Knoxville, Tenn.--Two days after delivering his State of the Union Message, President Bush hit the road to stump for the education goals he announced in the speech and to highlight his support for science and technology.
During visits to North Carolina State University in Raleigh and the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, Mr. Bush helped announce a summer training program for math and science teachers to be jointly sponsored by Martin Marietta Corporation and the Tennessee and federal governments.
The President also used the Feb. 2 trip to announce the appointment of a Presidential advisory committee on science and technology.
In Knoxville, Mr. Bush spoke beneath a large blue-and-white banner reading “Goal 2000: U.S.A. #1 Math and Science,” referring to his announced goal that American students “will be first in the world” in achievement in science and mathematics by the end of the century. (See Education Week, Feb. 7, 1990.)
Mr. Bush touted his six goals as the “‘six R’s’ for education in the 90’s,” and said the “foundation” of his “plan to keep America second to none” is “anchored by a cornerstone we call ‘educational excellence.”’
In responding to questions from a group of local high-school students, chosen for their achievements in math and science, the President stressed that it is not the federal government’s job to tell educators how to reach the goals.
Mr. Bush said he has no intention of setting a national curriculum or “taking over” teacher-training efforts.
“We have our principles set, but I believe the emphasis must be at the state and local level,” Mr. Bush said.
“We can exhort,” he said, “but I don’t think we can dictate to the school level.”
Asked why the goals did not include closing the achievement gap between minority and white students, Mr. Bush said improving education generally will help minority students.
Mr. Bush announced the President’s Council of Advisers on Science and Technology, which is to report directly to him with advice on science issues, against the backdrop of high-technology laboratories in Raleigh and Knoxville.
D. Allan Bromley, the President’s science adviser, will serve as the panel’s chairman; the other 11 members are scientists from higher-education institutions and industry, with specialties ranging from agriculture to cardiology.
The teacher-training program announced in Knoxville is to form part of the “Summer School of the South for Science and Mathematics,” along with an existing summer program for outstanding high-school students.
At least 200 teachers in precollegiate math and science are to receive instruction each summer from scientists at the University of Tennessee and the nearby Oak Ridge National Laboratory, a research facility operated by the U.S. Energy Department.
The state of Tennessee, the Energy Department, and Martin Marietta will each contribute $1 million to the enterprise, some of which will pay for teacher scholarships and establish an alternative-certification program for scientists and engineers who are interested in teaching.
The President and state officials touted the program as a prime example of cooperation between government, educators, and the private sector.
“It’s a first, I think,” Mr. Bush said. “I hope other states and universities will see an example ... [and] others, on their own, will take up this kind of approach.”
John Clark, a spokesman for the University of Tennessee, said the initiative was “put together in three days” by its president, Lamar Alexander, who got in touch with Martin Marietta and state and federal officials.
“He knew the President was coming, and thought about what the university could do to support his education initiatives,” Mr. Clark said.
He said a small group of teachers would meet with government and university officials this summer to plan the training program, which is to be launched in the summer of 1991.
He said most of the teachers will be from Tennessee, although some will be drawn from elsewhere in the Southeast.
A version of this article appeared in the February 14, 1990 edition of Education Week as Bush Promotes Initiatives In Science, Technology