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Science & Technology Leadership in a 21st Century Global Economy

Date: 
Tuesday, March 13, 2007 - 12:00am
Location: 
Washington, DC

Opening Statement By Chairman Bart Gordon

It is my pleasure to welcome everyone this morning to this hearing of the Committee on Science and Technology on the critical importance of science and technology in the 21st Century global economy. I want especially to welcome and to thank our distinguished panelists for taking the time to appear before us today.

In 2005, I joined Senators Bingaman and Alexander and Congressman Boehlert in asking the National Academy of Science to study the urgent challenges facing the in maintaining global leadership in science and technology.

In response, the Academy formed an all-star committee and issued their report entitled Rising Above the Gathering Storm: Energizing and Employing for a Brighter Economic Future. That committee was chaired by Mr. Augustine and included Mr. Barrett, both of whom are here as witnesses today.

It has become an enormously influential report, not only owing to the grave dangers it predicts if we are complacent but also owing to 20 constructive action items it spells out that will lead to continued American leadership and prosperity.

I am an enthusiastic advocate of the report and, after studying its recommendations, I drafted legislation in the 109th Congress to implement each and every action item that fell within the Science Committee’s jurisdiction. Sadly, little of that competitiveness agenda made its way into law.

But in the 110th Congress, that will change. There is a bipartisan consensus that investing in education and research along the lines of the Gathering Storm report is necessary. That is why I re-introduced H.R. 362 and H.R. 363 in the first days of this new Congress.

H.R. 362 is the 10,000 Teachers – 10,000,000 Minds Science and Math Scholarship Act. This bill addresses the critical shortage of certified science and math teachers in the United States. It will produce a new corps of outstanding science and math teachers who are dedicated to and well prepared for teaching.

This is not an experiment. We know the model works. President Dynes on our panel today can tell us about the successful "Cal Teach" program, which uses the same approach.

H.R. 362 also addresses the needs of current science and math teachers, through summer institutes and master’s degree programs focusing on content knowledge that are targeted just for them. We’re not talking about old-fashioned professional development programs. We are talking about sustained programs focusing on disciplinary knowledge of teachers that will create a network of 50,000 teacher leaders across the country.

H.R. 362 places these education programs at the National Science Foundation. Dr. Lane on our panel today can explain why the National Science Foundation is the right agency for this job.

Leaders of the business community, such as Mr. McGraw and Ms. Wince-Smith on today’s panel, can explain to us why the full breadth of the corporate sector takes an interest in pre-college math and science education.

In order to produce the most innovative scientists and engineers in the world, our children must be the highest achieving science and math students in the world. But the pathway that leads to innovation in the global economy doesn’t end at the 12th grade or with college graduation. We also need to support the research and development enterprise in science and technology to maintain our world leadership in these areas.

That brings me to the second bill, H.R. 363, which this committee reported unanimously and should be before the full House next month.

H.R. 363 is the Sowing the Seeds Through Science and Engineering Research Act. This bill will strengthen long-term basic research in physical sciences, mathematical sciences, and engineering.

It directs funding toward graduate students and early-career researchers in these critical areas. It also establishes a presidential innovation award to stimulate scientific and engineering advances in the national interest. Investing in scientific education and research along these lines is necessary if the nation is to maintain its position as a global leader in technology and innovation.

Now I don’t claim that these bills do everything. There are all kinds of good ideas out there addressing issues of national competitiveness, and this Committee is going to be the "committee of good ideas."

Even though these bills don’t address every recommendation in the Gathering Storm report, they do address what seems to me to be the highest priority concerns that have bipartisan support.

Today, we’ve asked our distinguished panelists to address the reasons why the promotion of science and technology is so critical to America’s prosperity; where we stand today; and where we need to be in the future. I look forward to hearing their expert testimony.

Witnesses

Panel

1 - Mr. Norm Augustine
Chair of the National Academies' "Rising Above the Gathering Storm" Report committee; Former Chairman and CEO Lockheed Martin Corporation Former Chairman and CE
Download the Witness Testimony

2 - Mr. Harold McGraw,
Chairman of the Board The McGraw-Hill Companies The McGraw-Hill Companies
Download the Witness Testimony

3 - Dr. Robert Dynes
President University of California University of California
Download the Witness Testimony

4 - Dr. Craig Barrett
Chairman of the Board Intel Corporation Intel Corporation
Download the Witness Testimony

5 - Dr. Neal Lane
Senior Fellow in Science and Technology Policy James Baker Institute for Public Policy Rice University James Baker Institute for Public Policy Rice University
Download the Witness Testimony

6 - Ms. Deborah Wince-Smith
President Council on Competitiveness Council on Competitiveness
Download the Witness Testimony

Witness Panel
Panel of witnesses testifies before Committee
L-R: Mr. Augustine, Mr. McGraw, Dr. Dynes,
Dr. Barrett, Dr. Lane, Ms. Wince-Smith
For information on the witnesses, use the links at left
National Academy of Sciences' Rising Above the Gathering Storm report
Read the Executive Summary of the
National Academy of Sciences report
110th Congress