Report on Reports

20. Roadmap for National Se... 2000 - U.S. Commission on National Security

U.S. COMMISSION ON NATIONAL SECURITY

Road Map for National Security…2001

 


One of the most profound changes we have seen during the 20th century is the formation of a global community. In a time when communication and travel is so easy, countries are uniting, and corporations are becoming global, it makes sense that we should incorporate in our curricula the practice of collaboration with other institutes. …This [collaboration] could take the form of joint research projects,…or laboratories designed to receive and pass on information. Students would gain experience in relating many different concepts to solve a single problem. With technological ability increasing while financial resources dwindle at many undergraduate institutions, the ability to give our undergraduates a meaningful educational experience will require the efficient use of institutional resources as well as an innovative approach to teaching.

–PKAL F21 Statement, 1999.

BACKGROUND

T he U.S. Commission on National Security/21st Century, otherwise known as the “Hart/Rudman Commission” was established in 1998. Road Map for National Security, their 2001 report, is a blueprint for reorganizing the national security structure so to achieve organizational competence to creatively and effectively address such new and serious issues as globalization, information technology, and the rapid ascendance of free-market economies and democracies. The report concludes that, despite the end of the Cold War threat, America faces distinctly new dangers, particularly to the homeland and to our scientific and educational base. The earlier “Sputnik” days of space exploration galvanized attention on the need for a strong undergraduate STEM community to serve the national interest. The current position of the United States in an increasingly interconnected, technologically dependent global community once again challenges us to examine the strength of our educational system. …the inadequacies of our systems of research and education pose a greater threat to U.S. national security over the next quarter century than any potential conventional war that we might imagine. American national leadership must understand these deficiencies as threats to national security. If we do not invest heavily and wisely in rebuilding these two core strengths, America will be incapable of maintaining its global position long into the 21 st century. The report closely links educational goals to national goals.

Educational goals

  • The American educational system needs to produce significantly more scientists and engineers, including four times the current number of computer scientists, to meet anticipated demand.
  • More than 240,000 new and qualified science and mathematics teachers are needed in our K-12 classrooms over the next decade (out of an estimated 2.2 million new teachers).
  • Levels of math, science, and technology literacy, need to be raised throughout our society. Core secondary school curricula should be heavier in science and mathematics, and should require higher levels of proficiency for all high school students.
  • More rigorous achievement goals in science and math are making both American teachers and students accountable for improvements. Science curricula, in particular, must be better designed to teach science for what it is: a way of thinking and not just a body of facts. If testing and evaluation methods for science education better reflect the reality of science as a discovery-based rather than as a fact-based activity, it would be easier to reform curricula in an appropriate fashion as well.