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Hall Introduces Comprehensive Science and Engineering Education Legislation for the 21st Century

May 3, 2001
Press Release

Rep. Ralph M. Hall (D-TX), the Ranking Minority Member of the House Science Committee, today introduced legislation designed to improve K-12 science and mathematics education in the nation’s schools.

The Science Education for the 21st Century Act (H.R. 1693) would -

  • Establish programs to improve the training and professional development of science and math teachers;
  • Institute programs to use information technologies more effectively in the classroom;
  • Authorize programs to encourage the interest of women and minorities in science, math, and engineering and to prepare them academically to pursue careers in these fields; and
  • Create mechanisms to improve coordination among the Federal agencies that support K-12 science and math education activities.

"Improvement of K-12 science and math education is one of the most critical problems facing the nation, central to meeting the workforce needs of the information age economy and thereby maintaining the nation’s economic strength," Hall said. "The incentives and programs provided by the Science Education for the 21st Century Act will help meet this need. I am grateful to several of my Science Committee colleagues who have independently developed science and math education bills which are included in H.R. 1693." The bill includes:

  • Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson's provision (H.R. 1660) to establish school/business partnerships to improve science and math education and to support students in pursuing undergraduate degrees in science and engineering;
  • Rep. Lynn Woolsey's Go Girl Grants (H.R. 1536) to encourage girls and young women to study math, science and engineering;
  • Rep. Jim Barcia's provision to establish an educational technology extension service to support K-12 schools;
  • Rep. Mark Udall's scholarships for science, math and engineering students willing to become certified and to serve as science teachers (H.R. 932);
  • Rep. John Larson's provisions to assess means of deploying broadband networks for schools and libraries and demonstrate educational applications for such networks; and
  • Reps. Bob Etheridge's and Joe Baca's provisions on improving the preparation and in-service professional development of science and math teachers.

Rep. Jim Barcia (D-MI) said, "Given our rapidly changing economy and increased global competition, we need to provide our students with the best education possible. Technology can both enhance a student's educational experience and provide valuable job skills. We must allow teachers to fully utilize the technologies available and this legislation is a step in that direction."

Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) said, "In an age now driven by the relentless necessity of scientific and technological advancement, the current preparation that students in the United States receive in mathematics and science is, in a word, unacceptable. The United States must expect more from our educators, businesses, and students."

"Females make up slightly more than 50 percent of this country’s population, but less than 30 percent of America’s scientists are women," said Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-CA). "The "GO GIRL!" provisions in the bill will create a bold new workforce of energized young women in science, math and technology careers that pay well and are in great demand."

Rep. Mark Udall (D-CO) said, "High school teachers and corporate leaders in my district give me the same message - we need to improve science and math education to ensure both that we sustain our current economic growth and that our future workforce will be prepared to succeed in our increasingly technological world. Mr. Hall’s bill will help move us in that direction."


Science Education for the 21st Century Act (H.R. 1693)

Title I. Pre-service Training and Professional Development for Science Teachers

Section 101. Science Teacher Scholarships for Scientists and Engineers. Establishes 1 year, $7500 scholarships for science, math and engineering students, or degree holders in these fields, to enable them to take courses necessary to become certified as K-12 science teachers. Scholarship recipients must work as K-12 teachers for a minimum of 2 years. The National Science Foundation (NSF) is authorized $20 million per year for FY 2002 - FY 2004 for the program.

Section 102. Collaborations for Improving Science Teacher Education. Establishes a competitive grant program for collaborations of education, math and science faculty at institutions of higher education to develop courses and curriculum for pre-service science teacher education and for in-service professional development of science teachers, including incorporating innovative uses of information technology. Proposals must show evidence of a strong commitment to the collaboratives and a plan for continuation of the collaborations beyond the period of the award. NSF is authorized $25 million per year for FY 2002 - FY 2004.

Section 103. Master Science Teachers. Establishes a competitive grant award program for state or local educational agencies to implement a plan for the development and use of master science teachers for grades K-8. Grant funds may be used for professional development activities, support for participation by master teachers in summer research projects, acquisition of educational materials and equipment, and computers and networking access for master teachers to allow for collaboration with colleagues and access to online materials and content experts. NSF is authorized $25 million per year for FY 2002 through FY 2004.

Section 104. Assessment of In-Service Teacher Professional Development Programs. Requires NSF to review all in-service teacher professional development programs to determine (1) the amount of attention given to training teachers to use technology in the classroom, and (2) the level of resources for school-building and district-level professional development activities. NSF is directed to ensure that the programs are adjusted as needed to emphasize both areas and to report to Congress on any proposed changes to the programs.

Title II. Educational Technology

Section 201. Research on Effective Educational Technologies. Establishes a competitive, merit-based research program at NSF and the Department of Education to conduct large-scale experiments to assess quantitatively the educational effectiveness, in terms of student outcomes, of promising educational approaches and techniques that incorporate information technologies. The experiments will involve a wide range of educational settings and track the progress of a substantial number of students over time. The program is authorized at $50 million for FY 2002, $75 million for FY 2003, and $150 million for FY 2004.

Section 202. Educational Technology Utilization Extension Assistance. Establishes an educational technology extension service for K-12 schools composed of regional centers to advise schools on the adoption and requirements for support of new technologies, assist and train teachers in the integration of technology into classroom instruction, and provide general support services for teachers, administrators and local school authorities in the acquisition, utilization and support of educational technologies. NSF is authorized $7 million for FY 2002, $8.5 million for FY 2003, and $9.5 million for FY 2004.

Section 203. National Science, Mathematics, Engineering, and Technology Education Digital Library. A supplemental authorization of $10 million for FY 2002, $15 million for FY 2003, and $17.5 million for FY 2004 is provided for the National SMET Education Digital Library for activities focused on development of the pre-college education collections and on support services for teachers and school administrators, including assistance to schools for selection of educational materials.

Section 204. Study of Broadband Network Access for Schools and Libraries. Requires NSF to prepare a report, in consultation with other agencies, on the current status of school and library access to high bandwidth Internet connections, on uses of such high bandwidth connections, and on options for and factors involved in acquiring and maintaining high bandwidth connections.

Section 205. Broadband Demonstration Projects. Authorizes broadband Internet connections to K-12 schools in order to allow for demonstration projects testing the uses and effectiveness of such capability for science, math and technology education. Next Generation Internet agencies are authorized $7 million for FY 2002, $8.5 million for FY 2003, and $9.5 million for FY 2004.

Title III. Increasing Participation by Underrepresented Groups in Science and Engineering

Section 301. Mathematics and Science Proficiency Partnerships. Establishes a grant program at NSF for local educational agencies to establish partnerships with private sector entities to strengthen science and math education in the participating schools and attract students to pursue science and engineering baccalaureate degrees. The Federal funds are available for curriculum improvement and associated materials and equipment and for teacher professional development. The private sector funding, which must be available as a condition for the awards, will provide undergraduate scholarships, summer internships and support the acquisition of computer equipment. The program is targeted for schools with a high proportion of students from low-income families. NSF is authorized $5 million per year for FY 2002 - FY 2004.

Section 302. Go Girl Grants. Establishes a grant program at NSF for local educational agencies and institutions of higher education to stimulate the interest of girls in science, math, engineering and technology and to attract them to careers in those fields. The grants may provide for such activities as tutoring, after school activities, summer programs, internships, and field trips. NSF is authorized $10 million per year for FY 2002 - FY 2004.

Section 303. Articulation Partnerships Between Community Colleges and Secondary Schools. Authorizes NSF to make grants to community colleges to enter into partnerships with secondary schools to improve math and science education in those schools, to encourage student interest in pursing careers in science and engineering, and to help ensure that students satisfy college entrance and course requirements for science, math and engineering majors. NSF is authorized $5 million per year for FY 2002 - FY 2004.

Title IV. Coordination of Science Education Programs

Section 401. Interagency Coordination Committee. The director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) is required to establish an interagency committee to coordinate Federal programs that are targeted on improving K-12 science education.

Section 402. External Review. Requires NSF to task the National Research Council to review Federal K-12 science education programs, similar to the tasking to the committee under section 401.

Section 403. Education Plan. Requires the preparation of a plan for Federal K-12 science education programs to increase the effectiveness of Federal programs in assisting localities in standards-based reform efforts.

Section 404. Science, Math, Engineering, and Technology Business Education Conference. Requires NSF to convene annual K-12 science education conferences to provide a forum for information sharing and to help coordinate school reform efforts among the public and private sectors.

Section 405. Reports. Specifies that the OSTP director shall provide annual reports on the development of the education plan required under section 403 and on its implementation. NSF is required to provide annual reports on the results of the conferences established under section 404.

107th Congress