McMorris Introduces Amendment to Increase America’s Competitiveness

Dec 30, 2008

(Washington, D.C.)  Congresswoman Cathy McMorris (WA-05) today offered the bipartisan American Competitiveness Amendment to H.R. 609: The College Access and Opportunity Act. The amendment strengthens American competitiveness by increasing the number of teachers qualified to teach advanced placement courses and authorizing the recruitment of well-qualified Americans to serve as adjunct teachers in secondary school. The amendment passed by a bipartisan vote of 293-134.

“Keeping America competitive is a necessity in which both Republicans and Democrats are in agreement,” said McMorris. “Today, over half of China’s undergraduate degrees are in math, science, technology and engineering. Yet, only 16 percent of American undergraduates pursue these fields. We can and must do better. I applaud the President for his continual leadership on this issue.”

The amendment follows up on the President’s State of the Union proposal to enhance America’s leadership in science and technology. It provides additional uses of state grant and partnership grant funds under Title II, Teacher Quality Enhancement Grants, to authorize advanced placement activities designed to increase the number of teachers qualified to teach advanced placement and pre-advanced placement courses in mathematics, science, and critical foreign languages, particularly for low-income students.

Secondly, the amendment authorizes the Secretary of Education, under the Byrd Honors Scholarship Program, to award grants to recruit and place well-qualified individuals to serve as adjunct teachers in secondary school mathematics, science, and critical foreign language courses. It also establishes comprehensive teacher preparation programs to encourage students to advance from elementary school through college while achieving proficiency in critical foreign languages.

“We need to be tapping the resources and expertise of current and retired math and science professionals who can help with the education of our youth,” continued McMorris. “For example, this bill would allow a well-qualified individual such as Bill Gates to teach computer science courses to high school students. This will help our rural schools that often face difficulties recruiting qualified teachers to teach math, science and foreign language courses, to take advantage of this expertise; and also help our high-tech companies that need access to a trained workforce in order to remain competitive in the global economy.”

This amendment is supported by numerous groups including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), the Business Roundtable and the Information Technology Industry Council, TechNet and the New Democrat Coalition.

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