Since the creation of the National Science Foundation in 1950, its influence on science education has had its ups and downs. When I was appointed head of the education directorate at NSF, it was down, way down from the halcyon days of the Sputnik crises. But with considerable help from the Hill, we were able to nearly triple the NSF budget for science education and launch some important reform initiatives. And then it was quickly down again as the incoming Reagan administration wiped out NSF science education.
But this is not the place to recite that history. What I thought might be interesting would be to provide some thoughts on the science education and Federal government relationship based on my years at NSF and the AAAS. I expect to include the following:
The Grilling. In the process of deciding whether to approve a president’s nomination for a Federal post, the Senate questions the nominee. As an example of what that entails, the questions asked of me as a nominee for the office of assistant director of NSF for education, are here extracted from my hearing before the Committee on Human Resources of the United States Senate.
The Budget. For a Federal agency, nothing matters more. So here is my first budget submission as presented at the Authorization Hearings before the Subcommittee on Science, Research and Technology of the Committee on Science and Research of the U. S. House of Representatives in 1979.
Ridicule. Needless to say, I was not happy with the science education budgets of the 1980s. So I tempered my pique (sort of) with the ditty Fun in Funding in Science and Math Education in the Commentary section of Education Week in 1984.
An Overview. In 1990, ten years our of government and ten as chief education officer at the American Association for the Advancement of Science, I was asked by the Carnegie Commission on Science, Technology, and Government to submit a paper on my views on the science education aspect of the report it was preparing for the Administration. Reflections on the Federal Role in the Reform of Science Education was my response.