Federal File

September 27, 2000 1 min read

Greenspan speaks up: Alan Greenspan can move markets, and some House members hope he can give momentum to bills on improving math and science education as well.

Alan Greenspan

The chairman of the Federal Reserve Board appeared before the House education committee last Thursday to explain why he believes that students who dont receive adequate preparation in those subjects will lose out in an economy increasingly reliant upon intellectual capital.

“I know too many people who are extremely talented, [but] when faced with a simple algebraic equation, they black out,” Mr. Greenspan said in his first testimony in front of the House Education and the Workforce Committee in his 13 years as the Federal Reserves chairman.

Schools need to instill a passion for mathematics and the sciences in their students, he added.

The House committee invited Mr. Greenspan to testify as it tries to drum up support for a package of bills that would offer federal funding for master teachers in math and science, projects that demonstrate the courses students need for high-tech careers, and other initiatives.

The presence of the man widely credited with guiding the longest economic expansion in American history may indeed help the cause, although the bills are still inching through the legislative process and Congress is scheduled to adjourn early next month.

During the hearing, committee members asked for Mr. Greenspan’s advice on a variety of education matters, such as whether the K-12 system is too tied to the model established in an older industrial economy.

But Mr. Greenspan deferred to others on educational issues. “Those are some of my random judgments which may or may not stand up under further scrutiny,” he said at one point.

—David J. Hoff