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Finally, we feel that national initiatives must stimulate stronger
relationships between business and schools, via tax incentives which allow
wchool and industry officials plenty of latitude in finding ways to cooperate.
Our school and industry officials must be allowed to pursue the most
appropriate line of cooperation which would allow teachers to learn the
latest applied uses of technology. By placing teachers in a competitive
income bracket, the likelihood of their leaving the school for purely
financial considerations would be lessened.
Once again, we have worked with
and supported Senator John Glenn's bill, S-290, which would make this
In conclusion, we urge swift enactment of a new program to assist our
schools in the areas of math and science, and pledge to work with you to
achieve these ends.
Hopefully, such a program will prevent a majority of
high school graduates from becoming members of one of the fastest growing
minority groups in the United States, the scientific and technological
I thank you for the opportunity to share our views about how our •
schools can be of assistance in solving this national crisis.
I would be pleased to answer any of your questions.
Senator PELL. Thank you very much indeed, Mr. Gainey, and I enjoyed our conversation in Washington just a couple of weeks ago, too.
Mr. GAINEY. Thank you.
Senator PELL. Now, if Mr. Froberg, the executive secretary for the Rhode Island Association of School Superintendents would take the mike.
Mr. FROBERG. Senator Pell, we thank you very much for extending to us the invitation to participate in this hearing. I am accompanied today by Myron Francis, superintendent of our association. On his behalf, I am submitting a statement for the record in addition to my own.
Senator PELL. It will be printed as if read.
Mr. FROBERG. I also am submitting for the record an article that appeared in yesterday's Providence Journal, “The United States Schools Fail to Meet Future's Challenge." I thought there were some areas in that article that might be helpful to you and your committee in the deliberation of this bill.
Senator PELL. I would also ask that there be inserted in the record the article in the current Business Week, March 28, which has an excellent article on the same subject. It was drawn to my attention by Mr. Carlotti.
Mr. FROBERG. Before I continue, I would like to take a minute to thank you, Senator Pell, for your support, interest, and continued leadership in sponsoring and supporting legislation that has been so beneficial not only to Rhode Island, but to our entire Nation.
There are two Rhode Islanders in particular who represented us in Congress who have stamped their mark in Federal educational activities: the first, a man who was a close friend, the late John Fogarty, was a leader in the House of Representatives in education for the handicapped.
Senator PELL. And the record should show that his nephew testified here earlier this morning on behalf of the governor. So the tradition goes from generation to generation.
Mr. FROBERG. Yes. His activities in the area of the handicapped, Public Law 874 in vocational education, as well as others.
The second is yourself, Senator Pell. Legislation you have sponsored has provided an educational opportunity for an untold number of postsecondary students, who otherwise may have not had the opportunity to continue their education. Your continued assistance-insistence for adequate funding for general education, special education, vocational education, adult education, and postsecondary education has been consistent.
This act, S. 530, is an example. We are most grateful.
The technological revolution, as you know, is upon us. By 1990 one-half of our Nation's gross national product will be generated by high tech industries with five out of six high growth jobs found in computer related fields. This will undoubted place a strain on our supply of additional scientists and engineers.
As you are aware, student enrollment in these fields is nowhere near the level that is needed. Although there is a variety of explanations for this, one observation is that a predominant factor is there has been a long term systemic problem in our precollege science and math education. While teachers are both qualified and dedicated, a surprisingly large number lack the opportunities to review new developments and technologies so necessary in sparking enthusiasm in the subject area in these students.
A shortage of teachers in these areas also exists because the salaries offered in private industry far outweigh those in education, resulting in fewer young people going into the profession. A reduction in our school population with a resulting reduction in staff demonstrates the need for retraining teachers in these technological areas.
Another factor is that some methods of improving instruction in math, science, and computer technology have associated costs. Like other public agencies, schools have been caught up in the squeeze of rising prices and operating costs and decreasing revenues. At present, according to the Advisory Counsel on Intergovernmental Relations, 46 States have laws eliminating taxes. But since 1977, 29 States have passed new laws that limit both expenditures and taxes; for example, proposition 13 in California or Two and a half in Massachusetts.
These laws render public agencies less able to respond to inflation and extraordinary cost increases. Schools currently spend 80 to 85 percent of their budget on employees' salaries and benefits, and thus have only limited funds to cover new training for employees or new facilities and equipment, such as science labs, science equipment, and computer related equipment.
With the foregoing in mind, I turn to S. 530. We have some concerns. $400 million is the authorization with 65 percent being allocated for elementary, secondary, and vocational education. This would mean a total of $260 million in the area of elementary and secondary schools. $260 million is simply not enough to help 16,000 school districts improve their instruction in math, science, computer technology, vocational education, and foreign languages, as well as develop an adequate pool of qualified teachers.
Spread evenly across the country, $260 million would amount to about $5 per student; certainly not enough to sustain the broad national effort. We believe it is seriously underfunded.
Senator PELL. Will you please pass that message to President Reagan.
Mr. FROBERG. Another concern is the 50-50 matching provisions. With limited resources available, together with the previously mentioned expenditure limitations in many States and school districts, it may be extremely difficult to raise the matching requirement. It may result in the affluent districts getting the funds.
The districts unable to obtain matching funds—and those are usually the ones that need it the most-will be unable to benefit from this act.
Our parent organization, the American Association of School Administrators, feels that Congress could help us a great deal by directing the National Institute of Education to conduct a series of studies on the math and science area so we can develop our information base. But AASA suggests that the NIE studies be funded from the regular NIE appropriation and not from such acts as S. 530 or similar legislation.
NIE should provide information to determine where teacher shortages are and how severe they are. The impression of AASA is
that the shortage of qualified teachers is not evenly distributed. NIE scholars should also work with industry and the Pentagon to identify the skills required for future workers and military personnel and what proportion of the population will need these skills so that we will not waste resources teaching students the wrong skills.
Also, NIE should develop a knowledge base about computers because the computer seems to be driving the revolution in math and science. For example, we should determine how to use computers best as an instructional tool and for which students.
Millions of dollars are being invested in computers when all the experts agree that we do not know how to use computers best for all students and for all courses. Computers are a fact of life, but the manfacturers have not invested much in educational software because they are not sure of a return on their investment.
If schools are to select the right machines and software to meet student needs to answer these tough questions, we will have to discuss them for years to come. It is also observed that S. 530 provides little or no funds for the administration and evaluation by the State departments of education. Again, with limited resources available at the State level, some funds should be available for these purposes.
We also have a concern relative to the distribution of funds. We understand clearly the allocation of money based on the numbers of schoolchildren in the district, but we just are not fully knowledgeable as to what is meant by the size of the proposed program in terms of the number of students to be served and the number of grade levels involved in the program.
We also have some concerns as to the regulations that may develop from this particular act. So often regulations deter the effectiveness of the intent of the act; we hope that this does not occur.
While not a Federal responsibility, we urge the States to reexamine their teacher certification requirements so as to better utilize persons in our industries with technological expertise.
Again, we thank you for the opportunity to be present today, and we wish you well in this very much needed legislation.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Froberg and the article referred to follow:]
STATEMENT OF BURTON FROBERG, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Mr. Chairman, members of the Committee, my name is Burton Froberg, Executive Director of the Rhode Island School Superintendents' Association. I am here today representing the Rhode Island School Superintendents' Association of school superintendents in Rhode Island. I am accompanied by Myron Francis, Superintendent of Schools of East Providence and President of the Association.
I am pleased to be here representing RISSA today because assuring adequate financial assistance to States in order to strengthen instruction in mathematics, science, computer education, foreign languages, and vocational education is sential for the nation's security and economic future.
Before continuing I would like to take a minute to thank you Seriator Pell for your support, interest and continued leadership in sponsoring and supporting legislation that has been and is so beneficial not only to Rhode Island but the entire nation. There are two Rhode Islanders in particular who represented us in Congress who stamped their mark in Federal Education Activities. The first, a man who was a close friend, the late John Fogarty was a leader in the House of Representatives in education for the handicapped, Public Law 874, vocational Education and others. The second, is yourself Senator Pell. Legislation you have sponsored has provided an education opportunity for an untold number of post-secondary students who otherwise may not have had an opportunity to continue their education. Your continued insistance for adequate funding for general education, special education, vocational education, adult education and post-secondary education has been consistant. This Act S530 is an example. We are most grateful.
The "technological revolution" as you know, is upon us. By 1990, of our nation's GNP will be generated by high-tech industries with 5 out of 6 high growth jobs categories found in computer-related fields. This undoubtedly will place a strain on our supply of mathenaticians, scientists and engineers. It