American Geological Institute

Government Affairs Program


CONGRESSIONAL ACTION ALERT

Action Now Completed (for this year!)

July 10, 1996
(Last updated October 19, 1996)

FINAL OUTCOME: Efforts to restore funding for the Eisenhower Professional Development Program and National Clearinghouse have been successful. AGI thanks those in the geoscience community who contacted their legislators on this issue. Largely due to the leadership of outgoing Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Mark Hatfield (R-OR), the program has been funded at $35 million over fiscal year 1996 levels. The funding came as part of an omnibus appropriations package passed by Congress and signed by the President only hours before the start of the new fiscal year on October 1st. Credit for the turnaround also goes to Rep. John Porter (R-IL), the chair of the House Appropriations subcommittee responsible for funding the Department of Education. It was his subcommittee that originally voted to terminate the program, but he yielded to supporters in the Senate, adding his own support to the Eisenhower mission of providing much-needed professional development opportunities for science and math teachers.

AGI also signed on in support of the Eisenhower program in 1997. For background information on the Eisenhower program and a summary of AGI's action on the issue, visit GAP's legislative summary on the program.


Urgent action needed to maintain Eisenhower Professional Development Program (as updated 9-9-96)

On July 11, 1996 the House of Representatives passed its version of H.R. 3755 -- the Labor/Health & Human Services/Education appropriations bill -- eliminating support for the Eisenhower Professional Development Program. This program is a key resource to improve the quality of K-12 science and math education by providing locally organized professional enhancement opportunities for teachers of those subjects. The program distributes funds to states and school districts solely for the purpose of teacher enhancement in math and science. The bill also eliminates the Eisenhower National Clearinghouse, a national repository for K-12 science and math instructional materials, an well as an effective on-line searchable databases of materials and virtual resources to support the improvement of science and math education. AGI is joining with the National Science Teachers Association, the National Association of Geoscience Teachers, and other organizations to oppose the House effort and to encourage the Senate to restore funding for the program. Your help is needed!

Last year, Congress appropriated $275 million in professional development funds of which $250 million went to math and science education. This year, the House eliminated the Eisenhower program and transferred its funds to the general Title IV block grant fund for "program innovation." Unlike the existing Eisenhower program, Title IV funds do not go exclusively to educators who need them the most and instead can be siphoned off by administrators and state departments of education for any education-related purpose. The Eisenhower program has been very efficient, limiting administrative spending to well under 10 percent and thus maximizing the funds that go directly to teachers. With the recent publication of national science education standards by the National Academy of Sciences, there is a great opportunity for innovative science and math education that must be seized in order to capture the imagination of the next generation.

Although it was thought that the Senate Appropriations subcommittee might take this bill up as early as July, it will do so in the very near future with full Senate action expected shortly thereafter. AGI President Bob Hatcher has sent a letter to members of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor/HHS expressing support for the Eisenhower Professional Development Program and asking them to restore funds. Please contact Chairman Arlen Specter (R-PA), Ranking Member Tom Harkin (D-IA), and other subcommittee members to express your concern. A list of Appropriations Committee and Labor/HHS subcommittee members is attached. Also contact your own senators, urging them to contact Senators Specter and Harkin (see below for contact information).

For additional information on what you can do to help, visit the web site of the National Science Teachers Association.


Letter to Subcommittee Chairman Specter from AGI President Hatcher

July 8, 1996

The Honorable Arlen Specter, Chairman
Subcommittee on Labor, HHS, Education, and Related Agencies
Committee on Appropriations
U.S. Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Senator Specter:

I am writing to express the American Geological Institute's support for the Department of Education's Eisenhower Professional Development Program and to urge you to oppose the House proposal to eliminate it. The Eisenhower program is a key resource to improve the quality of K-12 science and math education by providing locally organized professional enhancement opportunities for teachers of those subjects. The Eisenhower National Clearinghouse has also been targeted for elimination despite its effectiveness as a tool for science and math teachers looking for instructional materials and curriculum resources.

The House proposal to eliminate the program and transfer its funds from Title II to Title VI is ill-conceived. Unlike the existing Eisenhower program, Title VI funds do not go exclusively to science and math educators where they are most needed and instead can be siphoned off by administrators and state departments of education. The Eisenhower program has been very efficient, limiting administrative spending to well under 10 percent and thus maximizing the funds that go directly to teachers. With the recent publication of national science education standards by the National Academy of Sciences, there is a great deal of opportunity for innovative science and math education that can capture the imagination of the next generation, helping it to meet the great challenges ahead. As you and your committee make the hard choices in the days ahead, I urge you to support the Eisenhower program and national clearinghouse as wise investments in the future.

AGI is a nonprofit federation of 29 geoscientific and professional associations that represent more than 80,000 geologists, geophysicists, and other earth scientists. In addition, 115 colleges and universities are AGI Academic Associates, and 30 private companies are AGI Corporate Members. Founded in 1948, AGI provides information services to geoscientists, serves as a voice of shared interests in our profession, plays a major role in strengthening geoscience education, and strives to increase public awareness of the vital role the geosciences play in mankind's use of resources and interaction with the environment.

Sincerely yours,

Robert D. Hatcher Jr.
President


Senate Appropriations Committee

Republicans (15)			Democrats (13)
(in order of seniority)			(in order of seniority)

Mark Hatfield (OR), chairman		Robert C. Byrd (WV), ranking
Ted Stevens (AK)			Daniel Inouye (HI)
Thad Cochran (MS)			Ernest Hollings (SC)
Arlen Specter  (PA)			J. Bennett Johnston (LA)
Pete Domenici (NM)			Patrick Leahy (VT)
Phil Gramm (TX)				Dale Bumpers (AR)
Christopher Bond (MO)			Frank Lautenberg (NJ)
Slade Gorton (WA)			Tom Harkin (IA)
Mitch McConnell (KY)			Barbara Mikulski (MD)
Connie Mack (FL)			Harry Reid (NV)
Conrad Burns (MT)			Robert Kerrey (NE)
Richard Shelby (AL)			Herb Kohl (WI)
James Jeffords (VT)			Patty Murray (WA)
Judd Gregg (NH)
Robert Bennett (UT)				

Subcommittee on Labor, HHS, Education, and Related Agencies

Republicans (8)				Democrats (7)
(in order of seniority)			(in order of seniority)

Arlen Specter, PA, Chairman		Tom Harkin, IA, Ranking Member
Mark Hatfield, OR			Robert C.Byrd, WV
Thad Cochran, MS			Ernest Hollings, SC
Slade Gorton, WA			Daniel K. Inouye, HI
Connie Mack, FL				Dale Bumpers, AR
Christopher (Kit) Bond, MO		Harry Reid, NV
James M. Jeffords, VT			Herb Kohl, WI
Judd Gregg, NH

Letters to Senators Specter and Harkin can be sent to (attention line for envelopes only):

The Honorable Arlen Specter, Chairman
Attention: Bettilou Taylor, SD 184
Subcommittee on Labor, HHS, and Education
Committee on Appropriations
Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-7320 phone; (202) 228-0542 fax

The Honorable Tom Harkin, Ranking Member
Attention: Marsha Simon, SH 123
Subcommittee on Labor, HHS, and Education
Committee on Appropriations
Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-7288 phone; (202) 224-7914 fax

Letters to other senators should be addressed:

The Honorable _____________
U.S. Senate
Washington, DC 20510

Additional contact information is available through the Senate home page.



If you have any questions or need additional information on your senators, please contact David Applegate, AGI Government Affairs Director, at (703) 279-2480 or govt@agiweb.org.

Last updated October 19, 1996

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