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members of the fastest growing minority group in the United States, and scientific and technological illiterates.

I thank you for the opportunity to share our views in how our schools can be assisted-of assistance to you.

Thank you, Senator.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Gainey follows:)


My name is Donald Gainey.

I am the President of the Rhode Island

Association of School Principals and a member of the National Association

of Secondary School Principals.

As president of the RIASP, I represent

both elementary and secondary school administrators in the private and

public sectors of the State of Rhode Island.

I am particularly pleased

to testify before you today for two reasons.

First, in speaking on behalf

of the RIASP and the NASSP, I have the opportunity to testify before the

Honorable Senator Claiborne Pell from my home state, who has always been

recognized as a true champion of education, and an individual who is res

pected for his leadership in this field on the national level.

Second, I

have an opportunity to address an issue that both the RIASP and the NASSP

feel is critical on both the regional and national levels.

While the

focus of the problem may be different from region to region, the rapid and

ever changing impact that technological advances have made on industry and

the economy have dictated a national concern with regard to math and science

instruction at all levels of our educational process.

The solutions to our problems are not simple. However, we submit that

steps to improve the current state of affairs lie in our educational insti

tutions and, more specifically, upon the sound foundation built in our

elementary and secondary schools.

Greater efforts in the recruitment and

retention of qualified teachers, as well as the development of methods and

materials to deliver stronger mathematics and science instruction at the

elementary and secondary levels, must begin immediately.

Before I develop more fully our potential solutions to this problem,

I would like to mention some alarming statistics which we feel will point

to the critical nature of the problem both in the State of Rhode Island

and nationally.

During the past decade, there has been a marked decline of math and science

instruction nationally.

In a report based upon 1980 information obtained

from a sample of 1,100 high schools and 28,000 senior graduates, Dr. Paul

Hurd of Stanford University found that while approximately 67 percent of

the seniors completed two years of mathematics, only 34 percent completed

three years.

Similar statistics were identified for science, in that

only 44 percent of the graduating students complete two years of science

and 41 percent completed three or more years.

At the same time, the National Science Board Commission on precollege

education •in mathematics, science and technology noted that student

achievement has decreased in mathematics and science as indicated by

declines in the science achievement scores of U.S. 17-year-olds as measured

in three national assessments of science (1969, 1973, and 1977).


scores of 17-year-olds also decreased as measured in two national assessments

(1973, 1978) with the decline in the areas of problem-solfing and applications

of mathematics being especially severe.

On the basis of these findings,

it should not be surprising that the mathematical scores on the Scholastic

Aptitude Test (SAT) stadily declined over an 18-year period through 1980 from

502 to 466.

Furthermore, this problem is more accute in Rhode Island where

the SAT scores are below the national average. Finally, remedial mathematics

enrollments at four-year institutions of higher education increased 72 percent

between 1975 and 1980, while total student enrollments increased by only

seven percent.

With this quantitative data clearly indicating a decline in math and

science instruction, the National Science Board pointed out that among

certified teachers of high school in these disciplines, very few have had

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the formal educational preparation required to provide students with an

understanding of modern technology. Compounding this situation is the

realization that there are few inservice programs or opportunities for

certified mathematics and science teachers to update or broaden their

skills and backgrounds.

Dr. Scott Thomson, Executive Director of the

NASSP, clearly articulated our position regarding this dilemma by stating

that teachers of math and science need opportunities to upgrade their

understanding of the rapidly changing technologies and their use in industry,

for it is at the elementary and secondary levels of a youth's education

that both competence and academic self image take root.

We feel that a reversal of this downward trend in math and science

instruction is essential if our great nation is to remain competitive in

a world of rapidly changing industrial and technological advancements.


key to such a reversal is the classroom teacher.

Yet there is evidence

that there is a severe and growing shortage of mathematics and physical

science teachers in the nations secondary schools.

In a survey including

44 states in 1980, Dr. Hurd revealed that 28 states had a shortage in

mathematics, and in 16 states the situation was listed as critical.


1981-82, 27 states reported a critical shortage of physics teachers and

15 more states reported a shortage. Although Rhode Island, at the present

time, does not appear to have a shortage in these areas, I have personally

noted very few teacher applications in the math and physical science dis

ciplines for my school district.

Additionally, the decline in student teachers in the math and science

areas, which I have witnessed in recent years, tends to substantiate in

Rhode Island the results of a ten-year survey (1971-1980) of 600 colleges

and universities with teacher training programs.

This study revealed a

77 percent decline in the number of secondary school mathematics teachers

being trained and a 65 percent decline in science teachers.

More critical

was the fact that of those trained to teach mathematics or science, a

decreasing number to into teaching, choosing business or industry instead.

This unfortunate reality is primarily the result of the economic wage dif

ferentials between school districts and industry.

In the past few years, I have spoken to an increasing number of teachers

who have contemplated or actually made the transition from teaching to industry

based solely upon economics.

I have also witnessed the elimination of the

Future Teachers Club at my school due to declining student interest.

In a recent survey of my senior class of 250 students, only 33 students

indicated an intention of pursuing post-secondary education in the fields of

mathematics or science and none of these students planned to teach.

It would seem apparent then that we must establish local, regional and

national goals and policies which will focus upon the reconstruction of

science and mathematics


Together, the RIASP and the NASSP endorse

national legislation to inspire new blood into our math and science classrooms.

Such legislation must assist school districts in providing training and

retaining of the present elementary and secondary teachers of math and science.

It must enable universities and colleges to provide services to experienced

teachers which broaden their perspectives and the application of math and

science knowledge, and strengthen their teaching skills.

It must enable

school districts to upgrade and modernize their curriculum and provide the

flexibility for the purchase of appropriate equipment, including laboratory


As you know, the NASSP has worked with the supports Rep. Carl

Perkins' bill, H.R. 1310, which provides for these potential solutions.

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