Imagens das páginas

has been stated that over the next decade the demand for scientists and engineers is expected to increase by over 40%.

As you are aware, student enrollment in these fields is no where near the level that is needed. Although there is a variety of explanations for this, one observation is that a predominant factor is a long-term systemic problem in our precollege science / math education. While teachers are both qualified and dedicated, a surprisingly large number lack the opportunity to review new developments and technology so necessary in sparking enthusiasm of the subject area in their students. shortage of teachers in these areas also exist 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 which the schools are not in a good position to pay. Schools, like other public agencies have been caught in the squeeze between rising prices and operating costs and decreasing revenues. At present, according to the Advisory Council on Intergovernmental Relations, 46 states have laws limiting taxes, but since 1977, 29 states have passed new laws that limit both expenditures and taxes (for example Proposition 13 in California). These laws render public agencies less able to respond to inflation and extraordinary cost increases. Schools currently spend 80-85 per cent of their budget on employee 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 5530.

We have some


$400 million is the authorization with 65% being allocated

for Elementary, Secondary and vocational Education. This would mean a total of $260 million for this area. 260 million dollars is simply not enough to help 16,000 school districts improve their instruction of math, science, computer technology, vocational education and foreign language as well as develop an adequate pool of qualified teachers. Spread evenly across the country $260 million would amount to about $5.00 per student, certainly not enough to sustain a broad national effort. We believe it to be seriously underfunded.

Another concern is the 50-50 matching provision. 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, who are usually the ones with the most need, unable to benefit from this Act.


Our parent organization, AASA, feel that Congress could help a great deal by directing the National Institute of Education, NIE, to conduct a series of studies on the math and science area so we can develop our information base but AASA suggests that such NIE studies be funded from the regular NIE appropriation and not from S530 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 porportion of the population will need those skills, so that we will not waste resources teaching students the wrong skills. Also, NIE should help develop our 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 manufacturers have not invested much in educational software courseware cause they are not sure of a return on their investment.

If schools are to select the right machines and coursework to meet student needs the answer to tough questions will have to be developed.

It is also observed that S530 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 made available for these purposes.

We also have a concern relative to the distribution of funds by the State Agency. We understand (A) distribution in the number of children in the district but are concerned with the provision (B) 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.

The regulations that may result for the implementation of this Act are also a concern. so often regulations deter the effectiveness of the intent of the Act. We hope that does not occur.

While not a Federal responsibility, we urge the States reexamine teacher certification requirements so as to better utilize persons in our industries with technological expertise.

We thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today and again express to you our sincere appreciation for your continued efforts to enhance the educational opportunities for our society.


Even students at top-notch schools such as Manhattan's Stuyvesant High School must make do with out-of-date equipment.

The U. S. must act to reverse the slide into technological illiteracy

American science education is in miser- grams, compared with 21% in Japan. years of indifference if sweeping able shape. So miserable, in fact, that its And for every hour that an American changes are not made in the education failings threaten to undermine both do child spends in school, a Soviet or Japa- system. Their concern is prompting a ne mestic employment and the nation's eco nese child spends two and one-third examination of that system, from the nomie standing in the world. A steady hours. Warns Education Secretary Ter- elementary schools to the universities. supply of engineers and scientists is crit- rel H. Bell: "If we don't do more to Everyone is looking for curriculums ical if high technology is to play a larger strengthen our education program and that teach students not only the compurole in the U.S. industrial base. Ameri- have a more rigorous and demanding tational skills of science and math but cans will also need an unprecedented un- curriculum, we're going to start losing also the reasoning skills on which they derstanding of science if they are to live, out to competitors abroad who are mak- are based. Few students now receive work, and vote in a world that is increas- ing that commitment."

such schooling. As a result, "the Ameri ingly dependent on science.

can general public is technologically illitThe quality of scientific and technical Years of Indifference

erate," says Michael I. Yarymovych, education in the U.S. has been slipping

Rockwell International Corp.'s vice-presisince the brief surge of attention in the Not only will high school graduating dent for advanced systems development. decade that followed the 1957 launch of classes drop to hall their present size by To combat that dangerous technologiSputnik. During the politically volatile 1990, but also far fewer of the gradu- cal illiteracy, educators are stressing the boom years of the late 1960s, schools ates will have taken science courses. need for all students to be given a gen

shifted their focus from achievement to Less than one-third of U.S. high schools eral knowledge of science. "We need to social relevance, and federal funding for now require enough math and science provide nonscientific, nontechnical peo science education waned. The public pro courses to qualify their students for en ple with some understanding of science grams of the 1970s drained school cof

try into an engineering college. And and technology," says David S. Saxon, fers further, while property-tax revolts scores on college entrance exams in president of the University of California. in many states whittled their traditional math and science have declined steadily"Science is really a part of the liberal financial base to almost nothing. "Our for 20 years. "The projections are awful; arts, and we ought to be educating peo Amistake was in thinking it was all over I'm scared to death about the (small] ple more broadly in this context." a the day we got to the moon." says F. number of technical people that are go Technological illiteracy and profesWames Rutherford, chief education offi- ing to be available," says Thomas A. sional shortages have their roots in the Ker at the American Association for the Vanderslice, president of GTE Corp. earliest school grades. "Some 20 or 30 Advancement of Science (AAAS).

Leaders throughout industry, educa- years ago there was a great glamour Today, only 6% of U. S. college stu- tion, and government fear the U.S. will attached to going into the spins Hents are enrolled in engineering pro continue to feel the punishing efforts of feeling that you wor working for

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

greater cause, the national good," says digging into its pockets to come up with Lion's schools. Even such highly regardJohn K. Hulm, director of research and financial aid and help for local school ed schools as Manhattan's Stuyvenant develpment planning at Westinghouse districts in molernizing their science of High School have had to make do with Electric Corp. Now that attitude has fad- ferings. In North Carolina, grants and antiquated equipment. Growing num. ed, and "children in public school sys- gifts from private corporations are sup bers of companies are donating computtems are not taking math and science porting the North Carolina School for ers and technical equipment to schools classes," says Bernard H. List, vice-pres- Science & Mathematics, a residential that otherwise could not afford them. ident for training and education at Texas high school for gifted students through- "Operating something interacting with Instruments Inc.

out the state. And Standard Oil Co. of something, is essential to technological A critical shortage of qualified in- Ohio recently gave $1.67 million for a literacy," comments Edward E. David structors is not helping either. Fully 50% national junior high school science edu- Jr., president of Exxon Research & En. of the teachers hired in 1981 to teach cation project, to be directed by the gineering Co. "We have gul to develop science and math were uncertified in AAAS. "To turn the situation around, we skills for involvement, not just skills for these subjects. In the past decade alone, must invest in the science and mathe employment." the number of math teachers in public matics education of our young people," While these corporate programs pri schools dropped 77%, and the number of says Alton W. Whitehouse Jr., chief ex- vide direct teaching assistance and badly science teachers fell 65%. In addition, ecutive officer of Sohio.

needed modern equipment, many partici25% of the teachers still in the classroom At the elementary school level, a num- pating companies feel their main contrisay they plan to leave.

ber of companies are developing pro- bution is simply to expose young people Money, lack of prestige, and difficult grams patterned after a successful mod- to science in action. Scientific-Atlanta working conditions are largely responsi- el developed in Houston. Such companies Inc., a Georgia satellite-communications ble for the teacher shortage. The aver- as Bechtel, Shell Oil, and IBM have each equipment maker, brings students from age salary for a beginning high school "adopted" a local school and sent their an Atlanta engineering high school to its science teacher is $12,000, which pales technical staff to work with students. labs to observe work in progress. We beside the $20,000 starting salary

try to give them some sense of the that a science or math graduate

type of training a person needs to can earn in industry. “It's tough,"

become an engineer." says Jesus says Sandra Feldman, vice-presi

Leon, program coordinator. "By dent of the American Federation

providing role models. we can of Teachers (AFT). "There are a lot

make it easier for them to decide of people who would otherwise be

to become engineers." interested in teaching who feel,

Despite the increasing pace of 'Why should I go into something

such efforts, must observers feel where I'm never going to get rich

it will take at least a decade be and where I'm also going be

fore American education catches looked down upon?'"

up with the rest of the technologi But upgrading salaries and in

cal world. "Education is like a sucreasing the number of teachers

pertanker. It takes a long time to will not happen without a strug.

stop and turn around," says James gle. Proposals to allow scientists

0. Roberson, who heads the Mary. without teaching credentials to

land Economic & Community Dee teach full-time in secondary

velopment Dept. schools are already under fire, as

Emphasizing science at the exare plans to give math and science

pense of the nonscientific disci teachers salary bonuses. "We More companies are now donating computers to schools. plines is wrongheaded, warn many don't think you should pay a dif

educators. “High technology is goferential just because this is a shortage Engineers from M. W. Kellogg Co. are ing to require all kinds of people, .ot area," says the Art's Feldman.

teaching students how mathematical the just people who know math and reiFederal programs are needed to stem ories apply to practical problems in engi- ence," says Feldman of the AFT. “People the exodus of teachers from the class. neering. And in Dallas, Texas Instru- are going to need a good solid basic room and to fund retraining of those ments is working with the Dallas education, which means English and the who stay, most observers feel. But they Independent School District to organize ability to think critically." worry that the amount of money pro- a program that has technical staff from These educators worry, too, that Conposed is little more than first aid. "The the company teaching math to fourth- gress will be lured into taking a "quick. investment has got to be of an order and fifth-graders.

fix" approach like that of the Sputnik that is appropriate to the mass of the

era. "Sputnik backfired," says Frank problem," says the anas's Rutherford. Science in action

Press, president of the National AcadeThe furthest-reaching changes must

my of Sciences. "We weren't consistent. be accomplished at the grass-roots level. Industry is helping to promote com- funding wasn't stable, and we lost a lot One task that many people feel is most puter literacy as well. Ti has lent Hous- (of momentum)." appropriately handled by the state and ton schools 24 interactive computers that Now, however, everyone agrees that a local school boards is updating science low-income parents may borrow to use sustained approach is needed to rejuve and math curriculums, which rarely in- with their children at home. "If we don't nate education and establish a long-term clude the study of modern technology in do something about computer literacy, base of literacy. Many see the current their course offerings. Other jobs for we will have another kind of haves and flood of attention as a sign of hope. “A local groups include the upgrading of have-nots in our society that will be great deal more is needed," says Exteacher qualifications, hiring practices, much worse than the black-white divi- xon's David. “But the most encouraging and graduation standards. sion," warns ti's List.

sign I see is that people have begun to Several innovative grass-roots efforts A lack of up-to-date equipment is also relate the kind of education we have to are already under way. And industry is hampering science teaching in the na- the economic health of this country." •


BUSINESS WEEK: March 28, 1983


« AnteriorContinuar »