, not merely how much time they have spent in the classroom. We are working on this, and the imminent, we hope, achievement of these definitions will, we think, usher in a quiet revolution in the teaching, study, and appreciation of foreign languages in the United States.
We believe that this particular change is in the national interest of the United States and that the kind of support and vision offered by such bills as S. 530 and H.R. 1310 will help us in accomplishing this goal.
I can assure the committee that our profession in turn is eager to make its contribution to helping the Nation prepare for the 21st century.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Brod follows:)
STATEMENT PRESENTED TO THE
SUBCOMMITTEE ON EDUCATION, ARTS & HUMANITIES
March 9, 1983
National Committee for
For Further Information Contact:
J. David Edwards, Director
THANK YOU, MR. CHAIRMAN, AND MEMBERS OF THE SUBCOMMITTEE,
FOR THIS OPPORTUNITY TO REPRESENT THE MODERN LANGUAGE ASSOCIATION
AND THE JOINT NATIONAL COMMITTEE FOR LANGUAGES IN ADDRESSING
THE ROLE AND IMPORTANCE OF SECOND LANGUAGES TO OUR EDUCATIONAL
SYSTEM AND OUR NATION.
THE JOINT NATIONAL COMMITTEE FOR
LANGUAGES IS AN ORGANIZATION THAT REPRESENTS TWENTY-FIVE OF THIS
NATION'S MAJOR LANGUAGE ASSOCIATIONS.
JNCL REPRESENTS THE
INTERESTS OF OVER 200,000 PROFESSIONALS WITH EXPERTISE IN ALL
AREAS OF THE LANGUAGE FIELD INCLUDING THE LESS COMMONLY TAUGHT
LANGUAGES, THE CLASSICS, TRANSLATION, ENGLISH AS A SECOND
TO EXPRESS OUR SINCERE CONCERN THAT LEGISLATION SUCH AS S. 530
IS NECESSARY AND TO STATE AGAIN OUR FUNDAMENTAL BELIEF IN
LANGUAGE STUDY AS ESSENTIAL TO THE POLITICAL, ECONOMIC AND
INTELLECTUAL SECURITY OF OUR NATION.