American Geological Institute

Government Affairs Program


CONGRESSIONAL ACTION ALERT

Support Letter for Eisenhower Education Program

Posted: June 10, 1998

Over the past several years, AGI and a number of its member societies have joined scientific-community efforts to support the Department of Education's Eisenhower Professional Development Program for science and math teachers. The program distributes funds to states and school districts solely for the purpose of teacher enhancement in math and science. In addition, the Eisenhower National Clearinghouse for Mathematics and Science Education is a permanent repository of instructional materials and programs to be used in elementary and secondary schools. Last summer, AGI and the following Member Societies signed on to a statement supporting these programs:

American Institute of Professional Geologists
Association for Women Geoscientists
Association of Engineering Geologists
Geological Society of America
Geoscience Information Society
National Association of Geoscience Teachers
National Association of State Boards of Geology
National Earth Science Teachers Association
Paleontological Society
Society of Exploration Geophysicists
Society of Vertebrate Paleontology
Soil Science Society of America

This statement proved helpful in fighting a provision in the Fiscal Year 1998 appropriations bill that would have transferred Eisenhower funds into a block grant with no designation for math and science. Largely due to the efforts of the scientific community, the provision was removed and the Eisenhower Program received $335 million, $25 million more than originally proposed by the House or the Senate. Additional information on the Eisenhower Program and last year's statement is available on the AGI website at www.agiweb.org/legis105.html#edpolicy.

A new budget season is upon us, and a number of scientific and educational societies are once again joining together to issue a statement in support of the Eisenhower Program in an effort to prevent cuts to the program or the transfer of Eisenhower funds to a block grant. The effort is being led by the American Chemical Society, the Joint Policy Board for Mathematics, the Triangle Coalition, and the National Alliance of State Science and Mathematics Coalitions. Please contact Dave Applegate or Kasey Shewey at AGI (703-379-2480; govt@agiweb.org) or Melissa Kuckro of the American Chemical Society (202-872- 4354; m_kuckro@acs.org) by Friday, June 19, 1998 if your society is interested in signing on to the statement or you have any questions.


INTERSOCIETY STATEMENT ON THE EISENHOWER PROGRAM

June 1998

The science, mathematics, and engineering community remains steadfastly opposed to proposals to transfer the U.S. Department of Education's (DoEd) Eisenhower programs into an education block grant to the states. If Eisenhower funding is shifted into a broader block grant, the resources available to states and localities specifically for mathematics and science education will be dramatically reduced. Such a change grossly undermines our nation's efforts to improve student achievement in these subjects.

The Eisenhower Professional Development State Grants Program provides states the necessary funds and flexibility to enhance the content and pedagogical knowledge of their K-12 teachers. With almost 75 percent of these funds reserved for science and mathematics teachers, the Program's focus has prevented its monies from being spread thinly and broadly, which would have reduced their impact. Moreover, Eisenhower's designation encourages states to leverage professional development funds from other sources -- such as the National Science Foundation (NSF), private foundations and companies, and state and local governments -- to optimize their value and effectiveness.

Increased K-12 enrollment and teacher retirement rates over the next decade promise to make staffing our schools with qualified science and mathematics teachers a daunting challenge. Results from the Third International Mathematics and Science Study make it clear this challenge must be met. Teachers who possess the content knowledge in these subjects and practice effective pedagogical techniques will be vital to ensure not only that our students attain the highest possible levels of achievement in science and mathematics, but also that our country maintains a productive workforce, strong economy, and high standard of living. The Eisenhower State Grants program is critical to providing our schools with the effective science and mathematics teachers that our students deserve and must have to succeed.

Eisenhower Federal Activities and the Eisenhower Regional Mathematics and Science Education Consortia are equally important in our efforts to improve mathematics and science education. The regional consortia, for instance, provide needed services to states and districts such as reports and workshops on state-of-the-art materials, practice, and research results in mathematics and science education. Moreover, these programs are the DoEd's sole source of funding to implement a promising new Action Strategy for Improving Achievement in Mathematics and Science that was developed jointly with the NSF.

We urge the 105th Congress to demonstrate its commitment to quality education by excluding the Eisenhower programs from any education block grant proposals and to maintain the science and mathematics designation within these programs.


Contributed by Kasey Shewey, AGI Government Affairs

Please send any comments or requests for information to the AGI Government Affairs Program at govt@agiweb.org.

Uploaded June 10, 1998


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