Administration strongly supports the goals of H.R. 1858. The Administration
particularly supports the establishment of Math and Science Education
Partnerships as an important component of the President's education
plan, No Child Left Behind.
the National Science Foundation's current statutory authority is
broad enough to encompass the authorities in H.R. 1858, the Administration
supports House passage of H.R. 1858 and will seek improvements to
have the following concerns addressed as the bill continues in the
would require the National Science Foundation (NSF) to award math
and science partnership grants to institutions of higher education
rather than to States or local educational agencies as proposed
by the Administration. This would constrain NSF's ability to meet
the objectives of the President's proposals. The Administration
recommends that the language of Title I, Subtitle A, Section 101(a)(1)
be changed to read:
Director shall establish a program of awards to States and local
educational agencies to establish mathematics and science education
partnerships with institutions of higher education to strengthen
elementary and secondary mathematics and science education."
primary purpose of the Administration's Math and Science Partnership
Initiative is to improve math and science education at the primary
and secondary levels. The States and local educational agencies
are closest to the elementary and secondary schools and students
and most aware of their needs. For the partnerships to be effective,
they should work in conjunction with State and local education reform
plans and be aligned with State standards and accountability practices.
Therefore, the entities ultimately responsible for student performance
and for educational accountability, the State and local educational
agencies, should be the primary recipients of these awards.
Partnerships program would be improved if the legislation provided
for greater accountability. The Administration also believes that,
as currently drafted, H.R. 1858 is unnecessarily prescriptive and
would tie NSF's hands in designing the most effective approaches
and limit future modifications to the programs should they become
Administration believes that NSF is the appropriate agency to administer
the Mathematics and Science Partnership program, in cooperation
with the Department of Education. NSF has effectively administered
other activities related to this initiative, and the Administration
believes that NSF's expertise will be invaluable in ensuring a successful
program. The Administration opposes the establishment of this program
in the Department of Education.