Update on FY2002 Labor/HHS Appropriations (4-12-02)
Debate on the fiscal year 2002 Department of Labor, Health and Human Services (HHS), Education and Related Agencies (Labor/HHS) Appropriations bills, H.R. 3061 and S. 1536, has been delayed this year to several events, including the ongoing reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). Labor/HHS covers a wide range of activities related to education and health, but the key aspect in regards to the geosciences is science, mathematics, engineering and technology (SMET) education and teacher training. In the past, professional development for SMET teachers has been housed in the Eisenhower Professional Development Programs. The current trend of replacing targeted funds to more general block grants, which provide local and state education agencies more flexibility in how the use the federal money, has transformed the Eisenhower programs into a more general funding for improving teacher quality. One of the methods for improving professional development in both the House and the Senate versions of ESEA is using public-private partnerships between universities, corporations, and non-profits local education agencies. Neither the Eisenhower National Clearinghouse for Mathematics and Science Education nor the Eisenhower Regional Mathematics and Science Education Consortia were requested in the president's budget proposal.
Most Recent Action
Conference action on the FY2002 Labor/HHS bill (H.R. 3061) was delayed by the Elementary and Secondary Education Act reauthorization bill (H.R. 1). The House-Senate Conference Committee filed its report (H. Rept. 107-342) on December 19th. The House passed it that same day in a 393-30 vote. The following day, the Senate passed it in a 90-7 vote. President Bush signed it into law on January 10, 2002 -- two days after he signed H.R. 1 into law. When it was all said and done, science education came up short. The Eisenhower state grant program was completely eliminated in the bill and the funding for the new math and science partnerships ended up alarmingly low. Information on math and science education is also available from the AGI Action Alert from December 10th.
After a delay in picking up the FY 2002 Labor/HHS bill because of the on-going conference for the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), the House Appropriations Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Subcommittee completed its action on the bill (H.R. 3061) on October 9th. The committee filed its report (H. Rept. 107-229) days before the House approved the legislation in a 373-43 vote. According to the House Appropriations press release, the House-approved bill would provide a total of $49.2 billion for education programs at the Department of Education (DoEd) and would eliminate and consolidates 35 federal programs in elementary and secondary education. The press release goes on to states that the House version would allocate $29.9 billion, an increase of close to 20% over last year's funding level, for ESEA programs. Troops to Teachers, which assists members of the armed forces to be certified as elementary and secondary educators, would be funded at $50 million.
The House report begins the Department of Education section by stating that programs that demonstrate achievement improvements "will be considered higher funding priorities than programs that unable to clearly demonstrate their value." School improvement programs, which is the new heading that incorporates several of the old ESEA titles for professional development and assessments, would be funded at $7.7 billion. State grants for improving teacher quality would be $3.2 billion of these funds. "This new program consolidates the Eisenhower professional development program and the class size reduction program." States would be authorized to retain 5 percent of these moneys to modify educator certification methods. "States must also ward between 15 and 20 percent of funds on a competitive basis to eligible partnerships for math and science programs." Following the current trend and the budget request, the House would provide no funding for the Eisenhower professional development programs -- there is not specific reference to the Eisenhower National Clearinghouse.
Partnerships between universities, corporations, non-profits and state/local education agencies gained ground in the FY 2002 bill. The House would allocate $1 billion for 21st Century Community Learning Centers that would distribute grants on a competitive basis to groups for before- and after-school activities in a wide range of topics. Also providing funds for partnerships and teacher quality enhancement are grants, funded at a total of $100 million that is to be give out on a competitive basis, that have a state grant component, a partnership component, and a recruitment component. "Under the partnership component, partnerships apply to receive a five-year grant to strengthen the capacity of K-12 educators in designing and implementing effective teacher education programs, and by increasing collaboration among these practitioners and department of arts and sciences and schools of education at institutions of higher education."
School improvement programs, which include professional development and assessments, would receive a total of $8.7 billion, an increase of more than 20% from last year's funding for these programs. State grants for improving teacher quality would receive a little above $3 billion of these funds. "This program replaces the Eisenhower professional development State grants program, Eisenhower professional development Federal activities, Eisenhower regional math and science education consortia, and the class size reduction program." Instead of requiring a certain percentage of these moneys for math and science partnerships, the Senate has a separate section on these partnerships. The report make reference to the U.S. Commission on National Security/21st Century (commonly called the Hart-Rudman Commission) report that recommends that nation targets educating scientists and engineers as key to long-term national security. Accordingly, the Senate would provide $25 million for math and science partnerships outlined in the Senate version of ESEA: "The Secretary [of Education] is authorized to award grants, on a competitive basis, to eligible partnerships to enable the entities to pay the Federal share of the costs of developing or redesigning more rigorous mathematics and science curricula that are aligned with State and local standards; creating opportunities for enhanced professional development that improve the subject-matter knowledge of math and science teachers; recruiting math and science majors; and improving and expanding training of math and science teachers, including the effective integration of technology into curricula and instruction." The Senate would provide $5 million for the Eisenhower National Clearinghouse for Mathematics and Science Education.
The Senate version of the bill would allow several partnership activities
to be hosted under a new program entitled the Local Innovations for Education
(LIFE). LIFE would be funded at $300 million and would be under the
control of the Secretary of Education to provide grants to "support nationally
significant programs and projects to improve the quality of education."
And like the House version, the Senate included $54 million for teacher
quality enhancement grants with a similar three component structure.
Due to a technicality, the appropriators have interpreted the House version of H.R. 3061 as providing no funding for the math and science partnerships at the Department of Education. Unlike the Senate version, the House version did not place the partnerships under a separate heading. This decision means that once you average the two figures (a common way of finding a final figure in the conference stage) math and science partnerships would be allocated a measly $12.5 million. Below is the conference report language regarding both Eisenhower and the math/science partnerships:
The conferees understand that the Eisenhower Professional Development program, which has been consolidated into a larger State Teacher Quality Improvement Grant program under the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary School Act, was funded at $485,000,000 in fiscal year 2001. The Eisenhower program required that a minimum of $250,000,000 be dedicated to math and science professional development activities; however, the conferees understand that as much as $375,000,000 was actually expended on math and science in fiscal year 2001. The conferees believe that providing high-quality math and science instruction is of critical importance to our Nationís future competitiveness, and agree that math and science professional development opportunities should be expanded. The conferees therefore strongly urge the Secretary and the States to continue to fund math and science activities within the Teacher Quality Grant program at a comparable level in fiscal year 2002.
The conference agreement also includes $12,500,000 for math and science partnerships, instead of $25,000,000 as proposed by the Senate. Math and science partnerships are intended to improve the performance of students in the areas of mathematics and science by encouraging States, institutions of higher education, districts, elementary schools, and secondary schools to participate in programs that: (1) improve and upgrade the status and stature of mathematics and science teaching by encouraging institutions of higher education to assume greater responsibility for improving mathematics and science teacher education; (2) focus on education of mathematics and science teachers as a career-long process; (3) bring mathematics and science teachers together with scientists, mathematicians, and engineers to improve their teaching skills; and (4) develop more rigorous mathematics and science curricula that are aligned with State and local academic achievement standards expected for postsecondary study in engineering, mathematics, and science.
The conferees note that, although this is a separate program designed specifically for the development of high quality math and science professional development opportunities, in no way do the conferees intend to discourage the Secretary and States from using other federal funding for math and science instructional improvement programs. The conferees strongly urge the Secretary and States to utilize funding provided by the Teacher Quality Grant program, as well as other programs funded by the federal government, to strengthen math and science education programs across the Nation.
Please send any comments or requests for information to the AGI Government Affairs Program at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contributed by Margaret A. Baker, AGI Government Affairs
Poste December 3, 2001; Last Updated April 12, 2002
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