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Department Of Labor, Health And Human Services, And Education, And Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2008

Floor Speech

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC


DEPARTMENTS OF LABOR, HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, AND EDUCATION, AND RELATED AGENCIES APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2008 -- (House of Representatives - July 18, 2007)

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Mr. HOLT. Madam Chairman, this amendment is intended to make it possible for more teachers throughout America to have the professional development that we have promised them in science, math and technology education.

You may know that under No Child Left Behind, the Elementary and Secondary Act reauthorization, that was the Eisenhower Program that provided teacher training and professional development, was changed to Math and Science Partnership. Subsequently, the funding was cut to about a quarter of what had previously been provided, and it has never recovered.

I recognize that the committee under Chairman Obey's leadership has tried to get back that lost ground that was lost under previous leadership. Nevertheless, the teachers and hence the students are not getting what they need. Whether you look at the ``Rising Above the Gathering Storm'' report of the National Academy of Sciences or the Congress's own Innovation Agenda or the President's Competitive Initiative, we are all saying, in fact leaders of this country are yelling and screaming that we must do better in science and math education for our competitiveness, for our quality of life. If we are to do that, we must help the teachers with their professional development.

Funding prior to No Child Left Behind for math and science teacher development was $485 million. Currently under this appropriations bill in front of us, the funding for the successor programs for math and science teacher professional development is $182 million. Again, I recognize what the committee has been trying to do. It is not enough. We owe it to the students. We owe it to the teachers. But even more, we owe it to our society.

If our economy is to grow, if our productivity is going to grow, we must do better in math and science education. This is one of the important steps as recommended by the Glen Commission on Elementary and Secondary Education, as recommended by the National Academy of Sciences, as recommended by so many, including so many in this room. So I urge the adoption of my amendment which would put $25 million additional dollars into the Math and Science Partnership.

Madam Chairman, I yield back the balance of my time.

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Mr. HOLT. Madam Chairman, I thank the gentleman for yielding. I also thank him for presenting this amendment, similar to an amendment that I offered earlier in a larger dollar amount. Perhaps this one will have a better chance of success. It still should provide funding for hundreds of teachers in each State, to get some of the professional development that we have promised them that they need and that will help our competitiveness, our quality of life, our economic productivity and the science capacity of our students.

Madam Chairman, we are not doing nearly enough in this area, and everyone says so. We should look for every opportunity to enhance our science and math education, and start by helping the teachers whom we ask to teach these subjects to our students.

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