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Senator PELL. Thank you very much, Mr. Froberg. Now, we come to Mr. Eddie McElroy, who is an old friend and wears two hats, both as president of the AFT, and also president of the AFL-CIO. And he is here with his hat as president of the AFT.
Mr. McElroy. Good morning, Senator. I want to try to accomplish the task of just wearing one hat. As you know, the Rhode İsland Federation of Teachers is the State affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers. And as an aside, you have had a statement from our national president, Albert Shanker, which was delivered to your subcommittee on March 9. And as a State affiliate, we subscribe fully to the statement that President Shanker made in that appearance.
We represent over 7,000 elementary and secondary schoolteachers, school paraprofessionals, health care professionals, college professors, and State education employees. And we appreciate again the opportunity to appear before you and the opportunity you have given us to express our opinion on what we think is a very vital issue.
Rhode Island, at present, is deeply involved in a study of its economy, as you know, the so-called Murray Commission. The ultimate purpose of the study is to properly plan for and encourage economic development within the State.
The hoped for result is an expansion of the State's economic base and the provision of quality employment opportunities for our people. We believe that this hoped for outcome will be possible only with a strong educational program being in place for the people in this State. The current national attention and interest in math and science education is very welcome, and we believe long overdue.
As a nation we have come to the conclusion that our economic welfare and our competitive position in the world economy is inextricably interwoven with our ability to properly educate our people. Specifically, our current ability to compete in the world market is being challenged by others who are giving more emphasis to quality math and science education.
As an aside, I might say that some of the difficulties that we face in the State in terms of our competition with other States within this country are also, we see, primarily affected by the amount of education and the educational opportunities that are available.
The Rhode Island Federation of Teachers believes that S. 530, which would provide for a program of financial assistance to States in order to strengthen instruction in mathematics and science, as well as other areas, is an important step in a platform for discussion of this very vital issue.
In view of the dimension of the problem we are faced with, the $400 million which is authorized to be appropriated by this legislation is an extremely limited amount of money. And I, too, hope to address this to President Reagan. I would like to address it in the elections of 1984. I think that would be the most dramatic way to do it, Senator.
a result of the limitations of available money and the economic and political realities which we face, we respectfully make the following suggestions for modification to the legislation. And I only have four of them, Senator, and I think that you have probably heard from some of us about these.
Since the dollars are limited, we suggest that the bulk of the available money should go to the areas of greatest need, and we think that the present title I formula works very well in this regard. And we therefore suggest that money should be apportioned, 50 percent on the basis of the average daily attendance and 50 percent on the basis of the title I formula. It seems to us that that would give us the best of both worlds, that we target the moneys, however, at the point of what we think should be priority and need.
Second, we think the major emphasis of this program should be in the elementary and junior high school areas. We think that instruction in the elementary schools by science specialists is an important first step in improving the quality of science instruction. It seems to us that too often when we talk about mathematics and science instruction, we are talking about it as a precollege instructional program. And we think that the time to capture the attention and the minds of the children is at a very early age. If properly done with proper instruction, I think we can generate the kind of interest that is necessary in order to have students show that interest by specializing in those fields or seeking further education in those fields later on.
Third, since the dollars are limited and since vocational education reauthorization is due later this year, we think that it is better to place the available dollars in this legislation to the nonvocational school area, and that moneys for the vocational education sector could be specifically dealt with when the vocational education reauthorization bill comes up in the Senate and the House.
Finally, we think the legislation should target significant amounts of money to the training and retraining of teachers. Retraining should be available to teachers facing layoffs as well as teachers who are inservice. In addition, special measures should be aimed at elementary schoolteachers to upgrade their math and science skills.
Let me conclude, Senator, that in these brief remarks to thank you specifically for not only giving us the opportunity to speak, but also thanking you for taking the lead as you have done in your long career in the U.S. Senate, taking the lead on what we think is a very vital issue. We appreciate the opportunity of you coming to Rhode Island to give your people back home an opportunity to express themselves in this bilî.
Thank you very much.
Senator PELL. Thank you very much indeed, Mr. McElroy. And now we come to Mr. Coleman, representing NEA and he is here, and also I see in the audience your predecessor, Mr. Kapstein. Í look forward to having as good relations with you as I had with Mr. Kapstein, although maybe they will not extend over the same period of time. We have been working for 22 years together.
Mr. COLEMAN. Thank you, Senator. I am sure our relationship will be very compatible.
My name is Herman Coleman. I am the executive director of the National Education Association in Rhode Island. I speak to you today on behalf of 7,000 Rhode Island teachers, faculty, aids, secretaries, custodians, technicians, and other educational personnel, as well as 1.7 million individuals nationwide who are the National Education Association.
I am particularly delighted to present testimony on this subject, having been trained in both math and science myself, and having had the opportunity over the last 15 years or so to observe the tremendous decline in the allocation of resources and direction for science and math education in this country.
We are in the middle of a revolution, a technological and scientific revolution that is comparable to no other time in our country's history. It is the era of the machine, the computer. Its presence is felt not only in business and technology, technological settings, but in our homes, our schools, cars, offices, banks, supermarkets, and entertainment centers.
Our children are among the most versed in the tools of this changing world, as they should be. They seem to acquire skills and knowledge overnight, always informed on the latest computer games, never afraid to push the buttons or turn the dials that make the screens come alive or cause their toys to talk to them.
But are these children receiving enough formal education in disciplines that help them transfer these skills and interests to productive careers in math, science, research, engineering, or computer technology? The research shows that the United States has fallen dismally behind in its responsibility to provide a comprehensive education to our youth in these areas.
Years of skimping and scraping for funds for public education has resulted in a plethora of young people ill prepared to face the economic and technologic changes before us. A large part of this problem stems from a national shortage of math and science teachers. Industry, with attractive salary packages and the chance for career advancement, has attracted many talented individuals from our classrooms and colleges.
Coupled with the exodus of qualified teachers—coupled with the exodus of qualified science teachers is the lack of math and science courses available in elementary and secondary education. Fewer students are taking fewer courses and spending fewer hours studying math and science.
What is this a product of? We do not know for certain. It could be that the Federal Government initiated the trend by decreasing funds for research and development during the last two decades.
It could be the result of the Government's withdrawal of support for teacher training institutes and curriculum development. Even the National Science Foundation has deemphasized science education, although the general funds have increased dramatically.
What has caused this crisis is not important. Solving it is critical to the health of our Nation. We in education are heartened to see a recognition of this national problem. We are pleased to take our part in seeing to it that it gets solved in the most beneficial manner.
According, we have spent some time studying all math and science legislation currently before the 98th Congress. The administration's proposal to allocate $50 million of bloc grant funds to train individuals to teach math or science at the secondary level falls far short of the ideal solution to this problem. It ignores the need for better science and math instruction at the elementary school level and provides no tools for planning and implementation of a comprehensive program that would make all of education responsive to the total problem.
Several bills introduced seek differential pay for teachers in these subjects. We are opposed to emphasizing one portion of an entire curriculum at the expense of all others. Reading and writing are no less important than math and science and require no less training or skill.
In contrast, S. 530, the subject of this hearing, is a far better approach to the crisis. It includes additional subject areas, emphasizes all levels of curriculum, including higher education, and provides more funds to accomplish this task.
We feel, however, there is a need for a long range plan. A more comprehensive solution can be found in the American Defense Education Act. ADEA not only meets the urgent needs for improving instruction in math, science, communications skills, foreign language, guidance, and counseling, but also focuses on long-range technological issues essential to our national security.
It provides a planned program-processional program to clearly define goals and evaluation systems designed specifically for individual school districts. ADEA meets a comprehensive list of criteria developed by our country's educators.
I have attached to my testimony a brief summary of the major points of ADEA. And I really appreciate you sending an invitation to our organization to present testimony before this important hearing.
Thank you, Senator.
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CRITERIA FOR ASSESSING MATH/SCIENCE EDUCATION PROPOSALS
• The proposal should be sufficiently comorehensive to include improvement
of the quality of instruction in the fields of math, science, communication skills, foreign language, new technologies, guidance, and counseling.
• The proposal should provide for the planning and implementation of programs
at the local level.
• The proposal should provide for local evaluation of the progress of program developed by funds from the proposal which requires participation and input from the school board, parents, teachers, appropriate bargaining agents, business, industry, and community.
The proposal should establish participation requirements for local school districts which voluntarily participate in the program.
The proposal should not advocate differential pay for any subject matter area.
• The proposal must provide for administration under the Department of
• The proposal must provide for sex equity and equal access to programs.
• The proposal must provide for a research component to provide for
improvement in teacher training methods, utilization of equipment, and classroom delivery methods and systems.
• The proposal must provide funds for the higher education community to
jointly participate with local education agencies in preparation of the necessary number of qualified teachers to meet the need.
• The proposal's federal dollars for the programs must be directed to the
local education agency for program delivery.
• The proposal's funding authorization level must be of sufficient quantity
to provide a reasonable expectation of success on a national level.
• The proposal should require that the current level of expenditure for
educational programs should not be reduced as a result of funding for the new program.