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FYI Number 154: December 28, 2001

Labor-HHS-Education Report Language on Math & Science Partnerships

As reported in FYI #153, conferees on the FY 2002 Labor-HHS- Education appropriations bill reached agreement on December 18. The conference report was passed by the House on December 19 and the Senate on December 20, and awaits President Bush's signature. Within the available funding for Department of Education programs, $12.5 million is provided for improving science and math instruction through the Math and Science Partnerships, which will be awarded in competitive grants by the Secretary of Education. Additionally, $2.85 billion is available to states for a category entitled "Improving Teacher Quality," and this money can also be used for the improvement of science and math teaching. In fact, the conferees urge states to use some of their Teacher Quality funds for science and math education. The conference report language relating to these programs is quoted below.

"Improving Teacher Quality:

"The conference agreement includes $2,850,000,000 for state grants for improving teacher quality, instead of $3,175,000,000 as proposed by the House and $3,039,834,000 as proposed by the Senate. Of this amount, $1,150,000,000 is provided as a fiscal year 2003 advance as proposed by the Senate instead of $1,345,000,000 as proposed by the House. Grants for Improving Teacher Quality consolidates and streamlines the Eisenhower Professional Development program and the Class Size Reduction program to allow greater flexibility for local school districts. The purpose of this part is to provide grants to States, school districts, State agencies for higher education, and eligible partnerships to: (1) increase student academic achievement through such strategies as improving teacher and principal quality and increasing the number of highly qualified teachers in the classroom and highly qualified principals and assistant principals in schools; (2) hold districts and schools accountable for improvements in student academic achievement; and (3) hold districts and schools accountable so that all teachers teaching core academic subjects in public elementary schools and secondary schools are highly qualified.

"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 Nation's 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."

Audrey T. Leath
Media and Government Relations Division
American Institute of Physics
fyi@aip.org
(301) 209-3094

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