Competing and winning in today s fast-paced economy requires both unprecedented levels of investment in new technologies, and new investments in the skills of people who will design and operate them. Americans can enjoy the benefits of innovations only if they begin with a first rate education and have practical opportunities to upgrade their skills throughout their careers. Because of this, the President has made education and training a central commitment of his administration.
The Congress proposes to cut $36 billion from essential education and training programs by raising the cost of student loans, killing the AmeriCorps program, kill the Goals 2000 program for raising school standards, cutting back on Head Start and reducing direct lending. These cuts undermine the President s commitment to give all Americans a fighting chance, through lifelong learning, to prosper in today s fast paced economy. They also jeopardize research and development needed to use advanced technologies to help all Americans acquire the skills they need to work and prosper in the 21st century. Targeted programs include:
o The Technology Learning Challenge Grant Program is a small, but critical new investment to challenge communities to form partnerships of local school systems, students, colleges and universities, and private businesses to develop creative new ways to use technology for learning. Congress proposes to cut the funding for the K-12 portion of the program in half and eliminate funding for adult programs. These programs would help all students.
o The House has proposed complete elimination of funding for both the Star Schools program and Ready to Learn TV. This will eliminate assistance for 1.6 million learners at 5,000 institutions, many in rural areas, who use learning communication technologies to help complete their education.
o The Department of Commerce provides funds that support pilot projects by public institutions that foster widespread application and access of information technologies. In spite of the fact that the program has 200 times more requests than it can fund, the Republicans propose to cut the program by 60% percent.
o In the Department of Labor, funding for pilot research programs, demonstration, and program evaluation research is cut by 40%, greatly reducing our ability to design and implement better training programs.
o During the past decade federal laboratories have worked to help improve local schools -- particularly in areas of science education through summer training courses for teachers and other programs. Funding for these activities has been eliminated.
o The Congressional majority cuts in technology agencies will also have a drastic effect on the nation's supply of scientists and engineers, reducing support for as many as 10,000 math, science and engineering undergraduates, post-doctoral students, and faculty members across the United States, including 4,800 undergraduate internships and 4,200 post-docs. They also eliminate a Department of Agriculture program focused specifically on research capacity-building at the Historically Black Land-Grant Universities and Colleges.