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Jerry P. Becker

Posts: 16,576
Registered: 12/3/04
Posted: Feb 10, 2000 10:57 PM
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NSTA Legislative Alert
February 10, 2000

Draft of Senate ESEA Bill Contains NO Set Aside for Science and Math Educators

Your Action Needed Now!!!

Last week, a second draft of the Senate's ESEA bill that deals with teacher
quality (Title II) was released. In this current Title II draft, there is
NO language requiring LEAs or districts to set aside a specific amount of
nfunds for science and math teacher professional development. (Currently,
Eisenhower professional development program guarantees $335 million a year
for science and math teacher training .)

A draft of this Title II legislation released last October did contain a
set aside for science and math educators. This new legislation is similar
to the bill introduced last fall by Senator Judd Gregg (R-NH) . It allows
for the Eisenhower program to be included into a block grant; although LEAs
"required" to spend funds for professional development, there is no
language authorizing a specific percentage or dollar amount that must be
spent on teacher training. Consequently, administrators could spend $1 of
these funds for professional development and satisfy the bill's requirement.

NSTA believes that without language authorizing a specific amount or
set-aside which clearly outlines how much should be spend on teacher
training that science educators will lose professional development funding.

Democrat and Republican staffers are hoping to present a bi-partisan bill.
This legislation is expected to be introduced next week, and Senate
Republicans hope to get it to the Senate floor by Feb. 23.

Teachers in New Hampshire: PLEASE call Senator Gregg as soon as possible
at 202-224-3324. Ask him to maintain the current federal commitment to
science and math education. Ask him to include a set-aside for
professional development for science and math educators in Title II.
Explain why these funds are important to you, how you use them, and why
loss of the Eisenhower state grants would affect you.

All teachers reading this message are also **strongly encouraged** to
contact their Senators offices with this message. To contact your
representatives by phone: Call the Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121.
Ask to be connected to your Senators' offices.

Below is the letter sent by NSTA and NCTM (National Council of Teachers of
Mathematics) to Senator Jim Jeffords, chairman of the Senate Health,
Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. If you have any questions, please
February 10, 2000

The Honorable James Jeffords (R-VT)
Chairman, Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee
U.S. Senate
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Chairman Jeffords:

On behalf of the 150,000 teachers who comprise the membership of The
National Science Teachers Association and the National Council of Teachers
of Mathematics, we are writing to express our extreme disappointment in the
draft Senate proposal to reauthorize Title II of the Elementary and
Secondary Education Act (ESEA).

For 25 years the Eisenhower Professional Development Program has offered
mathematics and science educators the opportunity to improve their skills,
keep up with advances in their fields, and help students achieve to higher
academic standards. Since 1994 the Eisenhower program has offered similar
opportunities to teachers in other critical subject areas. The repeal of
this program--and the elimination of this longstanding federal priority on
mathematics and science professional development -- will leave school
districts and teachers without these resources at a time when concern about
teacher preparedness and student achievement has never been greater.

We are also concerned that the legislation, as written, requires school
districts to provide mathematics and science professional development
opportunities, but provides no specific funding for these purposes. In
fact, it appears that in spite of a generous $2 billion proposed spending
level for Title II, all but $1 of these funds could be spent on signing
bonuses, incentive pay, computer training, behavior management, and
reducing class size, and the professional development requirement of the
law would be satisfied.

We urge you to resist efforts to dilute the federal commitment to education
and amend this legislation to instead increase funding for professional
development in the nine core curriculum areas and maintain the $250 million
set aside for math and science. We believe the other purposes outlined in
the legislation are of value, but not at the expense of high-quality
professional development.

This past year, witnesses before the Senate Committee on Health, Education,
Labor and Pensions told personal stories and presented research stressing
the critical importance of sustained professional development to create and
maintain a quality teaching force. Pending teacher retirements and growing
student enrollments exacerbate this issue, and in some states have led to
increased hiring of teachers who lack proper credentials. Though language
in the Title II draft stresses the importance of teacher professional
development, the absence of required spending for these purposes negates
its potential impact. Similarly, a requirement to "use a portion of the
funds" for math and science professional development activities means
nothing unless a specific dollar amount is stated.

The October 15 summary of the ESEA discussion draft released by your office
included a set-aside of $250 million for professional development in the
areas of math and science. NSTA and NCTM are confused as to why this
crucial provision is not included in the Title II legislative draft
released last

NSTA and NCTM fear that the long-standing federal commitment to mathematics
and science education will be lost if this legislation goes forward.
Teachers in core subjects will be forced to compete for already scarce
funding for the training they need to upgrade their skills, sharpen content
knowledge, and improve instructional practices.

As a leader in education you have consistently supported increasing the
federal investment in teacher preparation and professional development
programs as a way to improve student achievement and produce a
better-prepared workforce. This assistance is needed now more than ever
before if today's students are to be prepared for the 21st Century
workplace. We urge your support for an ESEA bill that increases the
federal investment in teachers and maintains the federal priority on
mathematics and
science education.


Dr. Gerald Wheeler Dr. John Thorpe
Executive Director ExecutiveDirector
National Science Teachers Association National Council of Teachers of

Jerry P. Becker
Dept. of Curriculum & Instruction
Southern Illinois University
Carbondale, IL 62901-4610 USA
Fax: (618) 453-4244
Phone: (618) 453-4241 (office)
(618) 457-8903 (home)


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