4:13 PM EDT
Sheila Jackson Lee, D-TX 18th

Ms. JACKSON LEE of Texas. I want to thank the chairman of the subcommittee and ranking member for the courtesies extended to me.

Mr. Chairman, my amendment will protect funds provided for science under title 3 of the Department of Energy's energy programs. This amendment addresses the need to increase programs that educate minorities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, known as STEM, as well as the need to train teachers and scientists in advanced scientific and technical practices.

Let me, first of all, say I consider this a jobs bill. I'm excited when we talk about jobs here on the floor of the House and recognize that America has changed. As a former member of the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology and a member of the Aviation subcommittee and Space subcommittee dealing with NASA's commitment and mission in human exploration, I believe that America's future is not only today but in front of her and focused on science and technology. The importance of developing

a highly skilled technical workforce is crucial.

Over the last 50 years there have been major changes in the United States in terms of both the economy and the population. Now let me be very clear. I'm a member of the Manufacturing Caucus, and I believe that we should restore manufacturing in this country. We are so well placed to be multitasked, boosting our manufacturing and then, as well, moving forward to processing and analyzing information. In this information-driven economy, it is important that we recognize that our valuable assets

are human resources. Therefore, in order to compete successfully in the global economy, the U.S. needs citizens who are literate in terms of science and mathematics, and a STEM workforce that is well educated and well trained.

I believe my amendment focuses on that very program and focus. By investing in the scientific advancement of our workforce and our youth, we are investing in our future, we're investing in job creation, and we're investing in greater job opportunities for Americans. It is important to note that under this legislation, workforce development for teachers in science has taken a hit. But I believe what we should do is make sure that we emphasize that those resources be kept in and at some point add

to those resources. And the reason I say that is, workforce development programs for teachers and scientists provide funding to graduate fellowship programs that help train the Nation's top scientists, a crucial, crucial effort.

The United States faces a critical shortage of highly qualified mathematics and science teachers. We will need an additional 283,000 teachers in secondary schools setting up by 2015 to meet the needs of our Nation's students. This qualified teacher shortage is particularly pronounced in low-income districts. So in order to move forward, let us protect the scientific aspect of the work of this government.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, about 30 percent of fourth-graders and 20 percent of eighth-graders cannot perform basic mathematical computation. So I have long recognized the need to improve the participation performance of America's students in science, technology, engineering, and math. I worked with one of our corporate leaders to ensure that private funding was given to one of our inner city school districts to establish a program without comparison in its excellence

focusing on science, technology, engineering, and math.