Recommendations of Hart-Rudman National Security Report:
"The harsh fact
is that the U.S. need for the highest quality human capital in science,
mathematics, and engineering is not being met."
Commission on National Security for the 21st Century
As reported in FYI
#21, a new report by the
Commission on National Security for the 21st Century makes a series of
recommendations to improve the government's ability to address the national
security challenges of the new century. Several major recommendations
deal with the nation's scientific research and education enterprises.
FYI #22 addressed the recommendations
for the research enterprise; this FYI highlights the specific recommendations
for education, along with supporting quotes from the report.
I. "The President
should propose, and Congress should pass, a National Security Science
and Technology Education Act (NSSTEA) with four sections: reduced-interest
loans and scholarships for students to pursue degrees in science, mathematics,
and engineering; loan forgiveness and scholarships for those in these
fields entering government or military service; a National Security Teaching
Program to foster science and math teaching at the K-12 level; and increased
funding for professional development for science and math teachers."
report states that "the capacity of America's educational system
to create a 21st century workforce second to none in the world is a
national security issue of the first order. As things stand, this country
is forfeiting that capacity." The report points to a need for producing
more scientists and engineers and, to do this, the need for more and
better qualified science and math teachers. "Education is the foundation
of America's future," it states. "Quality education in the humanities
and social sciences is essential in a world made increasingly 'smaller'
by advances in communication and in global commerce. But education in
science, mathematics, and engineering has special relevance for the
future of U.S. national security, for America's ability to lead depends
particularly on the depth and breadth of its scientific and technical
The report adds,
"The nation is on the verge of a downward spiral in which current
shortages will beget even more acute future shortages of high-quality
professionals and competent teachers. The word 'crisis' is much overused,
but it is entirely appropriate here. If the United States does not stop
and reverse negative educational trends - the general teacher shortage,
and the downward spiral in science and math education and performance
- it will be unable to maintain its position of global leadership over
the next quarter century." The Commission recognizes the importance
of teacher professional development, and identifies the Department of
Education's Eisenhower Program as "a good example of a program that
works. It should be expanded and resourced accordingly." The report
also commends the work of the Glenn Commission on mathematics and science
teaching, particularly its emphasis on "Summer Institutes as well
as Inquiry Groups and distance learning...for on-going professional
education." The report suggests that Congress "establish and
fund a National Math & Science Project" to provide school districts
and universities with effective professional development models, and
it advocates a system of "professional enrichment sabbaticals"
for K-12 science teachers.
II. "The President
should direct the Department of Education to work with the states to devise
a comprehensive plan to avert a looming shortage of quality teachers.
This plan should emphasize raising teacher compensation, improving infrastructure
support, reforming the certification process, and expanding existing programs
targeted at districts with especially acute problems."
"It is clear,"
the report says, "that if the general national teacher shortage problem
is not addressed, efforts to address deficiencies in the science and
mathematics arena will not be met either. One cannot significantly improve
the quality of science and math education without improving education
in general." The report also advocates raising teacher salaries
"to or near commercial levels," improving the working environment
and restoring professional status for teachers, and creating more flexible
III. "The President
and Congress should devise a targeted program to strengthen the historically
black colleges and universities in our country, and should particularly
support those that emphasize science, mathematics, and engineering."
The report notes
that "increasing numbers of the qualified engineers and scientists
educated in the United States are coming from outside U.S. borders,"
and raises concerns about America's ability to produce a sufficient
high-tech workforce in the future. The Commission believes "strongly
that America's future depends on the ability of its educational system
to produce students who constantly challenge current levels of innovation
and push the limits of technology and discovery."
The full report,
"Road Map for National Security: Imperative for Change," is available
Media and Government
American Institute of Physics
Back to FYI Home