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Tomorrow, we will hear from the Secretary of Education. I was very heartened when the President, in his state of the union address, called for a new Federal math and science initiative. I look forward to having the Secretary discuss that proposal as part of his testimony.
I am very hopeful that all of us-my colleagues and the administration-will be able to work together in coming up with a viable program. For this crisis we face in the area of mathematics, science, computer technology, and foreign language instruction is a crisis of the first order.
The crisis with which we are confronted is not at all unlike the Sputnik crisis of the late fifties. It involves acute teacher shortages, inadequacy of instruction, a lack of emphasis on important national priorities, insufficient materials and equipment, too little vocational training in new and emerging technologies, and a paucity of public funding.
I was in the Soviet Union when Sputnik was successfully launched and I witnessed the invigorating effect it had upon the Soviet people. I returned home to witness the truly remarkable response of our Nation. Almost immediately we identified our inadequacies and set a course to correct them.
It is equally critical today that we come to grips with the high technology demands placed upon our Nation. To my mind, that responsibility must be borne most heavily by our educational system. The adequacy of our response will in large measure depend upon the legislation that we fashion within this subcommittee. Let us take care, then, that we hear all voices and that we involve all parties in coming up with a Federal educational initiative that will enhance and strengthen the economic security of this great Nation.
Senator STAFFORD. Senator Randolph, who is today celebrating his 81st birthday, for which I am sure all of us wish him a most happy birthday and many happy returns today, has asked me to say in his behalf that he extends his apologies to the members of the subcommittee and today's witnesses for his necessary absence from these hearings.
Although he fully intended to be here and to join with others in expressing concern over the emergency nature of the need to improve the quality of math and science instruction in our Nation's schools, a meeting was called for the West Virginia delegation to find ways to avoid, if possible, the layoff of thousands of additional steelworkers in his State at a time when the State has the highest unemployment record in the Nation.
Senator Randolph wishes to reaffirm his commitment to the subcommittee—he does not need to do that as far as its chairman is concerned, because we know it-and to the educational community-and I think the educational community knows of his commitment-in working to design legislative initiatives to address our national science and math problems.
The Senator also, as I said, is celebrating his birthday, and not only his 81st birthday, ladies and gentlemen, but the 50th anniversary of his first swearing in as a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives in 1933.
We will include a statement from Senator Randolph and a statement from Senator Dodd in the record at this point.
[The following was received for the record:)
PREPARED STATEMENT OF SENATOR RANDOLPH Senator RANDOLPH. Mr. Chairman, I am impressed by the vast array of bills that have been introduced to date addressing the newly emerging science and math needs in the education community. These many bills are indicative of the genuine concern among us concerning math and science education, and also indicates that the Congress believes the decline in the quality of these disciplines to be a national priority if not a national emergency.
I am pleased to be a cosponsor of S. 530, the bill introduced by our able ranking minority member, Senator Claiborne Pell. I consider this bill to be the model, or centerpiece of whatever final form the science and math initiative in the Senate might take. With so many bills pending, addressing the need through proposals that include tax deductions for donation of computer equipment, teacher inservice programs, and program-improvement grants to local school districts, as well as loan forgiveness and scholarships proposed for college students who desire to become secondary school math and science teachers-I believe that unless there is a real national concensus that we can afford an omnibus-bill approach to this emergency need in the two fields—we are apt to end up with bits and pieces of many bills, and insufficient funds to really make an impact on the problem at the State and local levels.
There are dozens of problems inherent in any initiative-omnibus or otherwise—to really address the inadequacies—without taking into account the complex governance system for education that must be accommodated in any national effort to relieve math and science teacher shortages and to improve the quality of math and science instruction in our schools. That complex governance system is comprised of 50 State systems and nearly 16,000 individual, or local, school districts nationwide.
Are we really sure how diverse the problem is? Doesn't it all depend on the various perspectives represented in the contentions about the "real" and "alleged" deficiencies in math and science education? Is the real problem a general condition associated with larger societal values and changing circumstances, or is it the result of one or more particular concerns?
We are responding now to the same problem we responded to when Russia hurled its first Sputnik into space. We responded by enacting the National Defense Education Act to remedy the allegation that we had a national shortage of qualified teachers in higher education and secondary schools, we had the need to replace outmoded equipment in schools and colleges, and to provide inservice training and curriculum development programs to improve the quality of instruction. The NDEA provided loans to students preparing to enter careers in areas of scarcity, grants for purchase of equipment, supervisory and consultancy services for teachers, fellowships for persons preparing to become college teachers, foreign language development-and many other authorities-none of which are currently funded to a great extent except for a few continued under other legislative provisions. For example, the student loans and grants under the Higher Education Act that was enacted in 1965, staff development and program improvement activities under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, now known as chapter 2 of ECIA, and international education programs for foreign language instruction, also under the Higher Education Act--which by the way the President has zero-funded in his fiscal year 1984 budget request, and finally there are some programs still authorized under the Vocational Education Act.
Our task is formidable, Mr. Chairman. The magnitude of the problem appears to be great indeed. I doubt if we have the capability to provide a valid picture of need with the data we are able to obtain through spot surveys conducted by 50 State systems and 16,000 local school districts-all separate and disparate-to pinpoint just where the shortages, and perhaps surpluses of teachers already trained to teach math and science are-so how can we do a really good job of enacting legislation to remedy the problem without a comprehensive analysis of the extent to which the problem exists. Is it, as some groups claim, not really a shortage of such teachers nationwide, but merely a geographic maldistribution of those already adequately trained?
If there are areas in the country that have a surplus of such teachers, what incentive can we give them to leave home and teach in another State where a shortage exists? Most teachers refuse to leave their home States because most teacher retirement programs are not portable-and if that isn't enough to thwart an effort to redistribute these trained, qualified teachers, consider the fact of significant differences between teacher salaries among the 50 States, and the refusal of trained teachers to move around because of probable reduced income at other locations. And we know from experience that efforts to allow the Federal Government to address and resolve the teacher retirement problem would likely continue to be considered an "imposition of Federal intrusion" at the State level, encountering fierce resistance—as much so as any Federal initiative to address teacher certification requirements.
All we really know is there is a growing consensus that we appear to have unqualified precollege teachers, a shortage of teachers at the college and precollege level, too few math and science students in college, insufficient math and science courses or requirements in high school, inadequate exposure to math and science for students not planning to pursue a career in these disciplines, and the cumulative impact of a decade or more diving which educational priorities have emphasized equity and access while, according to some people, we sacrificed excellence in education. Which is true? All of the above, or none of the above?
When we enacted the National Defense Education Act, it reflected a broad categorical approach, with 11 separate titles, and it was considered a major breakthrough by proponents of Federal aid to elementary and secondary schools as well as higher learning institutions. But its supporters never forgot that a national emergency provided the rationale for its enactment. And with all that it provided, the NDEA was still criticized by some as having failed to reach those sectors of education in greatest need of help-such as schools in central city slums and depressed, isolated, rural areas.
Our approach to addressing what we perceive to be a real national need-a national priority to remedy inadequacies in science and math wherever they exist-must be carefully crafted so that we are not criticized by one interest group as trying to do too much with too little, or doing too little too late.
As members of this subcommittee, we will be asked by some interest groups to enact an omnibus bill; others will ask for targeting of our efforts. Some will insist on upgrading the competencies of current teachers rather than train new ones. Some will insist that out inadequacies in math and science is a result of insufficient offerings in schools and colleges, while others will say that we need only to make the content more relevant to current conditions. Shall we replace obsolet equipment, or consider alternate delivery systems such as joint programs among schools and cooperative programs between schools and industry?
With seven major initiatives addressing our math and science needs already introduced in the Senate (and six major initiatives in the House), and with at least two more major math and science initiatives expected to be introduced shortly, we are going to have numerous options to choose from-some of which will be politically acceptable and others that will be considered politically limited, purely from the standpoint of budgetary requirements alone.
We are, in short, going to be asked to limit the funding for our math and science initiative or initiatives, and if we limit our effort too severely we are going to end up passing legislation that represents no more that a token effort, neither "macro" nor "micro.”
There are other approaches to resolving our math and science problems that are under discussion, but yet to be introduced.
As I stated earlier, there are many options open to us as Members in addressing the inadequacies of math and science teachers as well as the content of instructional programs in our schools. And our task of sorting out and selecting those options is formidable.
We need to proceed carefully and deliberately, and to begin modestly by enacting a bill, such as S. 530, and using it as the basic foundation for building upon in the future as we learn and understand more about this multifaceted problem.
PREPARED STATEMENT OF SENATOR DODD Senator Dodd. Mr. Chairman, I welcome the opportunity, as a member of this subcommittee, to participate in these proceedings. I commend you for the excellent job you have done in chairing these important hearings on the Education for Economic Security Act.
By now most everyone has read the statistics and reports proclaiming a national crisis in quality science and mathematics education. And I am certain that each of you is aware that the present generation of Americans has been dubbed as being scientifically and technically illiterate.
This comes at a time when the need for science and mathematics skills are becoming increasingly more important throughout the world. A prime example of the need for adequate science and mathematics knowledge and skills is emphasized by the new technology revolution.
At the same time that many reports proclaim that America's economic future will depend upon the success of high technology industries, other reports project a shortage of adequately trained people to fill the positions created by the new technology revolution. These predicted shortages are truly sadly ironic when 12 million Americans are looking for work.
Without increased knowledge and skills in science and mathematics, a significant number of positions in high technology industries will remain vacant and a lot of good people who are seeking jobs will continue to be unemployed and underemployed.
I do not pretend to know all the right questions, answers, or solutions to the Nation's science and mathematics dilemma. In my judgment, however, there are a number of issues which must be addressed. Among these are: teacher competency, adequate equipment and instrumentation for faculty and students, and new science and mathematics curriculum development.
These issues have been addressed in a bill which I am proud to have cosponsored, S. 530, the Education for Economic Security Act, introduced by Senators Pell, Stafford, and Cranston. This comprehensive legislation provides financial assistance to State and local education agencies to increase student knowledge and skills in science, mathematics, and foreign languages, and to foster better employment-based vocational education.
In addition, the concerns of a bill I introduced to provide qualified science and mathematics teachers in secondary schools are addressed in the Pell, Stafford, and Cranston legislation.
My bill, S. 401, the National Science and Mathematics Teachers Development Act, provides for workshops and other continuing education programs for secondary school science and mathematics teachers. These programs would be federally financed by grants to institutions of higher education to help upgrade the competency, substantive knowledge, communication skills, and teaching strategies.
The combined provisions of S. 401 and S. 530, in my opinion, are a practical and balanced attempt to solve the Nation's educational problems. These bills provide the means to insure that every student has access to the comprehensive knowledge and skills required by the high-technology revolution.
Senator STAFFORD. The Chair is exceedingly happy to recognize a very distinguished and able Member of the Senate who is also chairman of the Budget Committee and, I am very happy to say, a member of the other committee that I have the privilege of chairing, the Environment and Public Works Committee.
I know, Senator Domenici, that your interest in education is profound, and I am honored, as is the subcommittee, that you have found the time in your schedule to be here with us this morning and I welcome your testimony. STATEMENT OF HON. PETE V. DOMENICI, A U.S. SENATOR FROM
THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO Senator DOMENICI. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. It is my privilege to be here.
I do not know if you know, Mr. Chairman, that I am a math teacher dropout. My first job in life was teaching math.