Senate Leaders Unveil Math-Science Bill
Washington--A bipartisan group of senators last week unveiled a wide-ranging measure designed to improve national achievement in science, mathematics, and engineering by the turn of the century.
Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Democrat of Massachusetts, and Senator Mark O. Hatfield, Republican of Oregon, are the chief sponsors of the "excellence in math, science, and engineering act of 1990."
Senator Kennedy said the measure is a "a significant first step" toward improving overall technical and scientific literacy, as well as increasing the number of minority and female students entering technical and scientific fields.
Sponsors argued that the measure would complement the $460-million package of education initiatives proposed by President Bush and passed by the Senate last week.
"It is not a redistribution of existing resources, it is an add-on,'' Senator Hatfield said.
The bill would authorize a total of $125 million in spending in fiscal 1991, and provide an openended authorization for 1992 through 2000.
For 1991, the bill would provide up to $46 million for programs aimed at improving the scientific and technical literacy of the general public.
The measure also would establish a National Institute for Tech8nology and Learning--funded at $6 million--to develop ways to improve teaching through the application of advanced technology.
In addition, the bill would authorize $24 million to establish 10 regional consortia of government, education, business, and community leaders to enhance math and science education in elementary and secondary schools.
A portion of that money would also be available to states that establish math, science, and technology academies for students in grades 7 to 12.
The funds could also be used for creation of a cadre of "roving master teachers" in technical fields for grades K-9.
And the measure calls for $10 million to establish a program under which professionals in various fields would be encouraged to share their experiences with female and minority students in 9th grade through college.--pw