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Looking Ahead: House Majority Leader Seeks Common Ground on Education and Basic Research

Richard M. Jones
Number 125 - December 15, 2010  |  Search FYI  |   FYI Archives  |   Subscribe to FYI

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House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) addressed the National Press Club on Monday.  In his remarks on the 2010 election and the economy, Hoyer spoke of finding common ground between the parties on “investing in outstanding education and basic research.”  Hoyer also referred to the reauthorization of the America COMPETES bill and how it “unfortunately failed to win Republican support in this Congress.”

Hoyer will become the House Minority Whip when the new Congress convenes on January 5, 2011.   His remarks pertaining to science and education are below.  These selections are from a transcript prepared by and used with the permission of CQ Roll Call.

“Our challenge then is to foster smart growth that lifts the middle class. And whether we will reach that goal depends on whether we have the discipline to make and sustain a long-term commitment to making things in America -- make it in America -- and promoting science and education.
“If we do have that discipline, we can find common ground on investing in outstanding education and basic research. That's the kind that companies have little economic incentive to perform on their own, but can turn even a relatively small public commitment into enormous dividends -- and as we remind ourselves, anytime we use the Internet, a computer mouse or GPS, all of which were substantially enhanced by government investment in basic research.
“This commitment should not be a partisan one. Even though the once bipartisan science investments of the America COMPETES Act unfortunately failed to win Republican support in this Congress, I am still hopeful that the partisan equation can change now that Republicans share responsibility for our growth.

“That's especially likely when Republican business allies remind them of the dismal economic outlook for a country whose investment in research and development as a fraction of the economy continues on a four-decade course of decline, a country that has already falling behind Japan in patent applications and is on pace to be overtaken by China as well, and a country whose K-12 math achievement continues to rank toward the bottom of the developed world, 25th out of 34 countries measured on a recent international assessment.
“That is simply unacceptable. It should be an especially loud wake-up call to see students in Chinese school systems significantly outpacing American students on that same assessment, scoring 20 percent higher in math and 15 percent higher in science.
“So I'm hopeful that in the 112th Congress we'll see a stronger commitment to basic research and to math and science education. I also believe we can find common ground on education reform that builds on the successful Race to the Top program to bring more accountability and data-driven results to our classrooms while at the same time providing the necessary support to schools and teachers educating our most at-risk population.
“This kind of commitment to research and education is the foundation of a stronger, more competitive middle class. It also is the foundation of real economic growth and of the new jobs we need.”

Richard M. Jones
Government Relations Division
American Institute of Physics