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TO ESTABLISH A NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF EDUCATION

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 23, 1971

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
SELECT SUBCOMMITTEE ON EDUCATION
OF THE COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION AND LABOR,

Washington, D.C. The Select Subcommittee on Education met, pursuant to call, at 10 a.m., in room 2175, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. John Brademas (chairman of the select subcommittee) presiding.

Present: Representatives Brademas, Meeds, Mazzoli, Quie, Reid, Bell, and Hansen.

Staff members present: Jack Duncan subcommittee counsel, David Lloyd-Jones, staff, Martin LaVor, minority legislative associate, Gladys Walker, clerk, and Christina Orth, assistant clerk.

Mr. BRADEMAS. The subcommittee will come to order.

The Select Subcommittee on Education will continue hearings on legislation to establish a National Institute of Education.

We are particularly pleased to welcome as our witness this morning Dr. Roger E. Levien, the director of the planning study for the National Institute of Education. Dr. Levien is with the Rand Corp. and he has been laboring very diligently for some time now under commission of the Office of Education to devise a proposal for the dimensions and structure of the National Institute of Education.

As one who has read his study, I must congratulate you, Dr. Levien, on what has clearly been a very diligent and thoroughly perceptive effort on your part, to talk to all sorts and conditions of persons in seeking to shape a proposal that will enlighten both the administration and us on this subcommittee and thus Congress generally as we consider this significant proposal.

We look forward to hearing from you and we congratulate you on your very important contribution to our understanding of this proposal.

STATEMENT OF DR. ROGER E. LEVIEN, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF EDUCATION PLANNING STUDY, THE RAND CORP.

Dr. LEVIEN. Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee, my name is Roger E. Levien. I am, as the chairman has said, director of the National Institute of Education planning study conducted by the Rand Corp. under the sponsorship of the Office of Education.

The views and conclusions I will express are mine and those of my study group and should not be interpreted as representing the official opinion or policy of Rand or of the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare.

I am grateful for the opportunity to testify before this distinguished subcommittee on a matter of such potentially great importance for American education as creation of a National Institute of Education.

The preliminary planning study, which I have been leading, began last April at the request of the then Commissioner and Assistant Secretary of Education James Allen. He wanted to have flesh put on the bones of the ideas expressed in the President's message on education reform and the accompanying legislation.

He sought to have a number of technical questions that remained open explored far enough to develop a more comprehensive, coherent picture of what the Institute might become.

My testimony will draw upon the preliminary plan that resulted from that request. But I want to emphasize that this plan should be understood to be but the second stage (after the President's message and the accompanying legislation) in the continuing evolution of the Institute.

These hearings might be considered the third stage and, if the Institute is authorized, there should be additional stages of modification and adaptation as long as the Institute retains the capacity to renew itself as circumstances change.

I hope that this preliminary plan, therefore, will be a useful contribution to the very important deliberations of this subcommittee on what your chairman has termed “a social invention of the higher importance ... one of the most significant initiatives in American education in recent years."

The planning study began by identifying the questions that needed to be addressed. These fell into five categories:

One, objectives. What should the principal objectives of the NIE be? Two, program. What program activities should the NIE undertake? How should the choice of program activities be made? Three, organization. What should the internal structure and management procedures of the Institute be? Four, relations to other parts of the education system. How should the NIE relate to other Federal, State, local, and private agencies concerned with education? And five, initial activities. What early activities will give the NIE the best chance of success?

Several sources are employed to help answer these questions. The first, and most important, was wide consulation with individuals in education and research. During the initial stages this took the form of individual and group discussions with over 200 persons.

Last fall an advance draft of the preliminary plan was made widely available for comment. Over 150 written replies were received and were used to guide the revision of the draft.

The second source of information was examination of comparable research organizations, such as NIH and NSF, for lessons from their experience that might be applied in planning for NIE.

And the third source was the extensive literature concerned with educational R. & D., science policy, the management of R. & D. enterprises, and Federal science administration.

The preliminary plan provides answers derived from these sources for each of the five categories of question.

Why a National Institute of Education? One question that the planning study did not set out to answer directly was, why create a National Institute of Education?

Our charter was to explore what the VIE might become if the Congress were to authorize its creation. Nevertheless, during that exploration we have become familiar with the reasoning that has led to the call for creation of an NIE. It may be useful to review it here for the subcommittee.

The reasoning begins with the recognition that American education faces severe problems, despite its significant achievements in broadening access to education. All of us are aware of the symptoms of a widespread malaise; children born into economic or social disadvantage suffer educational disadvantage as well, and are doomed to perpetuate the conditions that will capture their children in turn, despite the billions of dollars that have been put into special educational programs.

Even children born into more comfortable circumstances often find education joyless and inappropriate, despite heavy investments in school facilities and equipment.

Financial crises occur with growing frequency at every level of education, despite the rapid growth in support for education over the last few decades.

Learning in all settings is disrupted by acts of violence, despite a variety of efforts to meet the demands of students, faculty, and the public for changes in educational governance.

The problems are severe indeed. But the aspirations are high as well;: Americans continue to expect much from their educational system. To alleviate its problems and achieve its aspirations, American education, at all levels and in all forms, must undertake a continuous program of improvement and reform.

The reasoning continues. But not enough is known and what is known is not available enough to bring about improvement and reform at a rate adequate to meet education's needs.

The necessary knowledge may be acquired in two ways, through the random and casual process by which most institutions and individuals learn from experience, trial and error, or as a product of the interrelated and disciplined procedures by which scholars, scientists, and technologists gain information and use it, research and development.

While random and casual processes of learning about education will continue, they are insufficient. Educational R. & D. is necessary to gain the knowledge needed for educational improvement and reform.

What can educational R. & D. provide? Neither miracles nor instant solutions. Its foundations are still weak, as were those of agriculture and health in the last century, and the phenomena with which it must deal are extraordinarily complex and subtle. Their comprehension will demand years, sometimes decades.

Nevertheless, R. & D. in education, like that in industry, health, and agriculture, can serve practice well even when not providing breakthroughs in knowledge or technique. For educational R. & D. should comprise a broad range of activities from fundamental research through product and process development to the implementation of new practice.

While research attempts to unravel the biology, psychology, and chemistry of learning, development can proceed to combine science with art and judicious experimentation to produce new child care programs or widely different forms of education or more effective school management procedures. And implementation can see that new knowl

edge, procedures, technologies and forms of education enter practice.

Research, development, and implementation, though all essential parts of the process of improving and reforming education, need occur in no fixed order. A research finding may indeed lead to a promising educational development, which in turn requires implementation to enter practice.

But development may also reveal questions that become the challenge to research. And implementation may uncover difficulties or opportunities that suggest further development.

In a vital and effective R. & D. system all these kinds of activity will be underway at the same time in a complex balance and interrelationship. When that balance is absent, research results fall on barren ground and research turns inward and becomes precious or irrelevant; development products make little headway into practice and often relate poorly to the needs of the user, and implementation serves simply to distribute poorly conceived new ideas and to amplify faddism. Éducational R. & D. today shows all the symptoms of this lack of balance.

It suffers from other deficiencies as well. Although research on education began in the 1890's, it was not until the mid-1950's that significant national investment became available, and only after 1963 that the OE provided funds passed the $10 million mark.

Even now educational R. & D. receives only slightly over $200 million each year, which is tiny compared to the size of the educational enterprise, $70 billion yearly contribution to GNP, 3 million per sonnel, 60 million students. R. & D. investment is about 0.3 percent of total educational expenditures.

As several previous witnesses have testified, this is a trivial investment in developing the knowledge for innovation and reform, especially when compared to the investment in such activities made by other national enterprises.

Health invests about $2.5 billion in R. & D. each year: 4.6 percent of total health care expenditures and 12 times as much as education invests.

Agriculture invests about 1 percent of agriculture's contribution to GNP in R. & D., about $1 billion for new knowledge and practices and five times as much as education invests.

Moreover, if education were ranked among the major industries according to R. & D. expenditures it would stand in 13th place, just below the stone. clay, and glass products industry, and far below the $5.6 billion aircraft industry R. & D. program, or the $4.2 billion program of the electrical equipment industry.

Of course, the comparison with health, agriculture, and industry is not sufficient to demonstrate the need for more funds for educational R. & D. Educational R. & D. is not as fortunate as those areas in the solidity of its scientific base, the demand for and acceptance of innovation by its clientele, or the ability to measure and display improvement.

Nevertheless, these comparisons are useful because they show the cost and scale of reasonably successful R. & D. systems in other major enterprises of no greater complexity or challenge than education.

As Secretary Richardson noted in his testimony, since 1950 over $14 billion have been invested in health R. & D. by the Federal Government alone, over $7 billion have been invested in agricultural R. & D., but less than $1 billion have been invested in educational R. & D.

Thus, the present inability of the educational R. & D. system to satisfy the needs of education for knowledge to guide improvement and reform becomes understandable. It is very likely too small. But smallness has been exacerbated by other deficiencies.

The reputation of educational R. & D. has been relatively low. It has not occupied the rank in the hierarchy of scientific activities that its importance and challenge warrant, nor has it attracted as many people of as high competence as it needs.

The scientific base has been narrow, psychology has provided most of the basic concepts and techniques.

Its focus has been diffuse. Most of its efforts have been dissipated in small projects asking small questions with small effect.

The linkage between educational R. & D. and the classroom has been weak. Not enough output has found its way into practice, nor have enough classroom problems been solved through R. & D.

Finally, the support for educational R. & D. has been unstable. Rapid changes in staff and priorities in Federal agencies have caused frequent fluctuations of emphasis.

So the reasoning continues, the educational R. & D. system must be strengthened. It needs greater support, higher stature, more high quality personnel from a wide range of disciplines, effort channeled into critically sized activities addressing issues of high scientific or practical consequence, closer linkage with the educational system, and the stable support and leadership essential to the development and maintenance of multiyear programs addressing major questions.

However, the action to overcome these difficulties cannot be taken by the educational R. & D. community alone. Almost 90 percent of educational R. & D. funds are provided by the Federal Government.

How much Federal money is spent, how well, where, and for what, strongly affects the direction and quality of educational R. & D. Thus, it is argued, strengthening educational R. & D. must begin with the strengthening of Federal support and leadership.

Two things are essential, wise management and sufficient funds. But, as a practical matter, neither wise managers nor sufficient resources can be attracted and employed to best effect in the absence of the proper institutional framework.

Thus, the characteristics of the principal Federal agency supporting educational R. & D. are of central importance.

Now we come to the last step in the chain of reasoning. Considering the need, and reviewing the diagnosis of the problems, the conviction developed that to strengthen educational R. & D. would require the support and leadership of a Federal agency with the following characteristics.

One, stature within the Government comparable to that of such R. & D. agencies as the National Institute of Health, National Science Foundation, and National Bureau of Standards. Such a position seems essential if the agency is to achieve leadership among the several Federal agencies that support educational R. & D. and if it is to have a strong voice in support of educational R. & D. within the executive branch and before Congress.

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