EDUCATION AND TECHNOLOGY: MEETING THE NEEDS OF TOMORROW

HEARING

BEFORE THE

SUBCOMMITTEE ON EARLY CHILDHOOD,

YOUTH AND FAMILIES

OF THE

COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION AND

THE WORKFORCE

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

ONE HUNDRED FIFTH CONGRESS

SECOND SESSION

 

HEARING HELD IN ALHAMBRA, CALIFORNIA, FEBRUARY 17, 1998

 

Serial No. 105-76

 

Printed for the use of the Committee on Education

and the Workforce


Table of Contents

 

Table of Contents *

OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. FRANK D. RIGGS, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA *

OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. MATTHEW G. MARTINEZ, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA *

OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. ROBERT C. SCOTT, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF VIRGINIA *

STATEMENT OF DENIS MAYNARD, SOUTHWESTERN OPERATIONS DIRECTOR, CISCO SYSTEMS, INC., IRVINE, CALIFORNIA *

STATEMENT OF TONY VICKERS, INTERNATIONAL TECHNOLOGY ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA, PALOS VERDES ESTATES, CALIFORNIA *

STATEMENT OF ALIDA AMABILE, AT&T, LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA *

STATEMENT OF GARY JACOBS, QUALCOMM, SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA *

STATEMENT OF JAMES LANICH, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, TECHNOLOGY FOR LEARNING LOS ANGELES COUNTY OFFICE OF EDUCATION, DOWNEY, CALIFORNIA *

STATEMENT OF ALASTAIR AITKEN, TEACHER, MARK KEPPEL HIGH SCHOOL, ALHAMBRA, CALIFORNIA *

STATEMENT OF SAMMY TANG, STUDENT, MARK KEPPEL HIGH SCHOOL, ALHAMBRA, CALIFORNIA *

APPENDIX A- WRITTEN STATEMENT OF MR. RIGGS *

APPENDIX B- WRITTEN STATEMENT OF MR. MAYNARD *

APPENDIX C- WRITTEN STATEMENT OF MR. VICKERS *

APPENDIX D- WRITTEN STATEMENT OF MS. AMABILE *

APPENDIX E- WRITTEN STATEMENT OF MR. JACOBS *

APPENDIX F- WRITTEN STATEMENT OF MR. LANICH *

APPENDIX G- WRITTEN STATEMENT OF MR. AITKEN *

Table of Indexes *

 

 

 

EDUCATION AND TECHNOLOGY: MEETING

 

THE NEEDS OF TOMORROW

 

 

Tuesday, February 17, 1998

 

 

 

Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Youth

and Families

Committee on Education and the Workforce

House of Representatives

Washington, D.C.

 

 

The subcommittee met, pursuant to call, at 1:30 p.m., in the Auditorium of the Mark Keppel High School, Alhambra, California, Hon. Frank D. Riggs, [chairman of the subcommittee] presiding.

Present: Representatives Riggs, Martinez, and Scott.

Staff Present: Alex Nock, Andrea Weiss, and Lynn Selmser.

 

OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. FRANK D. RIGGS, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA

 

Chairman Riggs. Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, especially the students who join us for today's hearing.

This is a meeting of the House of Representatives Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Youth and Families, and my name is Frank Riggs. I am from the other California, Northern California, and I am the Chairman of the subcommittee. Today, I'm joined by my two colleagues, Mr. Martinez and Mr. Scott. Congressman Matthew ``Marty'' Martinez of Southern California is the ranking member of the subcommittee which means hes the most senior Democrat on the committee. Also joining us today is our colleague, Congressman Robert ``Bobby'' Scott, from Virginia, who was good enough to brave the elements and the El Nino storms, that have been besetting California in recent weeks, to fly out to California for this hearing. We're grateful that they came and look forward to their comments and contributions.

The subcommittee is meeting here today to hear testimony on education and technology, meeting the needs of tomorrow. Education and technology is a subject that is extremely important to the future of our education system and to the future of students, students who are gathered here today, and your generational peers. We're delighted again that we could have this hearing and hear from our distinguished and very expert witnesses.

Under Rule 12(b) of the Committee rules, any oral opening statements at hearings are limited traditionally to the Chairman and ranking minority member. However, obviously, we will extend that privilege to Congressman Scott. I'm going to keep my remarks very short, and I will explain in advance that I may have to excuse myself for a few minutes at some point during the proceedings today. If that is the case, I'm going to turn the gavel over to Congressman Martinez, who is the ranking Member.

The only other thing I really want to say at the outset is, so people understand the idea and purpose behind these hearings, is that this is the first in a series of hearings nationwide on what we as a country_I don't want to limit it to the Congress; I don't want to limit it to or specify it to a particular school district_what we as a country are doing to meet the needs of employers in the technology age for technologically capable computer literate employees.

We want to know if the American public education system is producing the kind of graduates who have the workplace entry skills that employers are looking for. When I say the American public education system, I'm talking about not just our primary and secondary schools, but our post-secondary institutions as well.

Later this year in Congress we hope and intend to reauthorize the Higher Education Act, and we'll be looking at, in the context of that, whether we are doing an adequate or good job of training teachers in the use of technology. Obviously, the first step to making sure that students receive the training and education in technology they need is to make sure that their teachers are well versed in technology and are capable of imparting that knowledge and those skills to their students.

I mentioned that this is the first of a series of nationwide hearings. It's appropriate that we have the hearing here today. We are going to have a hearing in Northern California, I hope, in the Silicon Valley, which, I think, makes good sense, given the purpose and the theme of our hearings.

I also hope that we might be able to consider having hearings, gentlemen, in Austin, Texas, and in the so-called research triangle area of North Carolina. And, lastly, because we want this to be a more locally driven, if you will, grassroots effort, culminate in a hearing back in Washington, D.C. Actually in the Congress where we would also extend an invitation to participate to the growing high tech industry in northern Virginia just across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C.

I happened to see today's publication of USA Today, and it talked about the number of good paying, high skill jobs that our economy is producing. That then raised the question in my mind of whether we are producing the entry-level workers, the school graduates, who can take advantage of those jobs.

From our first panel of witnesses, I think we will hear testimony that suggests we are failing to meet the needs of employers. That we have this huge number of jobs-I think, perhaps in the tens or even hundreds of thousands-that are going unfilled, because employers and businesses cannot find the job applicants and the entry level workers to meet their needs and to fill those jobs.

Originally, I, the subcommittee chairman, became interested in this subject_actually, been interested in it for years, but an earlier USA Today article back in December caught my eye. The cover story was schools ride tech wave, and then underneath it the subheadline read, ``Educators report varying success at harnessing its power.''

Inside the paper there was another article, if I didn't chop it up too much, that says-you see I cut it off, but it said, ``Schools struggle to train teachers to use technology.'' So again, that's going to be one of our main focuses as we proceed through the experience looking at teacher training, not only traditional teacher training at colleges and universities, but in-service and professional development training for teachers and in technology as well.

I especially want to thank the very kind people here, the administrators and staff of Mark Keppel-did I pronounce that correctly, I hope-High School. I should have asked before coming up here and starting this hearing what your mascot is, but we appreciate your hospitality in hosting this hearing. I especially want to thank Rudy Chavez, the principal, for allowing us to invade the school, if you will, and use the auditorium this afternoon.

I also should note that we are in the district of Congressman Martinez. So I want to thank him also for hosting this hearing, and promise to reciprocate his Southern California hospitality with a little Northern California hospitality when we go north.

The other point that I want to make before turning to my colleagues is that I really believe that technology is fundamentally important in education today. If you believe, as I do, that equal opportunity and affirmative action in our society begins with every American child having access to and receiving the kind of education that will help them become a productive citizen. Then I think you have to go one step further and commit to the educational goals of good teachers, traditional curriculum with an emphasis on the core academic subjects, access to and instruction in technology, and lastly, holding schools accountable for the real world results. That is to say teaching all children and teaching all children real world skills. Again, we are going to focus a lot on that today.

So I look forward to hearing everyone's testimony and hearing your perspectives on how education in technology can meet the needs of tomorrow, can meet the needs of employers and businesses, again, for a technologically capable and computer literate workforce.

At this point in time, I'd like to recognize my colleague and friend, the ranking member of the subcommittee, Congressman Martinez, for any opening statement he would like to make.

SEE APPENDIX A FOR WRITTEN STATEMENT OF CHAIRMAN. RIGGS

OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. MATTHEW G. MARTINEZ, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA

 

Mr. Martinez. Thank you very much, Chairman Riggs. Can you hear me in the back? All right. I understand these microphones are very sensitive. So I won't have to yell.

In Congress, whenever a colleague of ours makes a statement that's right on target, the subsequent speaker will usually say I want to associate my remarks with those of the gentleman who just spoke. I'd like to say that right now. I think our Chairman, Mr. Riggs, has hit the nail right on the head, and I'd like to associate my remarks with his.

I'm certainly pleased that he's come to this district to hold this hearing. I think here in the county of L.A. we have some excellent programs working, and we still need to do much more. I want to thank him again for holding the hearing here in Alhambra.

I should know your mascot, although I don't, because I had four of my children graduate from this school, and for the life of me, I was sitting here trying to remember what it was, and I couldn't. I'll find out before I leave.

I want to also welcome another colleague of ours, Bobby Scott, the distinguished representative from Virginia. I welcome you both to Mark Keppel, and I know that we are all looking forward to the witnesses here today.

Your idea of holding these hearings across the country is a good one. I look forward to joining you in both places you mentioned. I think that today, as technology continues to drive the economic engine of our country we must look forward. As you said in your opening statement to make sure that our young people are getting the training and our teachers are getting the training they need to make sure we keep pace.

In my first years of service here as Mayor and city councilman in Marley Park, I remember that, if you went through the offices there, typewriters and mimeograph machines were the norm. Now in my office, both here and in Washington, my staff has computers at each of their desks, and I cannot hire an individual who is not computer literate, since technology enables me and my staff to serve our constituents.

Clearly, ability to understand the use of technology to its fullest is essential in today's workplace. I don't think I've visited very many businesses in the last few years where I haven't seen a raft of computers at the desks of people who are working there.

I'm pleased that Mark Keppel has one of 15 networking academies at which the young people of the 31st Congressional District can learn how to build and maintain a computer network. These valuable skills will enable these students to compete for their jobs with starting salaries in the neighborhood of the $30,000 to $40,000 range.

I remember in Virginia, in Northern Virginia in Bobby Scott's area, we had a hearing on Tech Prep when we were reauthorizing that program. The comments of the people who testified as to the number of vacancies that existed. These young people after two years of high school and Tech Prep and two years of training beyond, could come into jobs with the kind of average salary range of $37,000. That is not a minimum wage job, and something that young people should be able to work and look forward to.

I believe that the valuable skills that they learn will enable these students to compete for those jobs. Such a pay scale is a necessity in a world with costs associated with supporting a family continue to grow.

The ability to manage a network and other technologies is increasingly in demand. The International Technology Association of America-and I understand there's a representative here today we will hear from later-will outline that nearly 200,000 high tech jobs in mid and large size U.S. companies, and possibly many more, are presently unfilled. That's something that the chairman alluded to.

There are many employers out there desperate for qualified individuals. Yet the shortage remains. The Los Angeles County Office of Education, the Alhambra School District, and the leaders in the community have found the answer to filling this large number of unclaimed jobs. Private/public partnerships in which educators and businesses come together with a common goal, ensuring the young people of today that they grow up to be technologically literate employed, adults of tomorrow.

The solution to satisfying the employment needs of business, while raising the economic possibilities for thousands of Americans, cannot be accomplished without such a joint effort. And I applaud the local and national leaders who have come to this realization, and I applaud the chairman for holding the hearings in recognition of that fact.

In closing, I want to thank Rudy Chadwick, the principal here at Mark Keppel High School, and his staff for the use of this auditorium. I also want to extend a special welcome to Jim Lanich of the Technology for Learning Program, Alastair Aitken, a teacher here at Mark Keppel, and especially a parent who was going to be with us today who trained the parents in the technology. Jeanny Chan was sick and not able to be with us today. I'm sorry about that.

It's these local leaders and educators who should be admired and recognized for their achievements in making Mark Keppel this area's technology efforts a success, and I want to thank you again, Mr. Chairman, for holding the hearing here.

 

Chairman Riggs. Congressman Scott.

 

OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. ROBERT C. SCOTT, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF VIRGINIA

 

Mr. Scott. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I want to thank you for holding the hearing and congratulate you on your hard work and leadership in this area, and I want to thank the hospitality of our ranking Member, Mr. Martinez, for his hard work in education and a number of other issues.

 

Mr. Chairman, this is not a California issue. Just yesterday we had a press conference announcing a coalition of historically black colleges and universities in Northern Virginia businesses on what they could do in partnership to help young people get into the technology area.

There are, unfortunately, many open jobs in Northern Virginia, disproportionately, and tens of thousands of Northern Virginia alone. Obviously, that problem is just not a California problem. It's not a Texas problem. It's a national problem.

We are in a global economy, we're not competing in California against Virginia, against Texas, but Germany, Japan, Korea and everywhere else. We can't compete on wages.

The jobs that are open in Northern Virginia are $45-$50-$60,000 jobs. You could probably get people cheaper somewhere else in the world. We don't have to have people working next to each other, particularly in the technology area. You can have the work performed across the hall or across the globe, and instantaneously get the work product back to where it needs to be.

You have financing. You can build an office building anywhere in the world. You can get manufactured products delivered anywhere overnight. The only reason a business would want to locate in America is because they can find well educated, well trained workers they can't find anywhere else.

When we have a situation where we have jobs that cannot be filled because they don't have the training or they can't find people with the education and training to fill the jobs, the businesses that are here won't be able to grow, and businesses looking for somewhere to locate won't come to Southern California or to Northern Virginia or even to the United States. They will go somewhere where they can find the appropriately trained people.

This not only pertains to technology firms. As Marty indicated, any firm, any office, you need technological oriented individuals in order to do work in any office setting. So to the extent that we fail to solve this problem with the education and training necessary to fill these jobs, we will start losing the jobs that we have.

It's absolutely essential that we have the public/private partnerships that are represented today, because the technology area is a dynamic area. If we have a perfect curriculum today, it's going to be obsolete in three or four years. Unless we continually upgrade, we'll find ourselves getting behind.

So I want to thank you for holding the hearing, getting us going in the right direction. And I want to thank the witnesses that will be testifying and helping us establish the right protocol and deciding what we can do as the committee involved in education in the House of Representatives, what we can just do to solve this problem. Thank you.

 

Chairman Riggs. Thank you, Congressman Scott, and thank you, Congressman Martinez. As Congressman Martinez said earlier, I would certainly like to associate myself with the comments made by both gentlemen and again to Congressman Scott. He certainly just very succinctly but eloquently stated the purpose for our being here today, and the challenge that confronts both the private sector as well as government at all levels in the future.

Our first panel is comprised of business people who are making a difference. They are stepping in to help local schools meet the technological challenges of tomorrow, businesses such as Cisco Systems who recently helped Los Angeles County establish a networking academy, AT&T who helped organize regional technology centers, and QualComm-did I pronounce QualComm correctly? -which is working with the San Diego Unified School District to develop technology infrastructure plans and who, I understand, just recently gave a $15 million donation to the University of California at San Diego.

We will also hear about the scarcity of information technology workers from the Information Technology Association of America. I believe we will also touch in that testimony briefly upon current Federal immigration policy and what we can do as a country to address the shortage of computer literate, technology capable workers.

So it's my pleasure now to turn to our first panel of witnesses, all business and professional people. And introduce them in the following order or introduce them in the order in which they will speak: Mr. Denis Maynard who is the Operations Director for the Southwestern Region for Cisco Systems of Irvine, California.

Cisco Systems recently launched a program with the Los Angeles County Office of Education, as I mentioned, to integrate the tools of information management computer networking in education. As I look out on the audience at the young people that really, quite simply, means that it's your classroom wired to the Internet. It means do you have current-if not state of the art, at least current, workable computer hardware and software programs that can be integrated into your curriculum and your program of learning here at Mark Keppel?

He will also discuss for us the recent report by the ITAA describing the needs-Excuse me, I was going right to Mr. Vickers. I should finish by saying Cisco is a worldwide leader in networking for the Internet.

Mr. Tony Vickers will be next. He is representing the International Technology Association of America, ITAA. Mr. Vickers is the Director of a small information technology company called Computer People, and I love it when we simplify some of the terminology in technology. Computer People is Us. That's pretty good.

He will discuss for us the recent report by the ITAA describing the needs of the information technology workforce.

Ms. Alida-I have to be very careful to pronounce the name correctly-Amabile is the Area Public Relations Director for AT&T here in Los Angeles. AT&T, as I mentioned, recently gave funds to help develop a plan to organize regional technology centers throughout Los Angeles County. They hope that these centers will increase county-wide access to technology for all school community members.

Last but certainly not least, is Mr. Gary Jacobs. He is a senior software engineer, and he told me before we got started that he's recently moved to human relations in order to be able to work with the school systems or school districts in San Diego County. He, of course, represents QualComm, which is a wireless company, where he is helping to head up the education technology program.

He will tell us about his involvement in mapping the infrastructure to wire five schools in San Diego County, and I believe at least one of those schools may be the school that his own children attend.

So we're delighted to have all of our witness here today, thank them in advance for their time and their testimony and their contributions.

Mr. Maynard, you may proceed with your remarks, please. If you would, be cognizant, since we, the three of us, have collectively taken far more time than we afford you with your collective witness. Be aware of our time constraints and also the fact that your full written statement will be published in the record, but we look forward to your comments. You may proceed.

 

STATEMENT OF DENIS MAYNARD, SOUTHWESTERN OPERATIONS DIRECTOR, CISCO SYSTEMS, INC., IRVINE, CALIFORNIA

 

Mr. Maynard. Good afternoon, Chairman Riggs, Congressman Martinez, Congressman Scott, Mr. Chavez, students and faculty, Mark Keppel. Thank you for the opportunity to allow me to address the important issue of technology and education.

 

Chairman Riggs. Can we hear okay out there? Maybe you could bring it just a little bit closer to you, Mr. Maynard. There you go.

 

Mr. Maynard. To quote a recent study released by the Department of Commerce, ``Just a few years ago, Java was coffee, C was a passing grade, and web masters had eight legs.'' As we all know, information technology is rapidly changing the way we live, work, play, and learn. The economy of the 21st Century will be an information based economy. The question is, are we ready?

As we approach the millennium, our schools face serious challenges in educating the workforce of tomorrow. Although funding to purchase the tools of the information economy is improving, schools must also address the lack of time and resources to maintain this equipment and the lack of expertise to teach these concepts to their students.

Cisco believes most of our schools are behind the curve on preparing the future workforce of this country to support its emerging technology infrastructure. As evidence of this, an Information Technology Association of America report released in January of 1998 states that the job deficit for information technology workers in this country stands at 346,000 or approximately ten percent of the total number of positions available.

Virginia Tech President Paul E. Torgersen, commenting on these findings, said, ``The future economic competitiveness of the nation is dependent on maintaining a qualified flow of information technology workers. We must look to creative partnerships among industry, associations, education, and government to help close the worker shortage gap.''

I am here to tell you of one such partnership today. In October of 1997, Cisco launched a new program called Cisco Networking Academies. This program, in the works for almost four years, educates and certifies high school and college students to design, build, and maintain networks and represents a partnership between Cisco and schools, government, and industry.

The Cisco Networking Academies program is currently operational in over 150 schools in 16 states. We expect to be established in almost 1,000 schools in virtually all 50 states by this fall. In Los Angeles County alone, over 150 more academies will begin operation during the 1998-99 academic year.

Our program attempts to provide a turnkey solution to schools. We not only offer a four-semester, multimedia, web based curriculum that will continually evolve to include new concepts. But also a complete suite of lab equipment on which students can practice their skills; teacher training, support for the curriculum and the equipment, a marketable certificate provided to students who can demonstrate competence after completing the curriculum, and a web based virtual community where academies can share insights on all aspects of the program, including its strengths and its weaknesses.

The program was designed to avoid the mistakes we and other companies have made in the past. Specifically, Cisco Networking Academies do not simply drop technology into the classroom, nor does it stop at training teacher to use networking equipment. Instead, we intend to provide virtually everything a school needs to effectively and economically teach students how to build and operate their networks.

Students graduating from this program will be strong network administrators, designers, and troubleshooters, because they will have substantial experience doing these jobs on real networks.

In fact, the fourth and final semester of the Networking Academies' curriculum is almost entirely project based, exercising skills learned from the previous semesters.

The curriculum was given a real test in April 1997 when Cisco took some of the students from Thurgood Marshall Academic High School-that was our program's pilot high school in an impoverished area of San Francisco-and brought them to the San Jose Convention Center.

Here, in less than a day, these students designed, installed, and configured a 70-node trade show network for the California Community College Foundation. This network, using the latest technologies, connected all trade show booths and conference rooms.

The network operated flawlessly throughout the three days. Amazingly, at that point, the students who installed the network had not yet completed even half of the four semester curriculum. The President of the CCCF, David Springett, said, ``Vendors, presenters, and the Foundation found it to be an invaluable service. Cisco's partnership with the high school students demonstrated how private industry's active involvement in education can advance students' skills and future prospects.''

All good partnerships, though, must benefit each partner. Specifically, the Cisco Networking Academies provides substantial return for students, teachers, schools, government, and industry.

Students enjoy a fun-to-use curriculum that provides job skills leading to gainful employment in IT jobs. Student classroom time is divided between using the multimedia curriculum with animations, pictures, examples, and exercises and actually configuring and operating real network equipment in the lab.

While the students are learning the skills essential to network administration, they simultaneously are building reading, writing and math skills through the required projects and other assignments.

Teachers get motivated students and knowledge critical to our new information economy. One teacher commented, and I quote, ``Energy level by these students is so high I cannot find words to describe the feelings.''

Another said, ``Monday, we had to tell the students to leave at 5:00 P.M.''

Schools get a relevant new curriculum and, perhaps more importantly, people to help them maintain their computer networks. Students, under proper supervision, are encouraged to learn about and help maintain the networks of not only their own school, but of other schools elsewhere in the area.

The government has shown strong interest in the program, because it supports technology in the classroom and school-to-career initiatives. Linda Roberts, Director of the Office of Educational Technology at the U.S. Department of Education, says, and I quote, ``the Networking Academies program is in tune with the President's initiatives on educational technology and in the best spirit of public and private partnership.''

Finally, industry is excited about the opportunity to hire the certified graduates from the Networking Academies program. Cisco will do what it can to bring together hiring managers and program graduates, although we will also take care to ensure that we are not a bottleneck in making and tackling this enormous endeavor.

We are proud of the Networking Academies program and pleased that it has attracted the government's attention. However, we would like to encourage the subcommittee to do what it can to ensure that more of these programs, perhaps using this program as a model, are implemented.

Our program alone will not be enough. Most estimates project that the high tech worker problem will become worse before it gets better. Already the ITAA study shows that 50 percent of the IT company executives cited a lack of skilled, trained workers as the most significant barrier to their companies' growth during the next year, a problem viewed as significantly greater than economic conditions, profitability, lack of capital investment, taxes or regulation.

Through programs such as Cisco Networking Academies, we can address a number of these problems at once.

In closing, I'd like to share a success story that emphasizes the impact of the program on its most important stakeholders. That's our children.

In a recent interview on Fox TV, a student at Dorsey High here in L.A., a school where 70 percent of the students live under the poverty level, commented that, were it not for this program, he would probably be in jail. Prior to entering the program, he had failed every subject because, as he put it, school was boring. Now looking ahead at his prospects, he says, ``I think I have a future.''

Thank you very much for this opportunity to address this.

 

Chairman Riggs. Thank you, Mr. Maynard.

 

SEE APPENDIX B FOR STATEMENT OF MR. MAYNARD

Chairman Riggs. Mr. Vickers.

 

STATEMENT OF TONY VICKERS, INTERNATIONAL TECHNOLOGY ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA, PALOS VERDES ESTATES, CALIFORNIA

 

 

Mr. Vickers. Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee, on behalf of Computer People Inc (CPI) and the Information Technology Association of America (ITAA), I want to thank you for allowing me to participate in today's discussion.

Can you hear me okay, by the way? Is that better? Good.

 

Mr. Martinez. Try lifting it up just a little bit.

 

Mr. Vickers. I appreciate today's time constraints. So I'm going to summarize the main points of my statement. There's a good deal more detail in the full text, for those who are interested.

Computer People Inc. is a national information technology services provider. We operate through 16 branch offices around the country. We have 1400 employees and revenues of $150 million. CPI specializes in helping American businesses make use of IT to compete effectively in today's global economy and to achieve productivity gains.

ITAA has over 11,000 direct and affiliate member companies throughout the United States, which are involved in IT software, services, the Internet, electronic commerce, systems integration, and telecommunications.

ITAA also serves as the Secretariat to the World Information Technology and Services Alliance, which comprises 29 member associations throughout the world. In June 1998, ITAA will host the XI World Congress on Information Technology here in the U.S.

Let me get right to the point. The rapid advance of technology, problems in the education pipeline, the overall growth of the economy, and the ongoing strong growth in demand for IT solutions have created severe problems for companies seeking skilled IT workers.

ITAA's landmark study, Help Wanted: A Call for Collaborative Action in the New Millennium, systematically documents the serious lack of skilled IT workers in the U.S. and the impact this could have on our economy and the ability to compete globally.

As Mr. Maynard mentioned, the study that we issued just last month documents that the shortage of IT workers nationally now approximates 346,000. That's up from 200,000 in the study that we published just about a year ago.

Now while most of my remarks will describe conditions in the IT industry, one thing I want to stress is that the IT worker shortage impacts not only companies that we think of as being in the computer industry. It impacts organizations throughout our economy, such as manufacturers, banks, governments, the educational community, and the nonprofit sector.

The good news is that Computer People Inc. and IT companies in general are going through an unprecedented period of growth. So much so that IT professions top the government's list of the fastest growing occupations with demand for data administrators, computer support specialists, computer engineers, and systems analysts expected to climb an average of 107 percent, creating 1.1 million high paying new jobs by 2006.

Yet at the same time that we have this positive news, a major challenge has been lurking beneath the surface which has now exploded into view, the dramatic shortage of skilled workers in the information technology economy, a serious problem other countries are already addressing.

Increased recruiting and training are only a partial solution to the problem. Education will be a key facet of any solution. The challenge is enormous, as indicated by the fact that from 1986 to 1994 the number of bachelor degrees in computer science annually awarded in the U.S. dropped by 43 percent from 43,000 to 24,000.

ITAA is focusing on increasing the number of IT workers domestically, including through long term efforts in the area of education. The education paradigm for the knowledge age needs to be reexamined, both by the education community, the vendors, and the IT industry, the customers.

It is time to examine new paradigms, including a possible new role for the IT industry itself and fundamental shifts in our nation's approach to education, to meet the demands of the 21st Century.

ITAA has responded to this challenge by putting together the first National Convocation on this issue. The Convocation, conducted last month in Berkeley, California, brought together leaders from industry, government, colleges and universities, and K-12 education from around the country to develop IT education programs and discuss solutions to this issue. ITAA was joined in this endeavor by the U.S. Departments of Commerce and Education and by UC-Berkeley.

Six task forces met at the Convocation and presented their green paper findings in Basic Math and Science Competencies, Image of the IT Professions, Quality and Productivity Issues, Recruiting Underrepresented Groups, Responsiveness of Industry and Higher Education, and Skill Upgrading of the Current Workforce.

Green papers triggered subsequent discussion and a sharing of alternative viewpoints among attendees. Versions of each report have been posted on the World Wide Web, and I would like to now offer a brief synopsis of just a few of them.

First of all, the Task Force for Basic Math and Science Competencies aimed at increasing interest and competency in math and science so that potential IT workers possess the necessary skill sets. Initial suggestions of the group included changes in teacher qualifications, credentialing, increasing math and science teacher salaries, professional development for math and science teachers, and curricular standards.

The Image of the IT Professions Task Force worked to find ways to alleviate the known deep misconceptions about IT careers by emphasizing the dynamic and exciting opportunities that the field offers. The task force has proposed a national industry-led promotion campaign to change popular perceptions.

The Task Force on Underrepresented Groups sought to expand the pool of potential workers in the IT field to include more women, minorities, vocational students, and other nontraditional IT workers. Issues the task group feels need to be pursued include: Determining if teachers and guidance counselors need better information and training to help them guide underrepresented groups into the IT education and career pipeline; designing math and science programs to accommodate the learning styles of girls and minorities and to make these subjects more relevant to their lives; and evaluating the need for women and minority groups to have greater numbers of IT mentors and role models from which to draw inspiration and guidance.

The Task Force for Responsiveness of Industry and Higher Education worked to facilitate the exchange of information and resources so that properly skilled workers enter the marketplace. Initial task force suggestions were made in the areas of industry funding and support, initiatives for higher education, and cooperative efforts among affected groups.

ITAA also announced a series of industry initiatives it will undertake to help bring a focused, systematic approach to the worker shortage. These initiatives include a program, which we're partnering with Microsoft on the Skills 2000 program, and we will be distributing a video that's being produced through this program to our members and to the American Association of School Administrators.

As an industry group, we feel we are doing our part to broaden the pool of qualified IT professionals. Industry is only part of the equation, however. In addition, the U.S. should consider review of its legal employment based immigration programs with an outlook that will ensure the U.S. a level playing field in a global economy.

U.S. immigration law since 1991 has limited the number of annual admissions of foreign workers in the H-1B nonimmigrant category to 65,000. H-1B workers are sponsored by U.S. employers.

The H-1B category is used by many different types of employers, but it is very important to the IT industry. For the first time since the cap was established in 1990, the cap was reached in September of 1997.

As of January 1998, approximately 27,000 H-1B visas had been issued. In other words, we could come close to reaching the cap in just two quarters of this fiscal year. This could cause great business uncertainty for planning product and service cycles and risking our global competitiveness; and as a result, our industry strongly believes the cap should be eliminated or increased substantially.

The main reason for this, in brief, first of all, as I mentioned previously, the IT industry is currently facing a dramatic shortage of workers. Secondly, U.S. unemployment is extremely low, less than 4.9 percent, the lowest in 24 years.

Thirdly, the 65,000 cap was arbitrarily arrived at in 1990 in the absence of any hard data presented to Congress by INS or other official sources.

Fourthly, the IT industry uses only a small portion of the numbers available under the H-1B nonimmigrant visa program. A majority of the numbers are used by academia and the health care industry.

In conclusion, I want to stress that access to the IT industry's basic commodity, skilled people has reached a perilous state. While our number of computer science graduates has declined since the mid-1980s, countries such as India, through a focused effort, have produced hundreds of thousands of new knowledge workers, giving them a formidable international presence in the computer world.

Our neighbor to the north, Canada, saw the IT worker problem as a shortage and an opportunity years ago, and in 1991 government and industry banded together to form the Software Human Resources Council, which has helped to increase the country's pool of IT workers.

The stakes are high. While immigration is not the solution to the IT work shortage, a reasonable immigration policy is necessary for IT companies to remain globally competitive while we focus on education to produce more home grown IT people, which is a much longer term solution.

Thank you.

 

Chairman Riggs. Thank you, Mr. Vickers, and thank you for reminding us that the flip side of a problem or challenge is opportunity, and we're very interested in exploring that opportunity with you. So thank you for your testimony.

SEE APPENDIX C FOR STAMENT OF MR. VICKERS

Chairman Riggs. Ms. Amabile. Did I pronounce it correctly? I don't know why I'm still stumbling over that, but thank you for being here. Thank you for representing AT&T here today, and we look forward to your testimony.

 

STATEMENT OF ALIDA AMABILE, AT&T, LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA

 

Ms. Amabile. Thank you. Good afternoon, Chairman Riggs, Congressman Martinez, and Congressman Scott. It is an honor for me to represent AT&T this afternoon, and thank you for the opportunity to give testimony at this committee hearing.

I'd like to give a very special welcome to Principal Chavez and the students and teachers of Mark Keppel High School who are here with us this afternoon, and I have a very special greeting for al of you: Go, Aztecs.

As a world leader in the telecommunications industry, AT&T has long been a champion of the power of effective education and has supported that belief by contributing more than $500 million in support of education since 1984.

Like many other companies that you've heard from today, our investment is driven by the need for a highly competitive workforce, but we also recognize and value the quality of life inspired by educated citizens.

As a company at the forefront of the information technology revolution, AT&T continues its legacy with the AT&T Learning Network. I'd just like to see a show of hands of folks in the audience who are familiar with the Learning Network. A few.

Well, it's a five-year, $150 million program to bring AT&T technology and extensive support services to every public, private elementary and secondary school in America. This initiative is a joint business and philanthropic offer that represents AT&T's largest single commitment to education to date.

The program was launched in 1995 and is designed to provide all schools with access to some of the newest information technologies, including the Internet and the World Wide Web. It was very important for us to make this program available, not to some schools, but to all schools, and it was equally important to include not only access to the technology but help in understanding how to use this technology.

That's why the AT&T Learning Network's free online support services include an Internet 101 teacher tutorial on how to use the Internet. A WebTour that was created by education experts to guide teachers through various education related uses of the World Wide Web. And AskLN-that would probably be my favorite source on the Web-our exclusive mentoring program that provides coaching to teachers, by teachers, on how to integrate technology into lesson plans and classroom activities.

In addition, world class technical assistance and links and pointers to top search engines and resources help direct teachers to valuable online education content and information.

To complement the offer from AT&T's business units, the AT&T Foundation makes available AT&T Learning Network grants to help families, schools and communities use technology to improve teaching and learning.

We believe that parents are a child's first and most important teachers and, as such, essential to a child's success in school. Therefore, AT&T Learning Network grants program supports that encourage and facilitate greater family involvement in education.

For example, an AT&T Learning Network grant is helping the Children's Partnership, which is a national nonprofit organization located in Los Angeles, to publish in both print and online versions the Parent's Guide to the Information Superhighway.

In addition to this practical resource guide, the Children's Partnership is developing community based training for parents in how to use the Internet. And AT&T was proud to join the Children's Partnership at the recent Internet Online Summit which focused national attention on the need to ensure a safe Internet environment for our children.

We recognize the critical importance of well prepared, highly motivated teachers to student achievement, and award AT&T Learning Network grants to support professional development opportunities for teachers in the use of technology.

We are also concerned with the preparation of new teachers and are working with colleges of education to integrate technology into teacher preparation programs. For example, in support of California's statewide plan to reduce class size, AT&T is working with the entire California State University system to increase the number of teachers by providing online education programs for emergency credentialed teachers.

AT&T Learning Network grants are also helping bring technology to education reform efforts offered by the Bay Area School Reform Collaborative and the Galef Institute. We are partnering with organizations like the Detwiler Foundation to increase the availability of computers in schools so that teachers and students have the basic tools to use.

We at AT&T believe that learning is a lifelong process, and learning how to learn is an essential survival skill for the 21st Century. That's why our AT&T Learning Network grants are helping to build the frameworks for learning communities.

For example, AT&T and the Greenlining Institute in northern California are working with San Francisco's Fairmount Elementary School on a model learning project. The school has received computers and Internet connectivity, and each family is loaned a computer and a modem for use at home. Students and parents receive training on how to use the technology, and Fairmount teachers receive special training in computer based curriculum design from California State University at Monterey Bay.

We are also very proud to be a partner with the Los Angeles County Office of Education in helping to establish 25 community based technology learning centers where parents and grandparents, teachers and students can learn to use technology right in their neighborhoods.

I'd like to congratulate my colleague, Dr. James Lanich, for his vision and leadership, along with Superintendent Donald W. Ingwerson for bringing this program to all of the people of Los Angeles county. Since 1996, the AT&T Learning Network has committed more than $13.2 million to California education initiatives.

As we look to the future, the AT&T Learning Network will continue to evolve to meet the changing needs in education and the rapid advances in technology. As we move from Net Days to Next Days, we will continue to seek broad collaboration and creative partnerships to strengthen the impact of our work, and the AT&T Learning Network will continue to symbolize our belief in the power of technology to enhance teaching and learning anytime, anywhere.

Thank you.

SEE APPENDIX D FOR STATEMENT OF MS. AMABILE

Chairman Riggs. Thank you. You did say every school in the country?

 

Ms. Amabile. That is our goal.

 

Chairman Riggs. How far along are you now?

 

Ms. Amabile. It's my understanding that there are about 170,000 schools in the United States, and we're about halfway there, and the program will end in the year 2000.

 

Chairman Riggs. It's remarkable and commendable. We'll talk a little bit more about that when we get to the questions and answers.

 

Chairman Riggs. Mr. Jacobs, thank you for being here. Thank you for driving up from San Diego, and we look forward to your testimony. Please proceed.

 

STATEMENT OF GARY JACOBS, QUALCOMM, SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA

 

 

Mr. Jacobs. Thank you. Mr. Chairman, Congressman Martinez and Congressman Scott, thank you for the opportunity to testify here today. It's a real thrill for me, and I really appreciate the chance.

I also want to say thank you to the Web masters of the high school here, because I was able to look up the directions on how to get here from San Diego.

In a little more than a decade, QUALCOMM Incorporated has grown from a startup with seven employees into a global leader in wireless communications with approximately 10,000 employees. As San Diego's largest private employer, we interface on many different levels with San Diego County's educational institutions.

Our corporate philosophy program-philanthropy program is focused on K-12 education, and QUALCOMM currently supports dozens of schools and libraries with both cash grants and technology donations.

We regularly consult with our county's school districts on the future of educational policy and the needs of local industry. We helped found the Wireless Center at the University of California San Diego, which prepares university students with specific course work in wireless communications technology.

Our Chairman and CEO, Irwin Jacobs, last week donated, as Chairman Riggs noted, $15 million to build a new engineering facility at UCSD to help meet the demand of our growing technology community.

At that press conference to announce that, the President of the UC system said, there aren't enough engineering students in the UC system and the CSU system in order to meet just the engineering requirements in the city of San Diego, with QUALCOMM and all the other companies there. So it really is a fast growing field, and I echo all the other panelists' discussions about the need for more engineering students and more students with better education.

These investments of time and money are just that. They are investments and not charity. To recruit effectively outside San Diego, we must maintain a local educational system that satisfies the exacting demands of prospective employees and their families. But if we are to maintain a pace in which we hire a new employee every business hour, we must do a better job preparing local students for careers in our new economy.

At present we are, not only as a community but as a nation, failing that task. To illustrate this point, consider that 66 percent of our engineering hires from universities last year were foreign nationals, and that the overwhelming majority of these hires come from American universities.

It's very clear that we need to make sure that you high school students are very interested in engineering programs that you go on then to follow up in college, in other forms of higher education to get those engineering degrees and technology degrees to come into the industry.

It's important, though, to remember that companies like QUALCOMM are not merely collections of engineers. As a global company, we recruit and hire employees in manufacturing, sales, marketing, human resources, graphic design, legal services and a host of other categories.

All of these employees, whether they work with the technology or not, must be proficient in the use of computer technology and understand that role of technology in QUALCOMM's business. Specifically, they have to be able to retrieve, create and send information in real time.

We are a major user of E-mail. We use Web based conferencing quite a bit. We use video based conferencing quite a bit. All that requires the technology base to understand how to use it and use it correctly.

Computer skills are not for engineers. They are for everybody who wants to work at companies like QUALCOMM. So there is a real value in introducing children to computers at the earliest possible date.

In fact, at my youngest child's preschool the four-year-olds are actually in the computer lab there every week learning how to use the mouse, learning, getting familiar with it, and we actually had to increase the level of the teaching, because they are getting more toward that at home.

That's only a small part of the potential of computers in the classroom. Computers are tools that, properly used, can help children take quantum leaps in their ability to obtain information through the Internet and other research media.

Computers, too, can help children develop their creativity in writing, graphic arts and other disciplines.

The operative word in that paragraph was ``properly used.'' The key for school districts, individual schools, companies and lawmakers is to devise an organized, intelligent program for not just obtaining technology but using it to its fullest educational potential.

We need to make sure that technology is in the classroom. We do that through our grant programs for both cash and for technology equipment. We also have to make sure that the curriculum is developed correctly and that teachers understand how to use it.

An understanding of the educational community's need for technology is key. Companies like QUALCOMM are deluged with requests for equipment and technical assistance from a variety of schools. Neither QUALCOMM nor any other private company should be asked to evaluate a school's need for technology relative to other schools; but, unfortunately, most school districts lack even that basic form of education.

What we are doing right now is working with the San Diego Unified School District to develop a technology plan with them. The first thing we had to do is develop a plan with other companies in San Diego to do an inventory of what the schools have now, because the district doesn't know what they have. The school administrators don't really understand what they have, and the teachers, in some cases, don't understand what they have and, of course, how to use it.

Without this knowledge, technology tends to migrate to those schools that can develop the best relationships with donor companies, and not necessarily where the need is greatest.

Obviously, we need a plan for the use of computers and other technology in executing specific lesson plans. It's important that these plans reflect the input of not only teachers and administrators but parents, community and business leaders and the students themselves. These plans need to be tied to curricula, for research on specific subjects, or even word processing.

The regular use of computers helps prepare students for a business world in which computers are ubiquitous tools for professionals everywhere.

One of the other projects we're working on is high tech tie. We have been working with one of the local high schools, working with the San Diego Unified School District and other employers both in high tech and biotech, to develop programs for possibly a charter school where we will develop a math and science curriculum, along with communication skills. Because if you can't communicate what you're learning and working about, it doesn't help us a whole lot either, but verbal and written skills, to develop where we will mentor these students, provide the equipment, provide the mentoring to high school up into college level and into the job market as well.

At QUALCOMM, as stated at our last stockholder's meeting, it's not a lack of financial resources that prevents us from doing further research into other areas that are of interest. It's the lack of human resources. We're always on the lookout for good engineers, and it has to be a partnership, again, with the families and the students, with industry, with the education system.

If you just bring the students in alone without including their families, many times they don't get the support they need, and so it has to be a true partnership. Thank you.

SEEAPPENDIX E FOR STATEMENT OF MR. JACOBS

Chairman Riggs. Thank you very much for very provocative testimony, Mr. Jacobs, and the rest of our first panel of witnesses.

I would just like our audience to know that those who are here today are working very diligently to try to move legislation through the Congress, which has originated in our subcommittee and has passed the House of Representatives that would encourage states and support states with Federal taxpayer funding in creating more charter schools. You touched on that briefly in your comments.

It's clear that charter schools, by being able to address a particular niche, if you will, in the education marketplace can at least partially address the concerns that have been raised here today and the needs of employers for more technologically capable IT workers.

Again I want to thank all of you. The first thing I want to do - Mr. Maynard, you talked about certification. You then later in your testimony referred to the marketable certificate. How do you know that that certificate is marketable?

 

Mr. Maynard. Good question, Chairman Riggs.

The intent of the curriculum actually is working backwards from current industry certifications that we maintain, both for our current partners and employees, and we've developed a curriculum that is a building block that will ultimately develop into industry based certifications.

So there's a fundamental set of skills that the students will derive that the marketplace can rely upon for a base set of skills to design and support networks.

 

Chairman Riggs. So I could take your curriculum and the skills developed under that curriculum leading to certification, and I could get agreement from the other panel of witnesses that that certification would mean that that particular individual has the entry level skills necessary to succeed in that particular workforce?

 

Mr. Maynard. It would give you a baseline level of skill that the hiring company or corporation could rely upon.

 

Chairman Riggs. Let me ask our other three witnesses for a very brief response to that. Do you think that that-Obviously, that is a trend in education, but do you think that's the way to go, this whole idea of certification, a market certificate in addition to, I guess, a basic high school diploma?

Do you think that's the way to go, Mr. Jacobs? We'll just pass the mike up.

 

Mr. Jacobs. Well, I think in every case where you could find out what the student knows and then have assurance that that information-that they actually know that information and can do it. Then it's certainly a plus for us, because then we don't have to go back later and retrain them in areas that they were weak in.

 

Chairman Riggs. Do you think-Well, let me just ask before you turn the microphone over. I'm looking at your testimony, and you talk about-Here we go-all employees must be able to retrieve, create and send information in real time. Do you think the certificate would indicate that they have that ability?

 

Mr. Jacobs. Well, I think the certificate that Mr. Maynard was talking about was more of a technical certificate where it basically said that they understand how to design networks. Now presumably, anyone that has gone that far will understand how to retrieve the information online. That's where they'll get most of that information.

 

Chairman Riggs. Ms. Amabile?

 

Ms. Amabile. I think it's a wonderful topic of discussion for business associations and groups to talk about the baseline skills that are needed for the workforce of tomorrow. I don't know if that discussion has come up in national seminars and conferences, but I would think Mr. Vickers might be able to shed some light on whether or not this topic has come up at his association.

I think industry standards across the board could be very helpful to students who would say I would, you know, like a job in the entertain industry; what qualifications do I need for animation? What qualifications do I need to get a job in a telecommunications industry?

I agree with Mr. Jacobs that any help that we can give to students and teachers in giving them more knowledge and information about what the requirements and qualifications are, and the more readily that's understood, the better opportunities that they will have when they come knocking on our doors.

 

Chairman Riggs. Do we need to certify teachers before we certify students in technology?

 

Ms. Amabile. I know that there are many requalifying courses that teachers have to take for certification, and certainly, technology training is something that we've been introducing through the AT&T Learning Network grants program.

A formal certification for teachers is, again, perhaps food for thought for the teachers' union to discuss and the teachers' associations to say do we want to raise the level of standards of technology understanding and use in the classroom.

I think that's what a lot of the conversations around school reform with the Galef Institute and Basrach and others are saying. How can we empower teachers so that we can have that dynamic interaction in the classroom between technology and using lesson plans in day to day learning activities.

 

Chairman Riggs. That's something to think about, though. For the other witnesses, are we at the point where that basic teaching credential should indicate that that individual teacher, that classroom teacher, is literate, computer literate, and conversant in technology? Since I think we've all today acknowledged this new education paradigm, changing the role of the classroom teacher to more of a purveyor of knowledge than a provider of knowledge. Food for thought. Mr. Vickers?

 

Mr. Vickers. I think you've already-I think it's important. I think it's essential for teachers to have a certification so that they are conversant with IT and that they are computer literate.

I think, more generally, certification is a concept that is certainly worth more exploration. I think that the problem with the dialogue that's occurred to date on the subject of certification from the educational standpoint is that it's focused on certifying people for today's hot skills. And of course, what we need to do is to focus certification on modern concepts and the foundations of IT and not get tied up on today's hot skills, because the skills are changing so fast.

 

Chairman Riggs. Well, then let me ask your companions here. Do you, in terms of entry level tests, do you test or interview or any kind of assessments that you do, are you testing more for a basic aptitude or a specific set of skills?

 

Mr. Jacobs. I think a lot of it depends on which position the person is applying for. Now in interviews that we do at QUALCOMM, we tend to put people through the wringer before we hire them. Everyone asks them to solve some particular problem, whatever the interviewer's problem of the week is, but we do look for that, but we also look to see do they have their problem solving aptitude. Are they willing to figure out how to solve a problem.

A lot of times, I don't really care if they come up with the answer I think they should come up with. I want to make sure they have the skills to get to the point where they will be able to figure it out.

 

Chairman Riggs. Mr. Maynard?

 

Mr. Maynard. Mr. Chairman, I would have to go with Gary's comments. For technical positions that we interview within our organizations, there most definitely is an objective assessment of one's skills and technical experience. However, there's a subjective set of requirements that are essential, I think, to a successful technologist within our industry or supporting customers.

So we absolutely balance both, and there is baseline information that we absolutely apply to technical positions.

 

Chairman Riggs. Mr. Vickers, I thank you also for touching on the legal employment based immigration policy. We'll make sure that we share those with our colleagues on the House Judiciary Committee, which has principle - primary jurisdiction over Federal immigration policy.

Let me ask you and any of the other witnesses, have you heard any concerns about the converse of what you've suggested today? Because I hear them in my capacity as the Education Subcommittee Chairman, and that is the concern about business. Big business being involved in education in local schools and somehow, if you will, dictating curriculum policy or shifting the focus in education from traditional academics-you know, the basics-to vocation and technology related instruction and curriculum.

I think the two go hand in hand, but have you heard those concerns? I just want to see if you have. Okay. How would you-If those-If representatives of those groups were here today-and again, I don't know about Congressman Scott and Congressman Martinez, but I and my staff have some regular interaction with them.

If they were here today, how would you respond if they were raising those concerns? How would you respond to them?

 

Mr. Maynard. Everybody is looking this way. I think I'll take that one, Mr. Chairman.

If I could quote our Chairman, we really view this skill set as a vocational training, somewhat analogous perhaps to shop skills in the 21st Century. So I really believe that it augments a standard curriculum.

Lord knows, I'm not an expert in curriculum development, but certainly the intention is not to impose upon the standard basics of learning but to provide some vocational training that better prepares the students for the marketplace in the 21st Century.

So I don't really see it as a potential adversarial environment. I see a very complementary one that helps develop our students.

 

Chairman Riggs. Well, would you agree that there is-they posit that, if that young person gets the traditional education in the basics, the core academics, etceteras that is sufficient. Because you can take it from there, and you can, through OJT, through in-service, you know, professional training-you can give them the supplemental job skills in technology that they may need. Do you agree with that or do you think we're well beyond that point and we have to give them an integrated curriculum of the basics in technology and, in fact, that technology can be used to teach the basics?

 

Ms. Amabile. I think, Congressman Riggs that I would agree with your statement, that it needs to be integrated. Technology is so much a part of our everyday lives, the way we communicate with each other, the way we communicate with our business colleagues, the way we communicate with our communities, that building networks of learning-I mean, we're seeing a growth in that. Young people would be handicapped if they did not have technology skills, which are actually used in the classroom through several of our grantees in the learning process.

It increases their learning. It increases the ease of use of learning, and I think good grant making provides a balance and doesn't inform the grantee or direct the grantee to do something that was out of the ordinary of their normal course of business that they do in the nonprofit world.

 

Chairman Riggs. While you have the microphone, at the Federal level we've committed $541 million in Federal taxpayer funding to education technology programs this current fiscal year. Last year education technology programs received a 500 percent increase, and that number does not include other technology programs such as Star Schools, and the Department of Education-U.S. Department of Education spent $825 million last year on technology programs.

So my last but loaded question is, is that money legitimate? In other words, what is the proper role for the Federal government and Federal taxpayers in addressing this glaring shortage of skilled, educated IT workers, number one?

Number two, do you think we're spending that money well? Have you seen any results from the expenditure of close to $800 million in Federal taxpayer funding in your business, in your communities or in the schools with which you work? We'll just go straight down the panel. Like I said, this is my last question. Whichever one.

It was a loaded question.

 

Mr. Maynard. Relative to what we've seen and experienced. I would point to the success of a project last year that demonstrated the ability of the school system to be able to take a technology plan and begin to-I think what we're more excited and anxious for are some of the newly funded programs.

I would like to comment, though, that you've commented what is the role of the Federal government and the funding in supporting these particular programs. I think it's supplementary.

In our brief experience in Network Academies, we have found that it truly is a partnership, not just with the technology organizations or corporations but with the schools themselves, and there indeed needs to be a plan and a vision in order to make these occur.

So I think it's a blending of components. It can't singularly be funding in and of itself to cause success for our students.

 

Chairman Riggs. Mr. Vickers?

 

Mr. Vickers. Yes. I would concur with Mr. Maynard's comments. I think, most certainly, the Federal government has a key role to play here. And the role that government needs to play is to bring educators and industry together so that they can engage in a constructive dialogue, not talking past each other which has been the problem for many years.

A model that we could look to, I think, where some benefit is would be one which is in Canada. As I mentioned in my statement, the Canadian government focused on this problem some years ago, in 1991, and they have been very successful in getting educators and industry working together.

I think also the other vital role that the Federal government needs to play is to provide seed money for the programs to get them started, and then the government should be able to look to industry and the education body to take over.

 

Ms. Amabile. I think, Congressman Riggs, the information that the subcommittee is going to obtain by conducting these hearings all over the country is going to be critical to share with the education community and those of us who fund and support education initiatives throughout the country.

I would agree with what Mr. Vickers just said. The convening role that government can play is very important, to bring the right people to the table, to say this is what we've learned, this is how the private sector has moved the mark in technology and education. This is where we see it needs to go. And to really engage the business community in a very sincere and dynamic discussion of, yes, millions and millions of dollars being spent by the Federal government and the private sector. We've been able to come this far, but until broad community partnerships are established with the help of the Federal government, as you have been doing seeding projects like the L.A. County Office of Education, having government's participation in those initiatives is very important.

I think, as we go forward, that the Federal government's role in outlining a plan for the next century, what do we need to do, how do we get there, and how can business and government work together to make sure that we do have the workforce that we need for tomorrow, would be a good way to go.

 

Chairman Riggs. Thank you. Mr. Jacobs.

 

Mr. Jacobs. Ditto, everybody else. Basically, I agree that I see the role of the Federal government as a seed program and that it's like the UCSD charter high school. Model high schools they're calling them now. And somebody has got to provide the funding in order to work on these different areas and bring them up. Then it's industry that kicks in, and as the partnership moves forward, these things build and build and build upon each other. But the Federal government has that role of being the seed and also of convening everybody so these partnerships can work together.

 

Chairman Riggs. I said it was my last question, but one quick follow-up on that. That is, in your testimony you said technology tends to migrate to those schools that can develop the best relationships with donor companies.

Obviously, you all represent donor companies, and Mr. Vickers represents one of your major industry trade organizations. How do we address that problem?

 

Mr. Maynard. Well, I think that's what's happening right now. We're trying to-while we will give out grants to individual schools, we try to stay a little bit away from that and work with the districts themselves. So that the changes that we make or we help make are global and that they work for all the schools and all the students in whatever school district we're in.

 

Chairman Riggs. Thank you all. Congressman Martinez.

 

Mr. Martinez. Thank you, Chairman Riggs. Let me follow up on what Chairman Riggs was talking about, the government's role.

You know, government, the Federal government-Since almost all education is run by the states down to the local districts. Here in L.A. County the Los Angeles Board of Education is more or less an overseer of all the educational agencies in the county. You spend, the Chairman referred to the $800 million-well, a little more than $800 million was spent by the Federal government.

I look at that as an investment, as you have said, in the future of our country. We cannot be competitive on a national basis, on an international basis without having young people that are capable of competing.

I'd like to illustrate that the $800 million-Do any of you know, in that time, in that one year that the Federal government has contributed $800 million, how much private industry has contributed?

 

Mr. Vickers. It would certainly be in the millions.

 

Mr. Martinez. In the millions?

 

Mr. Vickers. Yes, it would. We have done some research on that.

 

Mr. Jacobs. I've been looking across all of the companies trying to put together grant programs for QUALCOMM. And I think you would be amazed at how many private companies are actually out there putting a substantial number of dollars into the system to make sure that they have employees-students that are educated enough to become employees.

 

Mr. Martinez. Yes. I'm pretty much aware of that. The reason I bring it up is to make other people aware.

What the Federal government does-and one of you referred to seed money-is really provide seed money. In almost every program we run from a national level or we contribute to from a national level, it's just seed money. That small amount of money is leveraged many times over by the local areas or people that are engaging in a private/public partnership.

Years ago when I was Chairman of the Economic Opportunities Committee, I held a hearing in Lowell, Massachusetts, where there was one panel, five members of that panel, all were Fortune 500 companies.

It was just at the beginning-It's way back to 1984, I believe. It was just the beginning of the what you might call renaissance of corporations realizing and recognizing their responsibility in the education of our young people.

Almost everyone of those CEOs said the same thing. It amounted to the same thing. We feel it is our responsibility to make sure that young people are trained and educated with the skills that we need for our industries, but we do not want to become the sole responsibility. This should be an endeavor by both the government and private industry.

Private industry should not all of a sudden find themselves holding the whole responsibility in their hands. They were very even at that time. The Federal government wasn't coming forward with what either of you suggested. And I'll show you how I got around the problem that the Chairman had, Alida. How the Federal government has never really understood that their contribution can only be one of, as you said, bringing people together so that they are not talking at different levels or talking across each other, but they come together and understand what each needs.

At that hearing, they said the same thing. It's been a long time in coming, but it's now beginning to have fulfillment. We see more and more government agencies like HUD in Alhambra where HUD and a private entrepreneur provided funds to the local government, the local city. The city of Alhambra provided funds, all these three coming together in partnership that established that new project there that's unifying the community, gives the economy there a resurgence, and creates jobs and everything we're talking about.

Having said that, let me ask you: Getting back to the idea of immigration, in this country today there are an awful lot of people sitting in the Congress who resent the inclusion of any foreign person. Our immigration laws recently have reflected that. Our more recent welfare reform bill, which took away the basic rights of legal citizens of this country even though they have to wait five years to be entitled to any Federal programs, they just took it away without waiting five years in planning toward that.

I say that to give you the attitude of some of the people, and the idea of bringing in foreign workers to fill positions that we ought to be paying our people for is repugnant to some people in Congress.

The fact is we don't realize a lot of these young people come in on student visas to learn here, with their countries fully expecting them to come back and benefit their own country. And 66 percent-Was your program reflecting that there were 66 percent of those foreign hires were trained in our universities?

 

Mr. Jacobs. Well, we hired 66. Our engineering hires from the University were foreign nationals. Engineering hires from universities last year, 66 percent of our engineering hires from the University last year were foreign nationals, and most of those came from American universities because we do, of course, recruit overseas as well.

 

Mr. Martinez. But domestically 66 percent. So you're going to have a problem there. Not that I disagree with you, we've got to do something in that area. Because there's something greater at risk here, and that's industry failing and being unable to be competitive internationally, and somehow we have to do that in a way that we can, over the years, normalize that so that our people have the same opportunities as anybody else.

Would you like to comment on that?

 

Mr. Maynard. Well, I think that, you know, in industry we tend to try and look, if have a problem, at a short term solution and long term solutions. We have this short term shortage we need to fill now to stay competitive. So we go and find the engineers and technicians and so on where we can.

Long term, as I think we've all said, is becoming involved in the education system and bringing it up to par and bringing the students along and making sure that they are trained correctly.

 

Mr. Martinez. Let me ask you now, in your hiring, because the Chairman, and I think rightfully so, was wondering about certification: What is the practice now? How do you make sure that the people you hire have the qualifications you need?

There's no certification right now, is there?

 

Mr. Jacobs. Well, there's a B.S. from a university which surpasses a certificate, but again a technical hire at QUALCOMM probably goes through eight interviews the first day, and every time is asked a different question to test the basic skill and knowledge level that they have.

 

Mr. Martinez. Well, I guess what I'm asking now is you're able to hire the people with the qualifications that you need now without certification, the only qualification being a B.S.?

 

Mr. Jacobs. Well, I think the certification that Mr. Maynard is talking about is from a high school level, not the college level. So we're looking for the people not at the engineering skill level but at the technician level.

 

Mr. Martinez. So you're saying that you would be able to train people right out of high school for these $37-$40,000 jobs?

 

Mr. Maynard. That's absolutely the intent. An example, Congressman Martinez, might be the students from Thurgood Marshall that we referenced from last summer. There were students there that went out as interns that summer with a partial level of knowledge from the curriculum, and they secured jobs that ranged in value from $10 to $20 an hour, still as a high school student.

So although, yes, still no certification, the relevant skills developed through the curriculum demonstrated their abilities to be perhaps a bit more prepared to provide technical skills in support of customers' networks.

So I think I echo Gary's thoughts. We do look at certification today at an industry level. There are hundreds literally, but as you take a look at them from a high school level or even from a college level, typically, unfortunately, we rely upon the relevance of a degree, undergrad or graduate degree, in how somebody can apply their knowledge and skills to technology.

 

Mr. Martinez. Well, one of the concerns that was demonstrated by almost of all of you was that the people who are hired have problem solving skills. I have hired a lot of people with not only B.A.s, but Master's that haven't had problem solving skills.

There's no guaranty, because a person has got a degree, that they're going to have problem solving skills. The Chairman raised the question that people are concerned about businesses directing curriculum and telling people how to run the schools. But one of the things that-Let me tell you about-I don't know if you're familiar with a school close by, Tom Boswell, which has four hours of academic studies and four hours of electronics, computers, whatever it is.

Many of these young people are graduating from high school able to go out and get a job. But one of the things they do in their senior year is actually go to work in an industry that they're interested in a career in. And come back to school with the knowledge they've gained there and instruction on what they should be doing and learning back in the classroom.

So in a way, they are directing the curriculum there, because how would you get people trained in the particular skills you need if you didn't have some input there?

 

Mr. Jacobs. You have the problem solving skills there.

 

Mr. Martinez. Well, in terms of problem solving skills and having the qualifications of being hired?

 

Mr. Jacobs. Well, I think-I know QUALCOMM, at least, has a very large in-house education system. When an employee comes in and has indicated an aptitude, and we go out and train them for whatever their particular job is.

 

Mr. Martinez. So you train them after you employ them. So that you wouldn't necessarily-Well, let me ask you this, because there are some industries that believe that if the people were receiving the right kind of training and education in the educational part of their career, they would be more ready-or how would you say it? -work-ready to go on the job. It ends up with you making investments you're contributing the dollars and contributing to these education systems. Then shouldn't you have some return rather than having to go and train them completely again for your particular needs?

 

Mr. Jacobs. We're actually looking forward to the high tech high school, to be able to start at a younger age, start earlier in the education system, and follow them and make sure that they're getting the correct skills so that, when they come out of high school, they either have the desire and the aptitude to go on to college for an engineering degree or they have the desire to come to work in industry in a technical position.

 

Mr. Martinez. So then it goes back, and the question is: do you need to have some input into what they're learning? So we have to be strong enough to understand that you're not going to be directing all curriculum, but you go into schools and say these are the skills you should be training for?

 

Mr. Jacobs. Well, I don't think it's our role to go in there and actually develop the curriculum. I think it's our role, sort of a-You know, I'm President of a local JCC, and as a board my role is to try and set policy and leave it up to the skilled professionals to take that policy and then implement it.

So I think our role then is to say, look, here's the skill sets we need. This is what we're looking for, and let the people who are in the education community go and do their job, which is to develop the curriculum, and then we'll monitor it and make sure that we're getting-

 

Mr. Martinez. Now that's a good way of putting it, and the reason I bring it up is because in someplace in the day it's going to be brought up by people who say, well, business is getting into developing the curriculum. They are not. You're just establishing the standards that you need, and let them develop how they achieve it.

 

Mr. Jacobs. And we'd have to hire more people to develop the curriculum. So it's a cycle.

 

Mr. Martinez. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

 

Chairman Riggs. Thank you, Congressman Martinez. Congressman Scott.

 

Mr. Scott. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

There's one thing that's been troubling me. We heard, I guess, Mr. Vickers mention that the number of computer science degrees has actually gone down. Is that because they're obsolete, and you ought to get an engineering degree or we're just missing our priorities?

 

Mr. Vickers. I think that the simple answer is, Congressman, that we have simply not been attracting enough young people to pursue careers in information technology. Part of the answer is the need for the industry to do some work to improve its image with young people.

I commented in my statement about the problem, the perception of a career in IT as being sort of a nerdy thing. That's a problem that the industry has to overcome.

 

Mr. Scott. Well, how hard are these things? I mean, can the average student, if they applied themselves, could they get these degrees or the skills that they need, the high SAT score or aptitude, to be able to do it? Is this-

 

Mr. Vickers. Actually, it develops. I mean, there are aspects of IT and IT careers which do require advanced degrees, but the vast majority of IT careers do not require advanced degrees. In fact, I think Mr. Maynard made an excellent point earlier, and many occupations in IT perhaps don't need a degree at all, and we in part should be thinking educational paradigm.

 

Mr. Scott. Well, let me ask. Can average students get these kinds of jobs or do you need to be an excellent student in math?

 

Mr. Jacobs. No, I think you have to have the right, (a) you have to have a desire to do want to do it. I think you have to have the right basic training in math. I mean our entire subway line is computerized.

So you need to have-You have to understand at least the concept. You may not know what's going on to be able to work on there. You don't need an advanced degree from UCSD or wherever, but you need to have some basic skills to know what's going on and basically not be afraid of it.

 

Mr. Vickers. I think the other point-

 

Mr. Scott. Well, one thing. Is this something we could be aiming at average students?

 

Mr. Jacobs. Absolutely.

 

Mr. Scott. You mentioned about the interview process and the problem solving and generic skills. In the job training work we've been doing in Virginia, some of the, I guess, high tech industries, shipbuilding, for example, says that, when they hire, they would much rather hire a well educated but totally untrained individual rather than a very well trained but uneducated individual, because they can learn. They have the basic fundamental educational background. They can learn the specific skills needed.

Is that the same in high tech?

 

Mr. Jacobs. Well, I would say that I would take somebody who has problem solving abilities and be able to train them to do whatever job I needed them to do. Because we look to hire the best person, and we'll go find the correct slot for them in the company if they will fit in.

I could think of myself-When I call myself an expert, it's not because I've got everything memorized. It's because I know where to go look for it. So in a sense, you're using the skill of being able to use the Internet or, you know, whatever, to go out and do that information and find the information you need to solve the problem.

 

Mr. Scott. What is it about foreign nationals that gets them into this path that American students don't have? Is that back to the fact that they just don't go into these jobs?

 

Mr. Jacobs. Well, it's not the jobs. Right now it's the college. I mean, San Diego State has 400 openings in their school of engineering. So I think it's our job to increase the visibility-

 

Mr. Scott. And what qualifications do you need to get into a school of engineering?

 

Mr. Jacobs. I think it's, you know, your elected choice when you come in at San Diego State.

 

Mr. Scott. You don't need particularly high SAT scores or have already had calculus and advanced mathematics in high school to be able to get in?

 

Mr. Jacobs. Well, the California State University system has a certain entrance level that they're looking for. So I think once you get into that level, then you can choose to go into the school of engineering, and there are certain, you know, standard lower division course you'll need to take, which will include calculus and so on, and then you move into more the engineering classes.

 

Mr. Scott. Just one other question. The AT&T grants, you said you've covered half the country. How would you determine whether or not the schools in my particular Congressional district are taking advantage of the AT&T grants?

 

Ms. Amabile. Well, we could do that-

 

Chairman Riggs. By the way, all politics are local.

 

Ms. Amabile. Certainly, we have a record of all AT&T Learning Network grants that have been made around the country. So we could get a printout of those that have been made by state, by city, and know that that one aspect of the Learning Network program was taken advantage of by the citizens of your district.

The Learning Network grants program is just one aspect of it. We would be able to tell you, which schools are accessing AT&T OnLine free support services, because they have to sign up.

So, say, a school wants to enroll so that they can get the tutorial program on the Internet or the, you know, Web surfing, whatever their tutorial needs are for their teachers. There is an 800 number or you can enroll via the Web site, and a school initially will receive-I checked today on it. It was five months of free Internet service.

So if you wanted to know which schools have signed up for the AT&T Learning Network program, we would be able to get you the data on that as well.

 

Mr. Scott. Does the whole school system sign up or individual schools?

 

Ms. Amabile. Traditionally, it's individual schools, but I think in some parts of the country there are probably arrangements where the district signs up.

 

Mr. Scott. Let me ask you one kind of local question. Do we-Have we seen communities where there was a good integration between high school, community college, college and business where we're actually giving a good pipeline of high technology students? Do we have any examples of where this is being done and whether business has input into the curriculum so when they get out of that pipeline, the business is looking for high tech industries in that community are looking for employees?

 

Ms. Amabile. One thing, as I was listening to my colleagues talk about these needs. I think it's important to remember that learning is a lifelong process. We may have a degree or we may have certification. But when we go to work at whatever company, you know, we go to work every day, that corporation has programs to offer so that the person can be a better salesperson, so that that person can be a better marketeer, so that that person can be a better philanthropist.

So depending on the corporate education program, it can be anything from technical influence to values to appreciating cultural diversity training that we give to our employees, since we are working in a global economy.

So I think it's-Students may come with basic skills. But it's not only up to the company, it's also up to that individual, to that student or to that worker's family or support network to enroll in continuing education courses outside of the company. Whether they be degree or non-degree. And for all of us to encourage, you know, raising the mark and not being comfortable with what we already know, but really pursuing knowledge and how it can help us learn and grow in the future.

 

Mr. Jacobs. Specifically, in San Diego at Kearney High School where in that school district or in that area for that school the average income for a family of four is under $15,000, what they've done is put together a program at North Highland Naval Air Station. And it's civilian contractors out there to actually do this. They will work with the students in school or right out of high school and guaranty them a job there, if they've demonstrated the skill set that they're looking for. Or a lot of them go through the J.C., junior college system and help them voluntarily there, and then again guaranty them a job when they're done, if they demonstrate the skill set that the contractors there are looking for.

So I think there are-and I'm sure that's just one of many areas where the private industry has stepped in there and actually helped work with the school system or school or group of individuals to help to have a successful program.

 

Mr. Scott. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

 

Chairman Riggs. Thank you, Congressman Scott. Personally, I can think of at least a couple of schools. I haven't been there, but I know, based on Congressman Martinez's comments, that such a school would be John Boscoe. We're going to hear momentarily from teachers and students here at Mark Keppel and about the L.A. Unified partnership, and a person at Thomas Jefferson High School back in Virginia where we visited last year, part of the Fairfax County Public School System with a renowned reputation.

I want to use the Chairman's prerogative to ask two other quick questions that occurred to me. One is: We, in fact, I think when we were at Thomas Jefferson, we heard testimony that suggested that a 13th and 14th year of education was necessary, necessary to become a technologically capable worker.

So anybody that would like to comment on that, that would be the first one. The second one-to segue to that-is: I remember also during the hearings on the reauthorization of Carl Perkins vocational education and technical training legislation that we heard from someone who suggested that the hierarchy remains what he called ASK, attitude, skills, knowledge, in that order in terms of the kind of prospective employees or workers that businesses were looking for.

The second part of this is, you got the first part, the 13th and 14th years, is: What is the greater problem facing us today as elected policy makers? Is it infrastructure, because a debate wages back in Washington on school renovation and construction, and it's not going to go away, and it's going to continue, particularly with the President's focus there.

So is it infrastructure, renovation, construction, wiring, hardware, software, or is it, on the other hand, teacher training and our standards and curriculum in schools? I'd like to get very brief responses from all four of you on that particular issue, because we've also heard as we've done our hearings that many times the technology far outpaces the acceptances and the use and that a lot of the problem just boils back down to low standards and unprepared, untrained teachers.

That is not meant to demean the teaching profession, because I consider it the highest possible calling. So let's just go straight down, either one or both, quick responses, please: Are 13th and 14th years necessary; secondly, what's the greater problem, infrastructure or training and standards? Mr. Maynard?

 

Mr. Maynard. Mr. Chairman, relative to the 13th and 14th level of education, I think, as demonstrated even by the academies today, there's a stratification of skill sets required in the marketplace to apply technology.

So I would suggest that, no, it's not necessary to have the two additional years. However, with those two additional years and the proper training, the level of career that could be secured should indeed be higher, but I don't think that there's a milestone set at grade 14 that determines a skilled technology worker. I think we have the ability to help them at any level.

Relative to the issues of infrastructure or training, I'm not sure that I could speak to that well. It's, I think, ultimately the schools or the districts who need to set those priorities themselves.

Back to some of our earlier comments, I think the real issue is the impact of technology within industry today. I think it becomes a balance of those two issues. Is the restoration or improvement of the infrastructure going to impact the ability to develop curriculum, to improve technology skills?

If it is, I think it requires both; but I do believe that, if we aren't able to enhance the skill sets from the technological perspective of our students, we will be at a deficit relative to how we can apply that to private industry as well as public industry going forward.

If I could make one final thought on that, we had talked earlier about the impact of private industry in the curriculum and in the schools. I suggest that we're a stimulus. I think we're trying to change the perception of our industry on the value of a technology career, and I think our ability to help develop curriculum or guide students, ultimately those with the affinity for it will lean towards it, and that's where you see some of the enthusiasm and excitement come from the kids that now see that they have a future.

So I'd not suggest we're imposing upon them, but merely trying to create stimulus and create the potential of a vocational future for students that today maybe don't see that.

 

Chairman Riggs. Maybe you ought to consider advertising on MTV. Mr. Vickers?

 

Mr. Vickers. It's a great suggestion to make.

To address your two questions specifically, first of all, the 13th and 14th year: No, I don't think that is required for the majority of IT positions. We have to bear in mind that a large number of the IT positions aren't in IT companies doing highly specialized work. They are in banks, insurance companies, manufacturers, the whole economy, and it's all to do with the application of the technology rather than the development of new high technology.

The vast majority of IT jobs aren't really for 13th and 14th year of education, and other countries - for example, India and Canada - have approved that. It's more about the quality of the educational experience, the nature of the curricula, and the teacher training and the focus, and so on.

Possibly, we should look at the length of the school year. I know there's an increasing debate about the number of days that we have in our school year, and the number of days that many other countries have in their school, which is rather greater.

 

Chairman Riggs. Do you want me to take a quick poll of the students?

 

Mr. Vickers. The second question, whether the focus should be on training or infrastructure: I think the answer is the focus has to be on both. However, one comment that I would like to make is that I think that it's very easy to put the emphasis on infrastructure to a greater extent than is necessary or perhaps to say that it's certainly correct to give training sufficient emphasis.

I can speak from a personal experience of having been enrolled in a high school and helping them to develop the technology program, and I find it very difficult to get the message across that there needs to be sufficient attention paid to training teachers how to use technology. Everybody was very focused on which computer, which software and so on. So we need some balance on that.

 

Chairman Riggs. Thank you. Let me ask you, just without naming names, was that a California public high school?

 

Mr. Vickers. Yes, it is.

 

Ms. Amabile. Mr. Chairman, I'd like to focus on your question regarding what do we need to place the emphasis on. I think we've heard that debate going on for years now. Is it more important to, you know, emphasize the structure or teacher training.

I think if you look at the model that the Los Angeles County Office of Education has implemented here and many of us have talked about, helping communities develop technology grants, you're going to find that communities are at various levels of their awareness of what they need, what they have, and how they can use it effectively.

So you may find some schools that have advanced, and they've got the infrastructure, they've got the computers, and the emphasis there needs to be on professional development of the teachers and training students.

Other schools may not have that infrastructure. They don't have those computers. So they have different needs. So I think, to start out with, you really need to take a look at this as a grassroots effort and pulling people together in the educational community to say what do we have, what is available, what are our needs, and how can we work together with the public and private sector to fulfill those needs?

It's really building a learning community, and if people are engaged from the very beginning in that conversation and not walking into a school and seeing people wiring, you know, their school - well, what's going on here, you know--you feel outside of it and not a part of it; but if you can as an individual be a part of that process and know how you fit in and be able to say what your needs and concerns are and how you would take advantage of this technology, you're going to be really excited and willing to participate.

So I think it's a multi-level approach, but it really depends on where individual communities are, and our ability, as the L.A. County Office of Education has done, to build community partnerships around that conversation to help implement whatever programs need to be developed.

 

Chairman Riggs. Great. Mr. Jacobs?

 

Mr. Jacobs. Well, I don't think you can have--for that second part, I don't think you can look at it as an either/or proposition. I think there's many cases where things like Net Day, where volunteers have gone out and wired schools, they go back to the school, and it's not being used. Nobody has a clue what's going on.

So you definitely need the teacher training. On the other hand, you could put all your dollars into teacher training and, if they can't go back and use what they've just learned in a couple of weeks, they're going to forget what they've just learned and go on back to doing what they've done before.

So I think it very much has to be a partnership of those two working together.

For the 13th and 14th year, I think that if we can work on the curriculum and on the skill sets that the children are learning--students are learning--I don't think it's necessary that we have a mandated 13th and 14th year.

We certainly have some of that in terms of the junior college program where you go for a two-year AA degree. So if you feel you want to increase your skill sets, you go back out and get that two-year degree versus a four-year degree; because we certainly have jobs available for all education ranges and all skill ranges.

 

Chairman Riggs. Thank you very much. You've been excellent witnesses, and we really appreciate your testimony and also what you're doing personally and your companies are doing, for the schools that you're working with. So thank you again for being here. You're excused.

We'll call forward our second panel of witnesses, focusing on reform networks at the local level. We're very excited, actually, to hear what's going on right here at Mark Keppel High School and to hear about the Los Angeles County Office of Education project.

We will also be hearing from individuals in the school system who are part of the technology reform effort.

As our witnesses settle in, we have Mr. Jim Lanich who is the Executive Director of Technology for Learning at the Los Angeles County Office of Education. The Technology for Learning initiative is a collaborative effort designed to ensure that children are technologically literate.

The initiative is approximately two years old, and Mr. Lanich will tell us about the success that the project or the initiative has had to date, and how it is positively affecting the students who participate. He is accompanied by Mr. Jim Davis, the coordinator of the program at the local level. Is Mr. Davis in the audience? There he is. Thank you for being here, sir.

As Congressman Martinez mentioned earlier, Ms. Chan could not be present due to an illness, but we do have here Mr. Alastair Aitken, who is a teacher here at Mark Keppel High School.

 

Mr. Aitken is in charge of the Networking Academy and has been working with the Technology for Learning initiative since its inception. He will tell us about what it takes for students to be prepared for the brave new world of the 21st Century, the technologically advanced 21st Century.

He is accompanied by two of his students today, who will speak to us about their experiences and their perceptions about the Technology for Learning program here at Mark Keppel High School, and what they believe is necessary for the future.

Those two students are Sammy Tang and Mark Yeung, both seniors here at Mark Keppel High School, and I'm glad - I appreciate your patience in waiting through the first panel. I hope you found it of some interest, and we look forward to your testimony as well.

So why don't we lead off with you, Mr. Lanich, and thanks again for being here.

 

STATEMENT OF JAMES LANICH, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, TECHNOLOGY FOR LEARNING LOS ANGELES COUNTY OFFICE OF EDUCATION, DOWNEY, CALIFORNIA

 

Mr. Lanich. You're welcome. Chairman Riggs, Congressman Martinez, and Congressman Scott, I am Jim Lanich, Director of Technology For Learning at the Los Angeles County Office of Education.

Technology For Learning is an ambitious private/public sector collaborative effort designed to ensure that all children in our county are technologically literate, and can participate as citizens in the information age.

I am pleased to have the opportunity to testify before you today.

The 81 school districts in Los Angeles County serve 1.5 million students or one-third of all students in the state of California. This includes the Los Angeles Unified School District. There are more children in Los Angeles County than in 44 states.

The Technology For Learning Initiative began two years ago when the newly appointed County Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Donald Ingwerson, took the helm and quickly realized that we ranked in the bottom percentiles of the nation in technology availability in the schools.

If we were a state, we'd have ranked in 50th place. Over the past two and a half years, we have reversed this trend. Over 15,000 teachers have received training to appropriately integrate technology into the daily curriculum; 5,000 parents have been educated on the role that technology plays in the classroom; and we have brought connectivity from two percent of our schools to over 50 percent of our school sites and from one percent of our classrooms to 15 percent of our classrooms.

We have partnered with NCREL, the Northcentral Regional Education Laboratory, and the Federal OEIR lab, to develop five community of excellence in reading, social studies, math, science and the arts, and we are measuring the impact of technology on student achievement. We have exceeded state averages in all areas and now are actually competing for national ranking.

This has not been an easy process, and we have had to confront very difficult questions. How do you fix this problem countywide and become a leading force in advancing classroom technology for all children? What steps do you take, and in what order? How do you pool limited resources to get the job done?

During the course of the first year, the strategy was as follows:

Step one: Rally the community together. With the support of the L.A. Times and the times Mirror Foundation, the County Board of Supervisors, and Mayor Richard Riordan, we rallied business, education, and the parents in a call to arms summit. One thousand participants gathered at Dorothy Chandler Pavilion downtown to discuss this issue.

Here the good, the bad, and the ugly were exposed as to how this happened and where we needed to go. The community quickly came to consensus that we had a problem, and it needed fixing. The superintendent committed to the community that we were going to turn this situation around over the next five years, and then promised to report results back on an annual basis.

Step Two: Setting the goals. Through a series of strategic planning sessions involving all 81 districts, leading businesses and community based organizations, PTAs and Migrant Ed. Councils, we arrived at the following four goals designed to move the schools of Los Angeles County into the information age.

Goal number one, training: Training all 60,000 teachers in L.A. County in the effective use of instructional technology and its useful integration in specific curriculum areas, and bolster parental support of technology by training 30,000 parent technology advocates in the local schools.

Goal two, hardware: Facilitate hardware procurement to reach a 4:1 student per computer ratio, as outlined in the California State Technology Guide.

Goal three, connectivity: Connect all 50,000 classrooms in Los Angeles County to the information superhighway.

Goal four, evaluation: Measure the impact of technology on student achievement, employability, and student motivation.

With these clear goals and a five-year timeline, we were ready to begin step three, regionalization of effort.

We needed to work smart. These goals could not be met through centralized services at the county level. Our role needed to change from a direct service provider to one of linking school leaders and teachers.

We needed to help school leadership attain the collective goals. We needed to organize 81 school districts and 27 LAUSD clusters differently, and with the help from the California Technology Assistance project, this translated into a regional approach that pooled people, resources, and funding countywide into 15 technology consortia serving all the schools.

These 15 groups are each composed of business, education and parent/community representatives who are implementing specific plans on how to scale up these goals in a manner that best serves their community needs, each with a specific plan on how they will meet the goals.

Step four: Actively participate with the business community: The unified involvement of the business community is critical to the success of this effort. We can't attain our goals without their help. There's not enough public sector dollars available.

We have found businesses quite willing to invest in this initiative, because we've delivered results. Business is willing to invest in excellence. It's our job to see that they receive a return on their investment, not necessarily in profits, but to delivering an educated and skilled worker and students who can contribute as productive citizens of the information age.

We have been successful at developing and implementing many public/private sector partnerships. We've facilitated the delivery of private sector contributions to the regional level. Among these are included over $21 million of investment by business over the last two years into this initiative.

Some examples of this investment is, number one, Cisco partnership. Just a few weeks ago we launched the opening of 15 regional TFL/Cisco Network Management Academies, discussed here earlier.

Using a trainer model, each teacher trains ten students for a total of 1500 students per year becoming certified network managers. Not only will they maintain the infrastructure we're creating in the schools, but they can enter the workforce upon graduation at an average starting salary of $35,000. Clearly, this is better than flipping burgers.

An example of one of the Cisco network academies is here at Mark Keppel High School.

Number two, our AT&T partnership. We have successfully opened 20 of the proposed 25 TFL/AT&T Technology Training Centers. These are equitably distributed throughout the 15 regions of Los Angeles County and serve as the location where 60,000 teachers and 30,000 parents are receiving their training.

Emory Park Elementary School in Alhambra is an example of one of our AT&T Technology Centers.

CUC, Davidson & Associates, Microsoft partnership: This partnership has brought software to the teachers who successfully complete their regional training. We have assured them their contributions will not sit idle on a shelf in a classroom. Each teacher and parent trained receives their choice of software for their classroom and school.

Four, the Riordan Foundation: We have joined forces with the Mayor and his foundation which has led the efforts for many years throughout Los Angeles and the nation to improve reading skills through the effective integration of technology in the classroom.

Five, Apple Computer: They have been a strong partner since the beginning of our efforts, and they have provided staff, resources and equipment through the 15 regions to assist in reaching our goals. They have served as a valuable extension of our staff, since the goals of Apple and corporate philosophy are in such close alignment with that of Technology For Learning.

These are just a few examples of the several dozen partnerships. Others include Times Mirror Foundation, Getty Education Institute for the Arts, Jet Propulsion Laboratory/NASA, and IBM.

The point I need to stress is they all require an organizing mechanism for them to participate in any systemic scale-up. The established TFL troika of leadership involving business, education, and community, along with a regional organizing structure fashioned after common goals, allows us, the largest regional education agency in the United States, to become linkers of resources directly to our clients in a highly planned and strategic fashion.

The final step, defining the role of the Federal government: Federal encouragement and support to help foster public/private partnerships is essential to successfully advance technology in the classroom. Our countywide efforts were jump started with a $350,000 Department of Commerce planning grant in 1995.

This small investment enabled us to maximize resources by leveraging funding from the business community. This involvement by the Department of Commerce clearly illustrates how the Federal government serves as a catalyst to encourage innovation and provide incentives to the various parties.

Further, Federal support through the universal service funds will greatly help schools acquire the infrastructure needed to integrate technology in the classroom.

What we did in taking a regional approach to address the issues of putting technology in the schools in Los Angeles County needs to be replicated at the Federal level. The Federal agencies must speak with one consistent voice when talking of technology in the classroom.

In summary, based upon what we have learned, let me share with you some legislative ideas this committee can consider to further support public/private sector partnerships which would advance technology in the classroom.

One, it should foster multi-school district consortia--that's neighborhood school district with neighborhood school district--involving schools working with the business community.

Two, resource sharing is essential so that each partner contributes and invests.

Three, these partnerships should focus clearly on improving reading, mathematics, and science at the basic and advanced levels and clearly link to career development opportunities.

That's how we ensure that these partnerships achieve measurable educational results for our students.

Thank you for listening to this testimony today. I would be happy to answer any questions you may have.

 

Chairman Riggs. Thank you, Dr. Lanich. Thank you for your testimony, and we do look forward to having a dialogue in just a moment.

SEE APPENDIX F FOR STATEMENT OF MR. LANICH

Chairman Riggs. Mr. Aitken, thank you for being here and taking the time away, I guess, from your other professional duties and responsibilities today. Please proceed with your testimony.

 

STATEMENT OF ALASTAIR AITKEN, TEACHER, MARK KEPPEL HIGH SCHOOL, ALHAMBRA, CALIFORNIA

 

Mr. Aitken. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, Congressman Martinez, and Congressman Scott. After recently completing a thesis on the impact of technology on academic performance, I believe I can speak to this issue well.

I believe that preparing students to enter the technological workforce can be compared to constructing a building. The building must have a good foundation. The structure must be sound, and finally, the facade must be attractive and functional.

The foundation is the student's ability to critically think and reason logically. The structure is the basic skills the student needs to perform all jobs. Finally, there is the facade. This is advanced knowledge and abilities.

For the student who is entering the technological workforce or any other one, for that matter, these are the indispensable requirements. Students need to be given the thinking skills, taught the advanced knowledge and practices, and be challenged to excel by teachers who care enough to help them succeed.

I believe that the second part of this key to success is staff development. In order to produce students who will succeed in the 21st Century, we need teachers who can prepare them. American teachers need to be familiar with, dare I say use frequently, that which they seek to instill in their students.

We must provide for ongoing staff development of educators in this country. This must be driven by and designed to meet the needs of staff and students at the local schools.

The staff development needs to be well designed, in line with good practice, and reflective of present, well designed research studies.

As educators, I believe it is our responsibility to students to help them think critically and reasonably. It is our responsibility to teach them to carefully consider what they read, hear and observe, and be able to come to well reasoned conclusions and responses based on truths. It is not our job to train students to do a job, but to think in such a way as to allow them to do almost any job.

Thank you.

SEE APPENDIX G FOR STATEMENT OF MR. AITKEN

Chairman Riggs. Thank you, and let me just ask you to augment briefly your--because I think it's a good segue to the two students--your testimony by telling us what the Cisco Academy is.

What does that involve right here at Mark Keppel High School? How many hours of your day do you devote to it? How many hours a day do the students, young people, participate?

 

Mr. Aitken. The training that I received finished in the middle of January. Our second semester began the beginning of February. There was no way to turn around in two weeks' time and begin something.

As you understand with processes, the district must have approved the class in order for it to be taught. We needed to have an opportunity for students to be able to realize there was a class that was an option to take, and that was something that we couldn't do in two weeks.

So what we are hoping to do is begin something in the next school year, probably that would begin at the beginning of September. As far as the amount of time out of my job that we take, what we're hoping to do is that we'll get somebody that I can train that will do that, and I will be a support person for them.

So that will probably take somewhere around a period out of my day. We're hoping to start in a reasonable way, instead of just starting--starting basic and making it so that it's something we can support, keep going, and do right.

If we can get a group of 15-20 students to start out with, that would be fantastic. We would be very, very pleased. Because it is a four-semester curriculum, we need to start with students who are, at the most, sophomores in high school. Otherwise, they will never be able to finish the program.

It would be fantastic to start with sophomores, because when they're done, it would be the end of their junior year. We would have them as seniors to help us manage the network here at this school, at the other schools in the district, and especially at our elementary schools; because there they have nobody, really, to help them other than one person at the district office who manages the whole network for 13 K-8 schools, three comprehensive high schools, an adult school, and a continuation school.

So this individual is overtaxed and, if we could start that then, we would have seniors that could help that individual out.

So we haven't started it, but those are our goals.

 

Chairman Riggs. How many of your colleagues and peers took the training with you?

 

Mr. Aitken. I am actually it for our regional consortium, which includes 18 school districts. Congressman Martinez would know the geography a little. It extends from Burbank and La Pinata all the way down into Almonte and goes as far over as Arcadia, I believe. It's a very large geographical area.

What we are going to do this summer is we are going to train people and do ten other academies in our region, hopefully. So that instead of just this one academy here, we can spawn that off and influence many, many more students instead of just one location.

 

Chairman Riggs. Thank you.

 

Chairman Riggs. Sam Tang.

 

STATEMENT OF SAMMY TANG, STUDENT, MARK KEPPEL HIGH SCHOOL, ALHAMBRA, CALIFORNIA

 

 

Mr. Tang. Good evening. My name is Sammy Tang, and I am a senior. I'm in the fourth year here at Mark Keppel High School.

Mark Keppel is a really great learning institution. There's a wide variety of different subjects, anywhere from AP English, Spanish, history, or debate, and then we can also go to the career center to look for different jobs or training. They also provided us with tests asking like what kind of career fit our personality and things like that.

Here in high school, leadership has really shaped my character. I think that, if anything, has prepared me for tomorrow's workforce. I learned how to be an individual on my own, and throughout all my academic courses as well, not only being in leadership, my teachers have put us into groups and put us--you know, set us up with people who we may not want to work with, but that's how it's going to have to be in the real world, and our teachers have taught us that, you know, that we're going to have to do that, where we're going to have to collaborate with others.

However, as far as technology, I don't think that I'm that prepared for it, because we don't have a lot of the facilities; because I'm a senior, and I'm taking typing right now and--I mean, I have three different computers at home, and all I know how to do is type.

I've already started showing how to do E-mail, and I don't think the students realize the importance of learning how to use technical things that are going to affect their jobs later on. I don't think they know that it's that important.

Right now, I just enrolled into typing, and we do have Internet Club and the Web Masters Club, which are open to students, but those students are the ones who are in the know, basically. Those are the students who are a level before the others, who don't really know that tomorrow we are going to need to know about the Internet and computers and the wide variety of technical advantages of tomorrow.

If I knew as a freshman four years ago that students should be so advanced, I would have taken typing. I would have taken ROP, but now I'm enrolled in a class, and in this class, let me tell you, the computers that we have were built in the Seventies, and those keys aren't on the same keys as my MacIntosh at home.

So I have all these computers at home, and it's really hard for students to understand how they're going to apply this one keyboard to another keyboard, because they simply don't understand. But fortunately, I am enrolled in an English class where I have my own computer, and Mark is also enrolled in that class, too, and we were fortunate enough to have more advanced computers, but we don't know how to log onto these Web sites that we hear about and things like that. There are several classrooms with Internet access, and the library is open to the rest of the students.

Like you said earlier, this is to see that these students today are ready for the real world. I think we would be ready for tomorrow's technology, but first the school needs the facility. They need the teachers.

Our classrooms are 36 students per one teacher, and I think it's really, really important that the teachers know what the students want, and basically for the teachers to know their character, the students' character, and for the counselors too, because my counselor has 530 or 550 students per counselor. That's the ratio at this school, and there's no way that a counselor can get to know every single student because of the work overload.

Basically, that concludes what I have to say. As far as a leader and as far as a student and as far as an individual, I am more than prepared for the workforce of tomorrow, but as far as technology, I think we need more of the equipment and more of the facilities here at our school.

 

Chairman Riggs. Thank you, Sammy. May I just ask you quickly, what kind of computer do you have at home?

 

Mr. Tang. I have--I don't even know the name, because I don't even use it.

 

Chairman Riggs. You don't use it?

 

Mr. Tang. I use--it has--I really don't know.

 

Chairman Riggs. It's an older computer?

 

Mr. Tang. Oh, no, we just bought it. We have like three different computers at my house, but the problem is that I've barely started to learn how to type, and that's the problem.

I think people need to know, especially coming into high school, that they need to know how to type, like I went to apply for jobs over the summer, and nobody is going to want to, you know, hire somebody who can type barely 20 words per minute without looking at the keyboard.

 

Chairman Riggs. Do I understand what you're saying? You're sort of doing the low tech typing so that you could do basic computer things like word processing?

 

Mr. Tang. Oh, yeah. Yeah, I think that's the problem. We have to learn how to apply it to, you know, the real world, because I have a lot of my friends who tell me, oh, go look at my Web site. How do I do that, because it's just kind of difficult to apply if you don't really know how.

 

Chairman Riggs. Mark?

STATEMENT OF MARK YEUNG, STUDENT, MARK KEPPEL HIGH SCHOOL, ALHAMBRA, CALIFORNIA

 

Mr. Yeung. Good afternoon. My name is Mark. Let me just highlight some points that Sammy kind of talked about, but let me just elaborate on them.

I'm also a senior at Mark Keppel High School, graduating class of 1998. There's a lot of courses, choices for our school. Our AP courses, which are advanced placement, range from AP Spanish to AP environmental sciences, which was just really added this year.

We also have many clubs on our campuses, ranging from service clubs like Tri-Hi-Y clubs to like what Sammy said, Web Masters, the Internet based clubs, and technology. There are also like scholarship clubs that offer scholarships for more academics and stuff like that.

There's like over 40 different clubs, and every teacher I've had--so we get to know the teachers outside of the classroom through the club as well as inside the classroom working with the teachers.

As far as technology goes, one of our requirements for graduation is that we take ten credits of vocational/industrial courses and five credits of computer literacy. So that's kind of an important choice if I want to graduate.

Let me say an example for technology integrated into the classroom. An example in this class, a teacher, Ms. Sanchez, right there: There's a computer for everybody in the class, one per person. So there's like no excuse for you not to use the computer.

We use the computer for taking notes, taking tests, doing everything, basically. It basically kind of replaces the pencil that we use, you know. You're given the choice to use it, if you want to, you know.

Group work is also emphasized in the classroom. We basically are divided into groups like every single day, or frequently, and Internet access is also available through the classroom as well as in the library and the computer labs that we do have. So that's really nice.

Part of our school is the career center that Sammy talked about. The upper ROP programs which are regional occupational programs that help train job training. Some of the programs that they offer are keyboarding and computer programming, which I--computer keyboarding--I took as part of my sophomore year.

Basically, it's a really great place for technology integrated courses, and I think it has prepared me for the future.

 

Chairman Riggs. Great. Thank you, Mark.

 

Chairman Riggs. Sammy, did you take the same computer keyboarding class that Mark did?

 

Mr. Tang. I'm fulfilling my computer keyboarding credits right now. I just enrolled.

 

Chairman Riggs. Okay. So when you talk about typing, you're talking about the computer keyboarding class that you're taking now?

 

Mr. Tang. Yes.

 

Chairman Riggs. I'm going to defer my questions, since I interjected several as we went along here, and bring up the rear. Congressman Martinez.

 

Mr. Martinez. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Let me try to focus where we are now.

You started this endeavor about two and a half years ago, and you have 15 regional learning centers?

 

Mr. Lanich. We have 15 consortia.

 

Mr. Martinez. Consortia? In any of these, are there classes in progress now?

 

Mr. Lanich. Yes. Yes, there are.

 

Mr. Martinez. But not here at Mark Keppel?

 

Mr. Lanich. You mean, Congressman, the Network Academy? Yes, in three of them.

 

Mr. Martinez. In three?

 

Mr. Lanich. Yes.

 

Mr. Martinez. What is the length of time those students have been in there? The suggestion was that you start them as sophomores?

 

Mr. Lanich. Yes.

 

Mr. Martinez. Did they start as sophomores in those three?

 

Mr. Lanich. It all depends upon how they localized it at the site. Some start as freshmen. One is a completely middle school program.

 

Mr. Martinez. Oh, that's a good sign. You're supposed to make a report annually, aren't you?

 

Mr. Lanich. Correct.

 

Mr. Martinez. Have you had a chance to evaluate those that have been through a year?

 

Mr. Lanich. No, not yet. We formally launched this program in the beginning of January, just after Christmas. So a couple were just raring to go, and they just got their--for whatever reason--got expertise there at the local site. They pooled their local experts and were able to scale up more quickly.

 

Mr. Martinez. Well, do you have any early evaluation of how these young people are being motivated and how they are taking to this and how rapidly they're advancing?

 

Mr. Lanich. It's anecdotal. You're talking teachers. If you go there, you'll see them just showing up. The kids who historically have not shown up for school are showing up for school. Motivation is a whole different thing.

It's an incredibly rigorous curriculum. This certification program is not easy. It's very, very difficult. Even the teachers that are taking it often say they haven't experienced anything quite so rigorous since college.

 

Mr. Martinez. Do you think it's going to get easier?

 

Mr. Lanich. No, I don't think so, but I think that the students are picking it up. They're running with it. It's amazing, their aptitude for this type of thing.

 

Mr. Martinez. It bothered me, asking any of the first panel, can the average student get into this and become successful?

 

Mr. Lanich. Yes.

 

Mr. Martinez. You know, I'm a great believer in these kinds of programs, and I'll tell you why, because in my own personal family I've got a granddaughter who got a computer when she was about seven or eight years old, and she gets into the Internet, and she sends E-mail. She does all kinds of things. She graduated from Mark Keppel about four years ago, and earned herself a full scholarship to Smith College in Massachusetts. I think you're familiar with that school, quite a prominent learning center in Massachusetts. She got a full scholarship there, but I've got to believe there was all that computer thing that she had and all the things she was able to do on it.

That was, more or less, learning from stuff she pulled on the Net itself. There's a lot of instructional material there. I mean, it's amazing what they have.

I think that, even as old as I am, I get on the computer and, of course, I use a similar computer to play games on, but I've been able to get weather reports, three at a time, across the nation, and we're able to go in there and pick up stories. Somebody told us about a story, how we needed a few identifying words, and a story will come up from AP or UPI. It's invaluable. It's actually invaluable.

To me, it isn't that hard to learn, and I think the younger a person starts, the more aptitude they have and the easier it is for them to learn. This could be, I think, in coming years a great step towards filling those vacancies that do exist.

 

Mr. Lanich. You can't be there with the student all the time. We can't, but they can navigate through curriculum on their own. Anything that engages them for more hours per day will increase learning.

One of the model sites is Dorsey High School on the west side of town, and the biggest problems that they're having there is having the students involved in the academies eat. They're not eating lunch. So they're going out to get a lunch and bring it back in to them during lunch, because they don't want to run to the cafeteria for that hour.

One of the students was interviewed by national Fox last week. The report said, I understand that you have scored higher than any other student on the exams so far, and the student said, I don't know anything about that, but if that's what they say, that's what they say.

He said, well, what do you attribute that to, and the student said, well, I don't know, just answering the questions on these pages that they give me. He said, well, that's called a test; and the student just said, well, whatever you want to call it, I just answered the questions, and they made sense to me, I understand it.

He said, well, you're number one in your class; you've been better than your teacher. It was just an amazing thing to sit there and look at.

 

Mr. Martinez. I can understand that. Frank asked the question earlier about whether the money is well spent, the $800 million that we put into this program. While he was gone, I asked a question, how much money has private industry put into this, and it's in the billions.

This is just seed money, money to leverage that money with. In your program here, you alluded to the fact that there was, I think it was a $350,000 grant initially, and how much money would you say that's leveraged?

You know, I'm quite familiar with the Learning Center. I have a relative that works there, and she says it's the most amazing place, and she's been doing this for years, and on the computers.

What would you say the money, the initial grant, has been able to leverage?

 

Mr. Lanich. So far, I would probably say the contributions are just shy of $25 million in two years.

 

Mr. Martinez. Whoa. From $350,000 to that. Would you repeat that?

 

Mr. Lanich. $25 million.

 

Mr. Martinez. $25 million. Amazing.

 

Mr. Lanich. We leveraged all of this with toothpicks, but we need the toothpicks, and we need to know where to put them until we can get boulders. The $350,000 grant is an example of a toothpick. With the appropriate strings attached to it on the Federal level, with maximum flexibility at the local level, we can move those boulders.

 

Mr. Martinez. Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

 

Chairman Riggs. Congressman Scott.

 

Mr. Scott. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. What does the IT curriculum look like?

 

Mr. Aitken. Pardon me?

 

Mr. Scott. What does the curriculum look like?

 

Mr. Aitken. Honestly, it's upstairs, if you'd like to see it after the hearing. It would be a really good example.

 

Mr. Scott. Well, let me follow up on that a little bit, because we've heard students say that getting to the Web site is difficult. E-mail is difficult. Those are the kind of things that are easy to teach.

The qualities that the last panel talked about are the problem solving qualities that are a little more difficult to get across. What do you have in your curriculum?

 

Mr. Lanich. Just for clarification, there's two things that we're dealing with here. One is, for example, the Networking Academies on maintaining, building, growing, supporting, and operating the infrastructure which we're building here. That's happening, clearly. The money is coming, and we're scaling up with regards to connectivity.

That means maintenance and support. That involves school-to-work benefits. It involves an employability focus, but yet at the same time you're still learning science principles, and math principles. You have to read, and you have to navigate throughout the manuals and what-not. So that's one thing.

The other thing is the entire role of technology in education, in K-12 education, and that involves a lot of more encompassing effort with regards to scaling up teacher expertise in using technology as a tool.

That's in a train-the-trainer's model, training 60,000 teachers. That leads to competencies, and we have quickly defined those competencies. We've taken the Education Council for Technology in Learning standards, benchmarks, at the state level and customized them here and kind of fleshed them out more, to four instructional competencies for teachers. That's leadership/technology competencies, mentorship competencies, instructional competencies, and personal competencies.

Our goal is for all 60,000 teachers to have instructional competencies. What does that mean? Bottom line: The technology should be transparent in the instructional program, and it should be used to help students read better, write better, speak better, and think better, and in ways they can't do it without the technology.

If there's another way to do it, a blackboard, overhead projector, film, or projector slide, they should do that. If the technology helps them improve their instructional objectives, their likelihood of reaching their instructional objectives in a more efficient manner, to go deeper, to allow more flexibility, empower the student to become in more control of their own learning yet with very specific attainment of benchmarks and standards, then that's what it needs to do. It needs to be used as a tool.

 

Mr. Scott. Well, we heard a little reference the last time to the fact that different people learn different ways. Are the teachers given the flexibility in their methodology of teaching so that some who can learn easily with the teacher's training up, just delivering a lecture? Others have to have more hands on involvement.

Are the teachers instructed in how to decide who gets what, so that if the student isn't learning, it may be the teacher's fault, not the student's?

 

Mr. Lanich. It's a good question. When we first began, it was a ``build it, and they will come'' model. Our office is in Downey, and prior to two years ago all roads led to Downey.

With regionalization of people, resources, and cash, we now move our people, resources, and cash to the regional levels. So there's 15 groups that we're working with in 15 regions.

We work with them on customizing their training program toward specific competencies. So all that is localized at the local level. It's not here's your training, here's your manual, you come to this laboratory, go through this experience.

The staff at the county level now comes to the regional level and says, where are you, what do you need. They will say, you know, I'm from the county, how can I help you type of environment, yet seem to have much more integrity and legitimacy these days, and we're pooling resources, aligning resources, taking what's happening at the local level and helping them do exactly what you just said, helping them figure out what is it you need.

Do you need object instruction, remedial education? Do you need assistance with more problem solving endeavors? Do you need a school-to-work program, an employability component? Do you need a reading program, science program? What is it that you need? That is then given at the local level.

 

Mr. Martinez. Are you familiar, Dr. Lanich, with a program that the Urban Conservation Corps, both in San Francisco and Oakland, ran to help their participants get their high school diploma?

When I saw this several years ago, some of the people in that program actually dropped out as early as the ninth grade, but through the computer and use of the computer, utilizing the computer with classroom instruction--in other words, there's one teacher for that class of about 30-40 students, and then after the instruction, they break up from that central class and go to a computer, and a computer actually instructs them on what they're supposed to do and how they're supposed to learn those basic things to get their diploma.

Get this. The longest period of time it's taken anyone of those young people, regardless of where they dropped out or what grade they dropped out, to get their high school diploma was nine months. In other words, they were completing four years of work in nine months with the use of that computer. Are you familiar with that?

 

Mr. Lanich. I'm not familiar with that program, Congressman, but I know exactly what you're talking about. There was a time, I believe, several years ago where there seemed to be a downplaying of programmed instruction, which is a little bit what you're talking about, individualized learning systems.

Now with a focus on standards attainment and very specific benchmarks which a student needs to leave, which, hopefully, then leads to some certificate, employability opportunity, college, an SAT score, or whatever it may be, I see a big - how should I say? - resurgence toward very prescriptive models related to the use of the computer.

I think it's got to be all of those things. It has to be a tool to help you reach whatever objective it is, whether it's programmed instruction leaning toward a specific proficiency of competency or it's just as a tool to build a bridge.

 

Mr. Aitken. Congressman Martinez, if I could comment on that just a little bit: After doing hundreds of hours of research for a Master's thesis in this area, the evidence was that technology made no difference on academic performance unless the teacher was teaching in such a way that it became part of the classroom. It wasn't an extra piece.

Apple Computer discovered this back in the mid-eighties when they threw hundreds of thousands of dollars into schools and colleges and universities with no effect until they went in and began training the staff. That was when they discovered that there was a huge improvement.

So, yes, technology does make a difference. The Rand Corporation, with their recent studies in staff development, will show that, but again the key is that, unless you have the staff that can integrate it properly, it is like throwing - well, what shall we say? - throwing apples to swine.

 

Mr. Martinez. Thank you.

 

Mr. Scott. Mr. Lanich, you indicated that some high school students are getting $35,000 jobs right after high school.

 

Mr. Lanich. With a certification, they are eligible for that.

 

Mr. Scott. Are many getting jobs like that?

 

Mr. Lanich. We haven't gone through the whole project yet. There's a deficit, from my understanding, of 170,000 jobs in this country.

 

Mr. Scott. Do you think you can qualify high school students for $35,000 jobs if they go through this curriculum?

 

Mr. Lanich. Sure. Our biggest fear is that we're going to lose the teachers along with them.

 

Mr. Scott. Let me ask the students what their plans are for next year.

 

Mr. Tang. Well, hopefully, I've been accepted to college, and I plan to major in communications and secondary education.

 

Mr. Yeung. My major will be engineering.

 

Mr. Scott. Are you both aware of the salaries, the jobs, that you can get in a technology area compared to social science and sociology type, liberal arts, and that the salaries are significantly higher in the technology? Is that generally known with high school students?

 

Mr. Yeung. Yeah. I'm currently enrolled in an elective program, engineering, basic engineering, and one of the professors has taught me that technology does tend to have more higher salaries.

 

Mr. Scott. Is that generally known amongst high school students? What we've heard is that people aren't going into this area.

 

Mr. Tang. I don't think so.

 

Mr. Scott. If they could have generally known that, if it's not generally known that salaries are higher, then you can figure out, you know, there's no reason for anybody to go into this.

I guess the question is what would make this direction more attractive to more students, because we're not getting the people going into that direction.

 

Mr. Tang. I think the students need to know basically--I used that example, how I didn't know how typing would be so important--about computers; but had I known four years ago, I would have taken typing a lot earlier.

I think the students need to know as incoming freshmen. I think the counselors need to keep them informed of, oh, this is what you want to do. Most of my friends are going into college undeclared. They don't know what exactly they might want to do, and maybe counselors can open that to their students, but then again, like I said, my counselor has 550 students to one. How is a counselor going to do that to those students?

How can a teacher take out probably two minutes out of a 50-minute class period to just talk to students and say, what are you doing with the rest of your life, you know. It's very difficult, because I don't think the students really know.

I mean, I take the time out to read certain things, and, had it not been for my uncle who like talked to me about life, you know, engineering and what he does, I really wouldn't know anything, really, personally.

 

Mr. Scott. Mark, do you want to add anything about how we could get more people involved?

 

Mr. Yeung. I think some of the options are there, such as the career center. There are regional occupational programs that are available. I think it depends on how much the students actually want to go out and get the education or to know IT skills, I guess; but it is there. Some of it is there, and some of the lacking pieces are--

 

Mr. Scott. Let me ask Mr. Lanich and Mr. Aitken how we can determine that information is getting there, and with 500 students to one counselor, it's kind of hard to do much counseling. Is that an area where encouragement--

 

Mr. Lanich. Sure. Eighty percent of the graduates of Los Angeles Unified School District do not go to college. So there's a tremendous need for this type of career, school to career opportunities.

As soon as a few of those students transition into jobs successfully, it will spread like wildfire that a certification attached to a high school diploma means something, and the bar has been set, and it translates into something that they can value.

 

Mr. Scott. When you say 80 percent don't go to college, you mean a four-year college?

 

Mr. Lanich. Correct.

 

Mr. Scott. But you're not counting community college?

 

Mr. Lanich. Eighty percent of the twelfth graders do not go to college the first year upon leaving high school.

 

Mr. Scott. I've seen numbers that say that 70 percent of the jobs require education past high school level, not necessarily a four-year college but some education past the high school level. Are you saying only 20 percent are going in that direction?

 

Mr. Lanich. Twenty percent are entering college. I guess I'm_

 

Mr. Scott. So it could be a proprietary school, some on-the-job training, but some education past high school level is necessary. The jobs aren't going to be there just out of high school.

 

Mr. Lanich. I think we need to be creative. I think--and my point is that--with something meaningful attached to some type of successful program that means employment other than the fast food industry, it's going to be very attractive.

How many students get a driver's license? They have to study for the test, and they successfully pass the test, and they can drive. I believe that analogy needs to translate in many other ways, whether it's an engineering academy, whether it's a tourism academy, whether it's a multi-media academy, whatever the case. There are opportunities here in K-12, especially in high school, to develop more programs like this.

 

Mr. Scott. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

 

Chairman Riggs. Thank you, Congressman Scott. I guess I should add to the question Congressman Scott asked, and it's just the opposite. That is that not all kids who are college bound will complete college and, number two, the largest training institution in the world, the United States military, has been downsizing for years. Even though it still offers for interested and qualified young people an advanced career, and career related training in a number of fields, those opportunities continue to dwindle, as we reduce our military strength.

Let me ask Sammy and Mark, do you think that technology can make school more fun?

 

Mr. Tang. For me, I've never really, you know, been exposed to that stuff. So I can't really answer it, I guess, but I am more of a hands-on person. So if it's there, I'm just going to grab onto it and learn all about it.

 

Chairman Riggs. Good. Mark? Mark, you sought it out more. Do you think that technology can make school more interesting, more exciting, and particularly for young people who might be prone or at risk of dropping out of school, not finishing high school? Because, you're talking about the have-nots of tomorrow.

Someone obviously, based on all the testimony we've heard today, who doesn't finish high school is going to be at a tremendous disadvantage. That's a challenge to society, but it's a real, you know, tragedy to those, because they will end up the have-nots of tomorrow.

 

Mr. Yeung. Yes. I think it does help, because like, I guess it adds to the variation of the style; whereas, traditionally we always, you know, take notes with pencils, obviously, it's sort of a different style, you know, typing it out and stuff like that. I think it adds to the interest as well as, you know, oh, I can use this in the future when I'm using my laptop at college, you know.

 

Chairman Riggs. It sounds like it can make going to school, learning and teaching a lot more interactive than the traditional kind of education we got.

Let me also ask you one follow-up to what Congressman Scott asked. The fact that, comparatively speaking, you can make more money by pursuing an engineering degree and a technology related career - did that influence your thinking?

 

Mr. Yeung. Yeah. It wasn't until this year that I actually enrolled in that course at East L.A. Community College. The professor actually informed me that technology does somehow, I guess, influence your salary, boost it, I guess. From learning that, I guess - I mean, my original major was engineering, but I guess it has me looking forward towards the future more.

 

Chairman Riggs. And you're already getting college credit for doing this?

 

Mr. Yeung. Yes, I am.

 

Chairman Riggs. Even while you're finishing your senior year here? Dr. Lanich, let me ask you, at that summit, obviously, that was a broad look at education improvement and reform in Los Angeles County. Where did technology come out? Where was it ranked as a priority or a problem?

 

Mr. Lanich. Well, it was ranked as a large problem, and that's basically with the comparative studies with regards to amount of hardware, the level of connectivity, the expertise of teachers, and our understanding of ``so what?'' to all of this was really bad.

We were looking at all those numbers. We were in 50 states, if you count Puerto Rico and Guam, 52. So even though we're in Silicon Valley and Hollywood, because this goes for media, slide projectors, overheads, and film projectors and all that kind of thing, we're also in bottom place.

So the community collectively--and it was a troika of business, community, and parents--they identified this as a real concern, and collectively agreed that it needs to be turned around.

 

Chairman Riggs. Of course, we had a long and a fascinating and a highly interesting hearing, but we perhaps were remiss in that we didn't reach out to Hollywood to hear from an entertainment industry perspective what their needs are, because they're right next-door and, obviously, often again a lot of good, high paying jobs for the future.

Let me ask both you and Mr. Aitken about this concept of parents as technology advocates. Is that really going to work?

 

Mr. Lanich. Parents can't support something they don't understand. It's our most popular training right now. It's advocacy based rather than skills based, and it's a three-day trainer of trainers.

Day number one is they go through a traditional history lesson as they would think, you know, textbook and blackboard and pencil and paper, and then they go through a very similar curriculum using the Internet, online, different software programs and what-not, and basically, when they stand back and look, determining which course do you want your child involved in. It's usually a hands down decision.

They get on the Internet and understand - They learn about acceptable use policies. They learn about reading literacy. They E-mail their legislators.

 

Mr. Martinez. I wish you hadn't taught them that.

 

Mr. Lanich. It demystifies the Internet for them, and they understand how that they can be an advocate for their child and for their school.

All trains have left the station on this one. We've gone beyond the chicken and the egg type thing, of do you put hardware in or do you train teachers or do you connect schools. Everything is happening, and it's a big exercise of management and of perceptions, control and of education.

They have to participate in it. One of the testimonies earlier said that all of us must be engaged in it, and we all must play our piece, but understand what the other pieces are. That's where the parents are. The parents influence school boards. The parents influence you, and parents influence us.

So it only makes sense to educate them along with the students and the teachers.

 

Chairman Riggs. For a parent to take that course, do they have to have a computer or access to a computer in the home or a portable computer?

 

Mr. Lanich. No. The AT&T--that's one thing--when I hear about the different structure in this school, for example, and we put a parent through training or a teacher through training, and they're expected to train 20 others in a certain competency, immediately--number one of this program--and we just launched it, and started to scale up.

Our biggest complaint was how do I make my training commitment? Our schools have multiple platforms. There are three computers here, and five over there. They don't talk to each other. The printer over here is broken. The one is up on the third floor, and you want us to do 20 teachers?

So we went to AT&T and said, help, we have identified our first big obstacle. We need standardized training equipment, standardized training platforms. So those 25 centers, we've partnered with them, and they offer 180 hours of access a year to each of the 25, and they are committed to staying open two nights a week for community participation.

Every teacher that goes through the training and every parent that goes through the training uses those centers for their training.

 

Chairman Riggs. How do you fund the parent training?

 

Mr. Lanich. Parent training - Again, it's moving boulders with toothpicks. We can bring so much to it. We can provide the expertise, and most of that is paid for at the site level. We can decentralize cash. This is probably up to a million a year right now, 50 cents per child.

So, for example, with this 18 school district consortia, I'm not sure what it is. It's like 120,000.

 

Mr. Davis. 85,000.

 

Mr. Lanich. 85,000 a year here, which they can use to offset teacher release time and supplies.

 

Chairman Riggs. Do you know if you use any of the Federal tax credit funding?

 

Mr. Davis. Not on that particular project. We just received or will be receiving a technology literacy college grant, and that will be focusing in 13 of the 18 school districts on language arts, and also upon the skills that Congressman Scott was asking about, the problem solving kind of critical thinking skills students need. So we're using Federal dollars in that way.

 

Chairman Riggs. Great. Thank you.

 

Mr. Lanich. The 18 school districts collaborated on that grant. So that they went in as a region, and they were successful.

 

Chairman Riggs. Mr. Aitken, were you taught in y our recent training - Obviously, you have an extensive background in education technology, but were you - In your research or in your recent training, did you look at parents?

 

Mr. Aitken. In my research, no, but in the recent training, yes. The bottom line is that, when it comes to spending money, the parents want the money spent on what they think is important.

If you have a highly successful football team that becomes CIF champions and the school administration decides, sorry, no new helmets, no new football jerseys for next year, you know, that individual is going to be gone very quickly.

In the same way, if you have parents who say there are no computers in this school, our students are being cut off at the knees, they're not getting a fair education, they're not getting a fair chance, then again the administration, the school board, had better pay attention or they're going to be in real trouble.

So when you turn around and you say to these parents here's what technology can do for your son and daughter and, therefore, it will obviously impact you when you start retiring and you need a little extra security, that parent is going to say, you know what, junior, you're going to college; and you know what, you're going to do this, and they're going to really influence those students, and then they're going to come to the school and they say, what are you doing to help my child, and what are you doing to help them get the good jobs that I want them to get.

So when you do that, you create incredible pressure on the whole system.

 

Chairman Riggs. Thank you. Well, we look forward to staying in touch with you and following up on the results that you have with the regional consortium and, Dr. Lanich, the success that you have countywide.

My last question is: Will you - The County Office of Education and - I mean, obviously, any company nowadays that uses information technology, and that's almost all companies, has a need for ongoing computer support. Some of that is in-house. Sometimes it's contracted out, you know. But are you going to provide that computer support as more and more schools start adapting and using technology?

 

Mr. Lanich. We can't. There are 81 school districts, 108 large entities, each with 100,000 children. It has to be home grown. It has to be built from the grassroots level.

 

Chairman Riggs. Within that local education agency?

 

Mr. Lanich. Correct.

 

Chairman Riggs. Well, thank you all, Mark, Sammy, Mr. Aitken and Dr. Lanich, for your participation and your testimony. We appreciate your being here today.

Obviously, I think I speak for my colleagues in saying that we've learned a lot, and we certainly, I think, identify that technology and education are two issues critical to the future of our country.

Computer literacy has become almost as critical as book learning in determining the future success of children. Education and technology is a, or perhaps the, critical issue, as we look towards learning in the next century and helping our children raise their academic achievement levels and helping them receive a high quality education through, as I said at the outset, access to and learning in technology.

So thank you for being here. We'll keep the hearing record open in case there are other individuals who would like to submit testimony for the record.

Congressman Scott?

 

Mr. Scott. Are we going to take advantage of Mr. Aitken's invitation?

 

Chairman Riggs. Yes, I hope so. I've got to look at my transportation arrangements.

 

Mr. Scott. One of us might want to take advantage of that invitation, if it's still open.

 

Chairman Riggs. Yes. Thank you, ladies and gentlemen, and we'll thank our recorder. The Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Youth and Families stands adjourned.

[Whereupon, at 4:50 p.m., the subcommittee was adjourned.]