tv Politics and Public Policy Today CSPAN May 24, 2016 1:00pm-3:01pm EDT
they're the future. >> i feel like i can go and do anything i want to do because of this program. >> someone took the time to guide and inspire me. it changed my life. take some time. go to usfirst.org. >> terrific. >> well done. let me invite administrator bolden for his remarks and then we'll go to q&a. >> first of all, big message i want to give you on answers from a journey to mars. don't want you to miss that, if you hear nothing else, but how do we get there? and a lot of the stuff that dean talked about is critically important. we need young men and women from all over the place who will help us to do that. if you go to the johnson space center today, not a commercial, but you'll find half the engineers in our robotics lab at
the johnson space center were in f.i.r.s.t. in high school. there is great benefit from it. we're using our missions to try to inspire the youth of today. i tell people, nasa has a budget today, we spend $19.3 billion on s.t.e.m. education because every single thing we do is related to trying to get young people interested in, and we actually call it theme, and we have extended it to be steam, and a. is for the arts. hopefully we'll have the opportunity to talk about arts and design because there's a new community of people called makers. these are young men and women who have an incredible bit of ability to visualize and make things. i'm privileged to have a young man, he doesn't know i'm going to do this, but tom is shadowing me today. he's an engineer at the glenn research center in cleveland,
ohio, who he mesmerized me this morning. he's a graduate of a historically blam college where he majored in architecture and said he always wanted to build things, to make things. you know, spent time in the army but never gave up on his desire to build and make things and today is an architect. lushonda holmes is sitting right next to him. she's a white house fellow, went to spelman college in atlanta, georgia. trying to figure out how she's going to make it through college. met a coast guard recruiter who talked to her about the coast guard. today, she flies helicopters in the coast guard, something you don't see very many people who look like her do. science, technology, the arts, design, are critical for our kids today. that's the one thing i wanted to say there. we believe that you advance the nation's s.t.e.m. program and you put yourself in a situation where you're able to compete with any country anywhere, anytime, plls. that's what the program talks
about all the time. we have created cooperations, collaborations with many other federal agencies. we work with the department of education on something called 21st century communities. we work with the department of agriculture in their 4-h program and in other programs trying to promote the kinds of things the department of agriculture does. we celebrate our partnership, my deputy dr. david newman and former assistant secretary of agriculture harden, actually planted some seeds in the department of agriculture garden that had come back from the international space station, and they were seeds that were just like the lettuce that had grown, the lettuce that astronauts now eat on the international space station in preparation for going to mars. the youth engagement in s.t.e.m. at every level is critically important. our priority lies with women and minorities because they represent a huge portion of our population. if you look at women today, they're greater than 50% of the population.
we believe that you cannot leave that behind and succeed. you cannot leave that portion of the population behind and be better than other people. so really, really important. let me say one thing about f.i.r.s.t. i'm going to share with you a letter from a principal who was at a school where recently hao had some nasa engineers come out and visit. this was a school in west virginia. and the southern part of west virginia had never had anything like this. engineers from i.v.v. facility in west virginia. they came out and visited his kids. they're a middle school. he said i just want to let you know how much it meant to the children for you to come to our school. 75% of the students are on free and reduced lunch. this means that our children have less chance than 80% of the students to make it out of high school. the community is riddled with drugs, homelessness, and generational poverty. the children need to see it's
possible to make themselves into someone who counts. someone who can help change the world. the younger students came to me and wondered if you would be back for them. this is after the engineers left, because it was too good to be true. they wanted to know if they were ever going to come back again. would they ever see them again. i told them that i sure hope so. they went away with big smiles. we would love for you to come back next year. put us on your calendar for april 2017. thank you so much for your commitment to the children of west virginia. that's through a s.t.e.m. program out of nasa. s.t.e.m. is not monolithic. that's the other thing we need to understand. we need people not only with science and technology backgrounds and interest e s be need people who are willing to engage their hearts and mind, who understand the arts, ability to conceive of things and then designers who can build little things like 3-d printers and the like that we're currently using on the international space station. so we believe s.t.e.m. is critical. we want to talk about it a lot
today. hopefully, and if we can fire some of you up to go and tell people with whom you come in contact it's just as important to have a young student who's going to be an all-star on a first court or somewhere else as it is to be an all-star basketball player, we will have achieved our goal. >> terrific. thank you for those terrific remarks. let me answer or let me ask several questions and we'll have a conversation up here and then we'll go to the floor for additional question. we have used the term s.t.e.m., s.t.e.a.m. can we talk a little bit about watch of those conpoem nlts and are any of them more important than the others? or are any of them worthy of more investment given the current situation than the others? and i think we have laid a good groundwork with your opening remarks to lay this out. this is important, i think. let's get to the baseline and a definitional approach to s.t.e.m. or s.t.e.a.m. for the group and the continued conversation at brookings,
please. >> i think education, as we all knew it, all different ages, that the first and the last, the s. and the m., for better or worse, they do try to teach in school. we all took a science class every year. it was putting pins in frogs one year, it was we all take math, you know. we learn to count and then we learn, you know, algebra and trigonometry, some of us learned it, some of us didn't learn it, but it was always there. s and m, they're the reason that those weren't well -- wasn't a lot of passion around them as kids, is because they're out of context. there was nothing that a kid ever did in life for which tr trigonometry would help them. row don't go to a store and a 10% discount is the cosign. there's no place they see value, and science, putting pins in frogs wasn't that relevant.
but the t and e, technology, is really cool. every kid who says they hate science, they love star wars. every kid who says they hate engineering, they're wearing super computers. they're immersed in the results of engineering. so to me, what industry has got to bring, what our culture has to bring to the schools is the relevance by which it will be important to kids to do the hard work of learning the science, learning math is not easy. it takes multiple years to learn all of that, but there has to be a purpose. kids would not bounce a ball every day for an hour a day if there was no nba. they just wouldn't do it. to me, the average teacher may be very good at doing the science part and the math part, the same way that the phys ed teacher can teach them, but they don't inspire them. we took the position that it's up to our culture to create the passion and then the willingness
to work will follow. and because of the nba, kids will learn to bounce a ball. well, you needed to bring nasa, we needed to bring the relevant people that use and apply technology and engineering into a real environment, a hands-on environment, as hands-on as any sport so when the kids show up at school, they're going to realize, i want to learn the math without learning e equals ir. that let a lot of smoke out of the circuitboard because i forgot to multiply 5 squared, and it turns out, i think, for better or worse, the schools have focused on science as this abstract thing and math as this really abstract thing. we are bringing to the school relevance, we're showing kids that it's accessible and it's fun and it's every bit as rewarding as any other thing they do, except unlike the nba that has a few dozen jobs a year, right now, there are a few
million skilled career opportunities because kids can't do it. >> i would agree. the particular part for us is i started out by saying we're on a journey to mars. we know where we're going to go. we just aren't capable of getting there right now because we don't have the technology. we don't have the complete suite of technologies that are needed. so we need kids to be very conversant and competent in science and math, but that's what allows them to be the dreamers that create the technologies that we know we're missing. we find a lot of things serendipitously. the crew on the international space station have to have water to survive, they have to have food to survive. we're finding necessity is the mother of invention. when we flew the space shuttle, we used hydrogen and oxygen on a fuel cell and the by-product, the presentful biprkt, was water. we didn't worry about getting water to crew. today, we don't do that. we use the sun to produce
electricity and solar cells so we have to either fly water up which is costly or find another way to produce it. we take yesterday's coffee, put it into a water purification system, the science and technology the kids have learned to create a water purification system so the astronauts now recycle everything, whether it's urine, purpperation, it makes no difference. we reuse everything. we're now growing vegetables. we have grown lettuce, they eat it. we're growing cherry potat toma. we're not growing potatoes, but we're on the way. those are the things we need to do. the serendipitous discovery is the same machine that creates clean drinking water, about 90-oud percent of the youth, the infants that die in the world die from water-borne pathogens. if we can take the same machines, put them in rural
villages and i'm going to surprise you, not just africa, south america, and other places, put them into the south in the united states, where kids are dying because they don't have clean drinking water, that changes the whole world. so that's taking science and math, putting it together into the technology field, and getting what the nation needs. >> are we satisfied with the way that s.t.e.m. is being presented to students in the educational institutions around the country? and if we aren't, how might we change? >> programs like f.i.r.s.t., another program similar to f.i.r.s.t. kids need hands-on stuff. like dean said, my son is back there, but he has three beautiful girls who are my incredible granddaughters, the love of my life. i don't have any trouble with where they're going to be on the weekend. unfortunately, they're going to be in softball, ballet, volleyball or something else because that's what we emphasize, but i want them also to be participating in music or
in art, and his baby girl is an artist. she's spent all day yesterday, you know, mother's day, just creating incredible artwork. that's really important. so we need to expose them. and the schools need to make sure that there are opportunities for kids to do things like create a robot, create a satellite. today, we use something we call, well, you can call them small subs, whatever, but they're about the size of this glass. and a kid in elementary school today can be taught how to take a cell phone, take it apart, take the memory card, take the camera, and put it into a box that big, take it to the international space station and spit it out so they have built a satellite. what kid could say that several years ago? so we're beginning to introduce that into the informal curriculum of schools. but i take the informal curriculum as long as the
schools allow us to put it there. >> dean? >> everything he said. i think our schools are there to solve the supply side of the equation. i think what's been missing for at least a generation in this country is the demand side. when i was a kid, the demand was created in the culture because older than most of the people, but i remember the news, sputnik went up. and all of a sudden, america, fat, dumb, and happy at the end of world war ii, we were unrivaled. everybody was good. our parents all wanted to come back and make the world a better place so their kids would never have to deal with the stuff they went through. and suddenly, sputnik went up and made america realize maybe we're not just the unrivaled leaders. maybe we have other things to worry about. i think it energized a generation to really understand the importance, the critical importance of science and tech. and we were in a race. americans are very competitive. we're fat, dumb, and happy,
having a good time compared to the structured cultured in germany and japan. we're very happy to just, you know, until we're threatened. so i think sputnik did it. and then we won that one. you know, and then we sort of relaxed back, which is why you were stating numbers like you have, because americans, it's not what we don't have enough of, supply. we have great institutions, but only a few people take advantage of them. they have parents that say, yeah, you can play volleyball, but you better get an a in math. well, as i said 25 years ago, we were in that mode where i don't think most of american kids ever saw the real value, the excitement, the fun of science and tech because we created role models, superheroes everywhere else. but i think the next version of sputnik is upon us. china has 4,000 f.i.r.s.t. teams. 4,000 teams. i came back from a trip to
beijing last year. i was there representing the national academy of engineers and the joint meeting with the japanese academy. when i told people that, they said you're traitor. what they're missing is the part about creativity, how to make use of that. the chinese gump knows that. they said you're helping them. think of it as the next sputnik. if you're worried about compe competi competing, maybe the fact that we now have a couple billion kids around the planet that are all going to be competitive, maybe the fact that we highlight that will be another call to action in this country to get real hands-on passion, excitement, in science and technology, into the schools, which again is going to require industry to help. and it's working. by the way, i think f.i.r.s.t. will also turn out to be a tool of international diplomacy, much like the original purpose of the
olympics when it was started in 18 1894 by business people. let's create a platform where young people get together and compete in a positive way, running and jumping, and the other athletics of the olympics. well, it's been 120 years. i'm not sure it's turned into a love fest, as they hoped. but, but if we now have a single language, mathematics, that is the same every where in the word and we have 86 countries this year competing. we had more countries competing a couple weeks ago at st. louis, we had more countries representing the f.i.r.s.t. teams than they had in the winter olympics. i think getting the first time ever through the connectivity you talked about, getting the words kids to understand that instead of repeating the self-inflicted wounds of their parents and grandparents by which they separate each other with political and cultural issues, what if they could all collectively be on the same team, fighting against the same
challenges, global warming, water, the environment, education, health care, security? we could have a generation of kids worldwide working together, cooperating as they do at first, and maybe break the cycle of all these self-inflicted wounds and take on the real challenges that the world is going to face with 9 billion people, and by the way, every one of those challenges is going to require world-class technology. >> i was on a panel, just to follow up on your comments, two days ago where i maim the comment that no post-conflict society or developing society could ever achieve its full potential without bringing women fully into the mainstream, and fully empowering women within society. how can we incent ivize this environment to bring women more fully into s.t.e.m., and not just to study but to get them into industry? >> tell them we won't survive if
you leave half the population behind. for one thing. people sometimes understand that. the best thing is to have concrete examples for them to see. we selected the class of 2013, the astronaut class of 2013 had skat 6800 apkkts, we selected eight. half were women, half of them were men. those four women in that group have already become superstars. they were superstars in their own right before selection, but now, four more women who can go into any place in the world and talk about how they became astronauts. they're from all kinds of backgrounds. one spent her last year before becoming an astronaut in the antarctic working with penguins. another was the captain of the u.s. women's rugby team, major in the u.s. army, helicopter pilot. another one, the only marine selected is nicole mann.
fighter pilot, iraq, afghanistan, you name it. and was a soccer player at the naval academy. so the good thing about them is because sports is good. sports is important. but sports is a vehicle that helps to build teamwork, which f.i.r.s.t. again, the big thing is it builds teams. a winning team, for example, when we were in st. louis, is actually three teams. you talk about okay, my team won. well, my team consists of three teams, and since i did better than everybody else, i pick two teams to go along with me. and so they learn to scout. remember, we talked about you need more than just science and math. some of them using math are now statisticians. they look at the other teams and say we don't know how to do that. that team, we clobbered them, but they did this incredibly win. they want to win on the field of battle. they don't want to have their opponent have their robots break
down, so they will go help each other in the pits, in between contests. and so, you know, we're incredibly proud to look at the number of schools that now can say they have really been turned around because of something like the f.i.r.s.t. program, where it got kids really interested in being technologists or makers or artists because it takes everything. i'm looking at my press secretary over here and my former press secretary over there who now works for bono, and they're both texting away. we didn't know about texting when i first became a nasa administrator. i don't know that we ever heard about it. when you talk about the arts, social media absolutely critical today. if we're going to communicate with the world, we have got to know how to use social media. i have some engineers and technologists and people who, like me, i don't do twitter. i don't do facebook. and you know, i don't do any of that stuff, but i have really sharp people who know it and
love it and serve to communicate our story to the rest of the world. so when i talk about the arts being absolutely important, it is. if you want to get urstory out, you have to be represented in a fashion -- morgan freeman, could you think of any more powerful way to tell the story of f.i.r.s.t.? that's not an engineer, not a mathematician, not a scientist. that's an artist who has chosen to take his ability, his god-given ability and apply it to help kids understand the equivalent force of science and mathd. that's why we believe that s.t. s.t.e.a.m. is really important. >> noted. any thoughts on that? >> i'm happy to tell you more than 30% on our team, more than 30% are women and minorities, and after 26 years, all of our compound growth, that number keeps inching up every year.
now, you can say, well, it ought to be 50%. you got me there. but i'll say, look what we're trying to do here. you know what the number of women that get patents on technology is? the percentage of patents that go to women. it's low single digits. how many women are practicing engineers or doing welding? it's all single digits. so our 30-some odd percent is good. i would love to get it up to 50%. i think our program has a self-selecting extra value to women and minorities because, again, since i believe it's a social issue, i mean, that group of people is far more unfortunately distracted from the real world of science and technology than kids that grow up in an environment where mom and dad are doctors and lawyers and engineers. the people who really grow up
seeing the culture of this country on espn and mtv are at a huge disadvantage. so even though we try to get everybody into f.i.r.s.t., there's a process by which when women and minorities start to see kids having fun in exactly the same kind of sporting environment. it's always funny that people say, dean, you're really hard on sports. i'm not hard on sports, i'm using it as a model for something i have been at for 25 years. nay say plagiarism is the highest form of flattery. i love sports. i have a baseball field in my back yard. i love sports, they're good for lots of reasons. in the end, people say i think you're hard on it. and you even said it, sports are really good. they teach kids teamwork. you got me there. then why is it when they do teamwork in a classroom, you call it cheating? why? so i just think the power of sports -- the power of sports,
you can't underestimate it. and so we didn't -- f.i.r.s.t. is not like a sport. it's the ultimate sport. it has everything every other sport has, except it's giving you passion to develop the skill sets that will build your life, your career in this country. >> so are we satisfied then with where american industry or companies and the government, are we satisfied that sufficient investment in rnd and the process and the systems of education are under way? >> since i'm government, i will say definitely not. >> for this audience, policymakers, what advice would we give them or ask them for to help us in terms of going about the process of incentivizing industry and government and improving our r & d efforts here here? >> nasa has introduced in the budget aviation horizon. it's the first time in decades where we're going to start
building x-planes if we get the budget. that's the key part. if we don't get the budget, we don't build x-planes. what does that mean when you talk about airplanes? every kid knows about the -- they don't know about the naca, nobody knows about that, the predecessor of nasa, but they know about test pilots on air force bases and stuff like that, breaking the sound barrier. those were experimental airplanes. and other experimental vehicles. young men and women today in colleges and universities around the country, believe it or not, were really excited when they saw the president's budget come out with a significant increase in aeronautics that would enable us to do x-planes again. that's what they want to do. they want to design and build new airplanes. they don't want to go to a plant and work on a production line where we're building more and more of the same old thing.
dean, kids love to go, and i cruise tuse the term kids because i'm an old man, but people love to work for dean, they love to work for spacex, they love to work for jeff bezos, because they're building and designing and creating things. that's what nasa should be doing. so no. i'm not satisfying government is doing our part because historically in this country in the last few decades, we have abandoned research and development, we have abandoned technology development. that's one thing we have increasingly tried to put in the nasa budget. we started a space technology budget. we can't get to mars based on what we have today. you know, yeah, we can go back to the moon, and we will, but we want to get to mars. and in order to do that, you have to have young people coming out of our schools and colleges who are wanting to design and build new things, new technologies. >> any thoughts on that? >> you ask whether we're
investing enough. i'm not an economist, but i would say to you it's pretty clear that whatever we're investing, it's probably at least as important to make sure how you invest as opposed to how much because i know that we spend hundreds, many hundreds of billions of dollars a year on public education. per capita, it's well known, it's more per student than the rest of the world. here in washington, it's something like $18,000 or $19,000 per year per student, and then when you take out the high percentage that don't go to school or drop out, it's ridiculously high. then you point out we're number 29 in the development, 22 in math. i would say you can never spend enough money on things that really have a good return. and you shouldn't waste money on things that don't. to give you a sense of why i'm concerned about that, think about this for a second. the entire cost, dollar cost
too, have -- because you can't monetize the passion. we have 140,000 volunteer technology people as mentors. people we couldn't pay them, there's not enough money to pay these technologists. and they all work for free. a lot of the stuff in the kits are free. i thought getting industry to donate all of these most valuable things they have, the time and expertise of their astronauts would be the hardest part. it turns out that industry knows it's a great investment to turn these kids on. it turns out we got to tens of thousands of schools and didn't run out of volunteers. here's a staggering thing. with the hundreds of billions of dollars we spent on education, almost all of it over the decades, centuries now, is to fix costs that can't be changed. teachers have no discretionary budgets. schools develop, and somehow they have enough dollars for the parquet floors, for basketball, enough dollars for the football fields. and they have enough dollars to pay the stipend of the teacher who stays after school to become
the football coach or basketball coach, and that makes complete sense to me. teachers don't make a lot of money, engineers can donate their time. the teacher that's going to be there for three hours every day after school ought to get some financial recognition. in 25 years, we have had almost no luck getting the school half of the equation to step up, even though all the stuff is coming in essentially for free. in fact, it's astounding to me that for less than the cost of one half of one student, a whole school can have a f.i.r.s.t., but it's almost impossible to get them to recognize the math teacher or science teacher with the same stipend for coaching our team, because historically it wasn't there. i think it's an intellectual slap in the face as well as it limits things. in that regard, a number of years ago, i went to our senators in our little state where f.i.r.s.t. got started. i said year after year they keep
trying to do the education bill. whatever it siris. they finally passed it last year. they did the part which allowed, in fact, it required in the new bill, the new law now, that schools that meet certain criteria can fund, the feds can fund just the part -- i don't want them to take industry out, but they'll give the teacher the same recognition, the same stipend. they'll hand the public school portion of creating our sport and putting it on the same plain as any other sport. if all you policy people can figure out, now it has to go to appropriation has to come next. you guys ought to figure out how to make sure how every school in this country can support a f.i.r.s.t. team. i don't understand how you could let an institution of learning spend its money on all these other things and not give kids this -- every kid in this country deserves the opportunity
to try this. and the policy people in this country ought to realize it would be the best leverage of your resources to let that happen. the entire f.i.r.s.t. organization has 100-odd people now working full-time. 100-some odd people and well over 100,000 volunteers that you couldn't pay to put in the classroom. world class scientists and engineers, which says for every person working at f.i.r.s.t., there are 1,000 volunteers working for free. that's leverage. not just at the schools, to bring them in. and transform your schools. and if you don't do that, this country is going to deserve what it gets. >> really important point. and just a point of clarification. i would seldom wish to criticize something that administrator bolden would say, but i have to take issue with your calling yourself an old man. you happen to be in the prime life from one general looking at another general. a lot of bright faces in that
video. young women and men who were so excited about the learning experience and the competition. how do we get them into the kinds of jobs that will leverage that talent that will secure america's feature. >> jobs are there. that's the problem. >> how do we get them in? that's the easy part. these kids leave the f.i.r.s.t. program and the world is their oyster. the schools are fighting over them. we have what we call scholarship row. we had 188-some odd universities lined up two weeks ago, scouting just like the football coaches do. and by the way, we handed out over $30 million of scholarships from a lot of little tech schools. some are local trade schools like m.i.t., stanford, cal tech, georgia tech. they're all lined up. wti, rpi, they're all there, yale. and they're fighting over these kids. and these kids get an education in tech, and there's no question, how do you get them into the question? the question is every company
out there is fighting, they want them. >> encourage them through whatever means possible to invest their time and energy into s.t.e.m. related courses. you can't do it once they get to college. you have to have it at the elementary level, then it feeds into the secondary level. and then into college. and it makes no difference, again, i always tell young men and women that i talk to, you cannot be having a technical background, a technical degree, because it gives you the flexibility to become a poet, an author, anything you want to do, the world is your oyster. if you decide halfway through college that you want to be an engineer and you haven't taken trigonometry or basic math, you're out of luck. so there is no -- there is no downside to getting them into technical courses, in the math and sciences. they go through high school and
college, it's all up. they can go -- some of the best teachers come from programs like teach for america. and they're young men and women who just don't know what they want to do in life, so they take two years after they graduate from college. those were technical backgrounds, dean talked about having a physics teacher, a physics teacher who didn't know physics. well, young men and women in teach for america, they know physics. and they know math, and everything else, and it gives them an opportunity to take the trade that sooner or later is going to allow them to be an engineer, but to teach young kids in our schools. and they do incredibly well. so whatever you do, encourage a young person. and young is a relative term. okay. i use the term too loosely. encourage a person who has never experienced science and engineering. the other thing is you have to help kids understand, engineers
are not only the person in the front of the train. and that may sound trivial to some of you, coming from my community, from the african-american community, throughout the united states, you say engineer, and the vast majority of kids think you're talking about the guy on the front of the train. that is not, this is not an engineer that you're looking for. you're looking for someone who can look at a system and who can help to integrate things. so had a young member of a society of black engineers who i was talking about inspiring people when i first became a nasa administrator because i said the president told me he wants to inspire, inspire. it was a young black man who was the prept of the society of black engineers, he said, if you say inspire one more time, i'm going to puke. i went -- i beg your pardon? he said, i know what you're talking about. he said, but you cannot inspire anyone until you expose them. and so that is the key. we've got to take them by the
hand and take them in and let them see what science and engineering and technology not only is fun, but it's available to them. that there is an incredible demand for them, much more demand than it is, like dean said, for somebody who can dribble a basketball. you know, you're battling against the odds trying to become the next lebron james. to become the next dean kamen, get your degree. and go out and invent stuff. nobody can take that from you. you know, nobody can take that from you. and you're probably going to be better than anybody else around because you're passionate about it. >> nowio know why we love having nasa as one of our great sponsors. by the way, humility is one of his weaknesses. but last at our championship, where we filled an 80,000-seat
arena and around town, it looked like olympic village, but once a year we recognize an organization or individual for helping to bring f.i.r.s.t. to every school in the country and all around the world, and it's been given out 24 times. only one organization has ever gotten it twice. once about 22 years ago and once a couple weeks ago, and nasa has demonstrated that they have earned it year after year. again, as a matter of policy, you should go home and ask yourselves, how can any school in this country in the 21 sst century not be doing everything possible to give kids a passion for science, technology, and engineering? and we found the simplest, easiest, most cost effective, fun way to do it that is consistent with our culture. we're not going to become rigid
and regimented. we're not going to be beating on kids to spend ten-hour days in school, six days a week, no summer vacation. kids have to go home and need the summer off because they have to work in the fields or whatever it is. but this country, its biggest strength is the passion that freedom gives kids. the trouble is their passion is being misdirected to things that will not give them careers. and we solve that problem for you, but it's so antthetical to the process inside education, and technology moves so quickly, i don't think we can expect, and therefore we can't blame the schools for not making these changes, but we brought now 3,700 tech giants, including people like nasa, saying we're here to help. we would love to work in cooperation with the schools. we call our competitions kooperatitions. it's all working but we need the
get the schools to open the spigot and make this part of their culture. every school should have a football team, every school should have a basketball team. every school should have a f.i.r.s.t. team. and whatever you need to do to make that happen, that's your homework assignment. >> that's terrific. let's go to the floor for some questions. we'll go for about a half hour. i want to call it directly at 11:30. you'll be handed a microphone, i believe. when you get that microphone, i would ask you to please stand so we can see who you are, tell us your name and affiliation, and try to keep your question short. >> good morning. i'm rich cooper, former member of the nasa team for a number of years and proud uncle to a young man who was in st. louis a couple weeks ago. he already was on a glide path for great things, and he's even more inspired, so thank you for that. administrator bolden, i had the pleasure of being part of the nasa team on your education program for a number of years.
and one of the things that nasa was doing was creating the educator astronaut. that would better help connect students to the program as well as teachers to the program. i'm curious as to where that's going. i know they're part of the core, and where they will be in trying to communicate all of these great experiences. >> we felt the best way to get educators as astronauts is not single them out. so there are no educator astronauts anymore. they're just astronauts. what we did was there is criteria to be an astronaut. it used to be you had to have a technical undergraduate background. a person who is a teacher, who has taught in technical courses, math, science, and the like, is academically eligible to apply as an astronaut. so we have people like ricky arnold, gerald caba, they have all flown already. they are not teacher astronauts. they're astronauts who happen to be school teachers. ricky arnold is from right out
here in maryland. and you know, i tried to get him to come back here, but he still wants to fly some more. so we're integrating teachers into the -- they're competitive as astronauts applicants now. >> please, this gentleman in the front row. i'll work my way back. >> i'm allen schaefer, the chairman of the d.c. innovation summit. you have been focusing on people ages 6 to 18, but there's a massive number of people who are undertrained, who are out of jobs looking for jobs, from 18 on up, including those in college. what can we do to capitalize and to retrain and retain these people in the work force as valuable members of society? >> nasa has over the last couple years in our education program, we have now begun to integrate community colleges into our area of focus. we didn't do that before.
we were looking for college graduates. today, because, you know, a person turning a lathe or a person working in a laboratory doesn't need a ph.d. or a bachelor's degree in many cases, but we do need them to be trained as a technician, so we focus on young men and women in community colleges today. we really go after veterans. taking them, understanding what their training was for the military, which is directly transferrable. let me tell you, a rifleman today is a technician. don't know the last time you looked at a weapon, it's a computer. looking through a scope, you're doing math in your head. you know, some of it is done for you by the weapon, an artilleryman, it's math, math, math. you take what the veteran has learned because it's directly transferrable into the workplace. so those are things we're doing.
we're trying to help retrain people into the fields that we need to get us to particulars. i think dean is probably doing the same thing. >> and the good thing is when you look at all of the volunteers, you almost need to be at a f.i.r.s.t. event to feel it. it's a love fest of technology. and a lot of the people there are certainly not 6 to 18, and there are some world-class people who have talked to somebody, what do you do when you're -- i'm the chief technology expert at x and y, at google. wow, pretty neat. then you'll talk to other people. well, i just got out of the military and i wanted to do this and that. it's a great place to network because you have 3,700 companies. so i think there's a process going on that's just blending all these people together. there was a time when education was the skillset you learn and it worked for a lifetime. i mean, it just did. an artisan learned spng. today, there's no skill set you have today, especially in
technology field that's going to be worth a damn in three or four or five years. you know, look at, we went from, you know,t telegraph to telephoe a generation or two, but we went from the internet to e-mail to texting to snapchat, you know, in the lifetime of some of these technologies is six months. education is not the destination. it's a process. in technology, you're either going to learn how to learn or you're toast. a kid coming out of school with a technical degree, i hope these days, understands that what their education gave them was the ability to keep adapting to future technologies because they don't have the skill set that's not going to be obsolete very soon. >> if the audience members wanted to attend a f.i.r.s.t. event, how would they fig that out? >> we used to have only one event at the end of the season. i would say come on to this high
school gym. after five years of growing, we outgrew any venue in new hampshire and got disney to put us on stage. fly down. but if you use the sports model, the most expensive -- kids can watch the super bowl on tv or watch the world series. unless there's little league in town, t-ball at the ball field a kid can get into baseball before they can run, unless you can make it local, you can't get them, as you said. you have to start early. we started doing regional events. by the tenth year of f.i.r.s.t., we had one regional every weekend in march around march madness, before the championships that happen in atlanta, at the georgia dome. well, we keep building up more and more resources to be more accessible because the most expensive part would have been airplanes and hotels for kids to play. this is this year's season, which each weekend in march, we had 126 cities hold their regionals. little cities, new york, los
angeles, seattle, houston, orlando. we have 126 events. i can guarantee you nobody in this room is out of driving distance to one of our march madness events. >> if you looked, the convention center was full one weekend in march or late february, and that was several regionals. they are everywhere. >> regionals in downtown washington. >> this march madness really is madness. >> madness. >> when it's all said and done. there's a lady all the way in the back. may we hand her the microphone? >> thank you very much. i'm joe ann from the university of wisconsin. i have a question about the time span of some of the projects you're talking about. for example, the mars project. we're dealing with an age in which students have relatively short attention spans according to research and all of that and perhaps the mars fatigue could be setting in, but also some of the other interesting projects, the doctor, as you know, has
pioneered the 100 yss project in which the stars are the object at 100 years is the goal, and of course, there are public forums and a lot of research being done as to how to get there. how can we stimulate people to keep going toward that very lengthy goal? >> you're absolutely right. you know, going to mars in the 2030s. that's a long time from now unless you happen to be in the program. we don't have enough time to get ready. that's 14 years from now. we're talking about humans in the martian environment in the 2030s. and we're going to do that. but there are all kinds of precursors. how many of you saw the movie "the martian"? any of you read the book? those of you who read the book, and i didn't finish it, but those of you who read the book, you know he gives you what nasa has been doing for the last 40, 50 years. it's called precursors. every time you turn around, we're sending another satellite that's either going to be an orbiter or a lander.
curiosity landed three years ago. we're in the process of lunching another orbiter and then we have to figure out how to get it and bring it back to world. there are other planets in the solar system where we sent new horizons to pluto back in july, the year just keeps going. but you know, it was a long journey. nine years to get there. things we want to do now is increase the speed of transit. i need young men and women who are interested in propulsion, who want to figure out another way to get to mars. it's eight months today. that's too long. for a number of reasons, for the human body, that's more expoeshz to radiation and the like. things that are happening now is what we're trying to do, bring young people in who can work on something that can be achieved in two years as opposed to 14
years. aeronautics, that's the reason we want to build x-planes because a student in a university can start working on an x-plane, they can actually see the x-plane fly if they start as a freshman, they'll see it fly before they get out of they start as the freshman before they get out of school. if they are maker. small sets or cube sets. they can middle a cube set in a matter of six months and we can fly their cube set as we what we call a hosted payload. stick it on a satellite, throw it out and for a week or two the kids have their own control center in their school and they can watch their satellite as it brings an image to earth or pipes down a pre planned message or something like that.
>>. >> we've had a huge growth in recent years because of gis technology and currently working in the k 12 people to try to get the college to try to adopt a apgis course. >> tell everyone what gis is. >> geographic information systems. we've been trying to get this course adopted so kids will think about it as tt that age. one big challenge i see is that it basery returns federal -- how do we get the states to think about stem or steam education and focus on it without a federal priority for it?
>> mr. berger. stand up a second. >> terrific question. that's really a terrific question. although we so forth -- we have ground up. we have a terrific set of regional directors and they work with the local education agencies to promote stem, to promote the first concept to bring it into their school with the funding. you need to work with organizations that have a local footprint. and many of the organizations in the education arena do. that is at least my opinion on it. >> if you are from a state in every state, every county has 4-h. one of the reasons nasa has take on the clbtd collaborating with deputy of agriculture in 4h is because we have fifty what you call it t land grant education.
that's fifty around the country. 4h is in hundreds of counties. every county in the country. so nasa teams with 4h. we provide the content. the information on science, engineering you name it and it gets out to every county in the country. so that is one way to get it to whoever asked the question about how do you get the schools to adopt, the use the funds for science and engineering and the like. we partnered with the department of education on 21st century communities in learning. same thing. trying to work with the states to get them to understand the absolute value of stem education in the fact that they have got to take this money and rinne vest it in giving their kids an opportunity about to get into stem education fields.
it's really up to you all to don't let them off the hook. because if you do it will end up being somebody's football stadium. >> i have a question about. >> please identify yourself. >> henry stevensen perez. i'm a physician. i specialize in helping people at an individual level grasp the concept that is staring us in the face. intelligence. i'm a cancer doctor. and we're changing the way we're thinking about cancer for a hundred year we were folksing on the cancer cells. and now we're focusing on the intelligence of the surrounding environment. and that is the only word we can use. intelligence. as scientists we don't have a word for that really. my question is simply this: if you think about how scientist,
or thoughtful people might think about the concept of intelligence in 1916 when brookings was started at the dawn of the industrial revolution or hundred years before that when we were solidly in the agricultural economy. we would have certainly come up with different definition ffrs what we how to intelligence was in 1816 versus 1916. here we are 2016 and i'm wondering if this is a good time just to think thoughtfully about what is intelligence in the 21st century as we start to retool the whole thing. thanks for your patience. >> terrific question. >> i think what you said was some of the most fundamental presumptions that we've made throughout time. you only went back to 1816. you can go back a thousand years before that. you can go back just a few hundred years before that. it is called the dark ages. and nobody in their own time
ever realized their -- i mean i doubt some monk in the dark ages said i got a great idea and got what could in the head and said don't you know this is the dark ages? today, cancer. my brother, ph.d. oncologist would say we shouldn't be treating the cells. we should be treating the disease, we should be treating the patience. and by the way it is the immune system. it is not the cell. it took a hundred years to get there and now we're starting to get somewhere. all you said i think was the fundamental perception of what we know and how we know what we know and how we're going to use that to move forward is more critical than ever because the world is moving faster than ever. and frankly all of those other jobs that you could have if you weren't so cerebral. you could make a living as a farmer. you could make a -- in your 1816: you could make a living in a production line in 1916.
today there is nothing left that. if could be done by menial labor it is being done by a machine or computer or robot. so what i think you said was going forward, intelligence and how to add real value to solving real problems is going to be the only way that humans can succeed and move forward because all of the rest of that stuff is going to look like the dark ages. which brings me back to saying collectively why don't we all make education the broadest tool everyone can possibly have. >> we talked about demand. there is no shortage of supply. the big question today is demand. we have now facilitated the potential success of a commercial space industry. why do i say potential success
of a commercial space industry? we now have more rockets and rocket companies than you can shake a stick at here in the u.s. so we have returned the ability to launch to u.s. shores. what are we lacking? a demand. a place for those things to go and for all of these astronauts that people claim they were going to open up the world for with commercial space because everybody wants to go to the international space station. we need more platforms in low earth orbit. on the international space station we work with the nih. we're looking -- dean mentioned the human immune system. we don't understand it. it goes through changes when you go into the microgravity environment of space. we learn -- we have learned a wlot over the 30, 40 years humans have been flying. we don't fully understand. we just finished the first ever
study in genomics. human genomics with the twin study. mark and scott kelly. identical twins. we'll get more new knowledge from the twin study than people ever thought was imaginable. we have the ability to do this as a nation and an international space community. but we've got to respond. we've got to provide the demand. we we've got to put more platforms out there. if you want to be a pharmaceutical developer, put a platform up in space where you can send the seeds for those pharmaceuticals without astronauts. astronauts are horrible when you want to do processing and pharmaceuticals development. because we got to exercise. and every time we get on a treadmill or a bicycle or something, you don't know it but the vehicle starts to shake. that drives the vehicles processer berzerk.
because you are introducing a astronaut who's got to exercise. so now you are shaking your stuff. take a small platform away from the international space station and put the pharmaceutical development there, and materials processing and you are going to get pure semi-conductors and the great drugs and all kind of stuff. that is the demand we don't have yet. everybody is sitting back rely ok ing on nasa to provide the --. we've got to create the demand for this supply that we are developing. >> about two-thirds of the way back. lady with her right hand up. >> my name is automatically lewis i'm with the national council on teacher quali eer eq. what are you suggestions for how
states and districts and incentivize talented individuals not only to pursue stem degrees -- >> quit tells girls they can't learn math and science. >> great question. >> i'll also say let's be realistic. while industry now with its shortages is willing to pay unbelievable premiums for kids that know engineering. the fact is the marketplace is saying if you have a degree in engining or mathematics, your opportunity to play two or three or four times as much as a teacher can makesies that whatever have been the challenges to get great people to be teachers, it is even tougher if they are science and technology teachers. my mom was a teacher. and i hate to say this. but i think an unintended consequence of preventing women, when my mom was a young woman
from going into business and doing all of the others things iffic that women should have a right to do and unintended benefit to consequences really smart passionate women went out to teach. they were smart enough to realize the most valuable thing this country has is all its kids and these incredibly talented women became the teachers. now these incredibly talented women, especially if they are learned might go somewhere else. as a pragmatic guy i would say it would be naive to assume you are going to be able to attract the best of the best of the world of tech and put them in a classroom. i also think they chose to be an engineer, scientist, whatever. they didn't choose to be a teacher. they may not be good as teaching. but my sports analogy. lebron james is not a phys ed teach. that's okay. he's there to create demand. and then the teachers have the skill sets to teach it.
i think what we ought to be doing and we've -- take them and let them be the role models. let them work with the schools. that's why we call them the mentors not the teachers and you get the best of all worlds. working directly with the kids. you don't have to pay them. you can't buy passion. they do it very effectively and they bring to the schools the world class capabilities to inspire the kids and then the teach versus no problem. the if the kids are passionate to learn the teachers will be do just fine. let's not try to define the problem of let's find a hundred thousand young scientists and engineers that will also suddenly want to become teachers would be good teachers and then we could finally pay them. none of those assertions will likely to happen quickly.
but instead let's say let's create a partnership between great schools. let them have access to first and let's get the whole tech community to be there cheering for these kids and helping to be their role models. that we can do. >> thank you very much for coming here. >> little closer to your mouth, sir. >> i'm reminded of cheryl sandberg and jeff bosa bezos favorite book "wrinkle in time." and it is a fascinating book. which inspires individuals who are at a k level. at a sixth grade level.
even at the high school level. i'm just curious if stem would create or if you could somehow put that type of passion where you could actually -- when you are reading that type of book. which is again maybe 250 pages so a quick easy read, where you can inspire that kind of passion and creativity through graphic novel, comic books, through games. >> first i have to tell you, jeff bezos is pretty cool. but we formed a thing called the mothers of invention at first. and jeff bezos has a mother, jackie. and a father mike. who i was on the phone with this morning. they came to the championship. they are huge sponsors. huge supporters. i bet based on how what you said we could --. your point, i think inspiring
young kids to see how accessible and how much fun science and technology is the simplest and most effective solution to what's been the big concern of industry and government in this country of just how much we lag the rest of the world. and it is again you can say it over and over and over again it isn't the schools problem. and they won't be able to fix it. we need the fix it. the business of america has always been business. and if we decide as a culture we're going to promote something, it works. we're not 29th in the world in the olympics. and they are all amateur athletes. this country needs to focus in a real hurry. we're in a race with catastrophe. and i don't want catastrophe to win. but inspiring kids by whatever means it takes is going to be the solutions. >> science fairs. i fell in love with science when i was in seventh grade. and i thank two teachers.
one my seventh grade teacher who introduced me to a signs fair. i never did not do one after that. he said you don't have to do a big project. just do one. if you are going to get a grade in my class you are going to do a science fair project. so it was a classroom science fair that went then to the school. the president, you know, the reason he brings hundreds of kids to washington d.c. every year is to try to emphasize the critical importance of allowing a student to participate in something that is available to every single student. and it doesn't require a lot of money. my first one was getting a solar cell and having it ring a ball whenever i took a flashlight. that is pretty basic. but getting kids into science fairs. that is -- you can do that in elementary and junior high school. you won't catch everybody but some of them will be hooked. math fairs. you could go on and on and on. >> ma'am, all the way in the
back, please. and this will be the last question. >> i'm rebecca clim, often times known as the numbers lady. and i want too talk about adding -- i used to teach university. i taught high school, middle school and now i work from the beginning to get young kids interested in invention and building. and i challenge you all. it can be cone from preschool ph.d.. number on lils where the numbers lives and they are building the town. i start at maker fairs. i'm at science fairs. i'm out there and i teach teachers how they can bring activities into their room. they are afraid they won't have time for the tests but i show them how the kids get so engaged with my patterns on puzzles and building. and it is a math teacher. and math is now fun. it is not out of a textbook. so i'd love to talk to you about bringing it down even lower. and i love having the parents be busy while the kids are busy so
they don't do it for them. so i have things for them of all ages. it is called building. numberopolis. i'll be at the matteo maker fair. i do maker fairs all over and inventor fairs and have the kids from young ages create puzzles and create houses that reflect numeric patterns and shapes! thank you very much for that unpaid commercial. well done. no that's very important what you are doing. gentlemen in the back with the blazer. >> last november you said the united states should include china human space program but congress still bind on that kind of collaboration, so why do you think it is necessary for the two countries work on the space program? and do you think in the near
future is it possible for the two countries to start working on such programs? >> you know, i think what we do today with china as a partner in areas other than human space flight. it is a matter of law that we can't do bilateral activities with china in human space flight. and i believe it will happen one of these days. it is not something which i'm presently focused. but we co-work with china on incredible base on looking at earth science. himalayas. looking at earthquakes. and even looking at some aspects of lunar science. so you take what you can get. and you go. one thing different between nasa and a company. government is inherently slow. if you want to work inside the environment you have to be patient.
am i happy? no. but are we making progress? yes. so would have been these days no one would have ever dreamed, you know, before the berlin wall fell that the u.s. and the form erp soviet union would be collaborating in space. today as a matter of fact as a direct wall of things it was a geopolitical decision. we needed to find somewhere for soviet, now russian scientists and engineers to go so they wouldn't do bad things. what better place to send them to collaborate in building an international space station. a lot of people think that the international space station started with russia and the u.s. russia was the last of the five partners to be brought in. and and president clinton directed nasa to integrate russia into the international space station.
today they are one of our five partners. and a key partner. so patience is virtue. it will happen in time. it won't happen during my tenure as the nasa administrator. i go with the president. when the president leaves i leave. but it will happen. be patient. >> in a world where we tend to concentrate way too much on confrontation. it is with u.s. and china and russia we can find a lot of common ground on the area of space and technology. >> it is a hatred to hate people. and -- if you choose not to. i guarantee they are going to stay really bad people. a lot of people don't like to hear that. but we spend a lot of time dealing with people who want to be like us, want what we have
but don't know how to go it so we try to go out and try to teach him. that's what the general still does today and his wife is wishing that he quit but it is in his blood. >> there are stale forest of hands going up. and i think that indicates how rich this panel has been. let me just ask each of our two guests if they would like to make a couple minutes of summary comments and we'll go from there. >> i think i've said enough. i want you to remember that your space agency is on a journey to mars. we have lots of things we co-that aren't just human someplace flight. we have an incredible science program. we look at planet, our own planet earth and the sun and we b look at astrophysics. how did we get here? and is there life elsewhere? and stem education is our number one product. we spend $19.3 billion every
year on it. >> and you heard we have to everyo engage our enemies. otherwise they will just become a bigger enemy. gracious professionism. you heard charlie point out these robots are fiercely competing in the two minute rounds and then in the pits the teams help each other when one of them has a broken axle. and gracious professionalism along with coopetition that all the teams cooperate so we all end up with the best of the best. and it is part of the culture of firsts. i started by saying this. i'll end by saying this. in a free culture and there is no culture freer than america. it is either your briggs strength or your biggest weakness. even kids are free in this
country. they have a bill of rights. they don't have a bill of responsibilities. >> that's next panel. >> it's incumbent to inspire kids to do it because they have a passion for it. and if we're going to recognize that in this country of ours where we get the best of what we celebrate. if where he want the best of science, technology, global competitiveness, security we've got give people a vehicle that is so appealing it is competing for their hearts and minds with what use to be the national pas times and subtractidistractions. that are great as long as they are in the right proportion. and we've created a model that's scaleable. every major tech company. every loves it. but you heard charlie point out that government moves slowly and the great irony is nothing is moving faster these days than technology and getting government and teachers into the
classroom is not a likely solution. you need hands on, real learning that develops passion. we have the model. you need to figure mow to get government to be a catalyst to make it available to every kid quickly. if you don't. we will all suffer. >> ladies and gentlemen, tom brokaw uses a term the greatest generation. he used it in implication for the outcome of world war ii and americans and our partners who had stood on the ramparts and defeated an existential enemy. i would contend though there is a new greatest generation and general bolden and i and his son jay have seen them in action. but when you saw the bright faces on that video here this morning. that is the new greatest generation. the greatest generation that will propel this country and our friends and sometimes our opponents who will become our friends to another level of human existence. and this kind of a conversation
here are a portion-his remarks. >> this is a simple case in my mind. when congress asks you a question you are expected to give a honest ans answer and compliance is not optional. if they asked you for those materials you are expected to produce those materials and if you don't they are going to take you do court and they are probably going to win. the irs targeting scandal was un-american. the irs with was the most powerful entity in the united states. in fairness mr. k was there. he was brought in by obama. from my perspective he made it
worse. the irs is no stranger to a summarize or a s&p. they know how this works. on average they issue about 66,000 summons and subpoenas per year. and they have since 2010. failure to obey is a criminal violation under 26 us c-section 7210 and carries a fine up a fine of thousand dollars and year in imprint. if you don't comply the irs is going to come after you. they do prosecute. again, compliance with the subpoena is not optional. providing false testimony before congress comes with a consequence. at least it should. it is a crime. mr. cost anyone did not tell the truth to congress. he provided false testimony and
failed to comply with a subpoena. he could have prevented evidence from being destroyed and he didn't. and he didn't tell the truth about it. americanss are frustrate gd about the targeting scandal and lack of accountedability but the case before is us about mr. cost anyone and what he did and did not do which apparently provided the american people from what went wrong with their government. and there can't be full accountability because the evidence was destroyed on his watch and under subpoena. the remedy given us in the constitution is impeachment. as the remedy designed for congress as the co-equal vice. the senate gives its advice and consent on confirming presidential appointments but our founders in the constitution also gave us an opportunity to remove somebody if they are serving the best interests of the united states of america. the senate has an equal opportunity and the safety valve
to pull somebody out of there finish congress is impeachment. hasn't been done often enough. and i think we must stand up for ourself. >> we're here today because this resolution fails by every measure that i have learned of in the course of the it arises sad to say from the worst partisan instincts. it is not based in the facts.
and it has virtually no chance of success in my view in the senate. commissioner koskinen from what i can determine is a good and decent civil servant. took office months after the so called targeting scandal had conclude. he then undertook a massive effort to respond to each of the investigations into the matter. we are here today to consider the allegation that the commissioner deliberately misled congress as a part of those efforts. the claim is not that we disagree with his decisions. or that we question the speed and complete rns with which his
agency provided answers. but that he knowingly and intentionally supplied us with false information. mr. chairman and my colleagues the record simply does not support this charge. these allegations were investigated. he concluded and i quote no evidence was uncovered at any irs employees have been directed to destroy or hide information from congress, the department of justice or the inspector general. in addition career investigators at the department of justice also looked into these claims. they also found, and i quote again, no evidence that any official involved in the handling of the tax exempt
applications or irs leadership attempted to obstruct justice, end quotation. it is no wonder then that we have read reports of speaker ryan doing his best to make certain this measure never reaches the floor of the house, as speaker boehner did before him. it is also not a surprise that many in the republican conference have been critical of the tactics that forced this hearing. representati representative for the subcommittee on tax policy has argued that this hearing is a waste of time and potentially damaging to our priorities. he told reporters last week, if we do this, it is going further delay the investigation. i think it is time to move on,
end quotation. senator orrin hatch, the chairman of the senate finance committee, has said that there is simply no interest in impeachment activity in the united states senate. where a 2/3 vote would be required for any conviction. when asked about commissioner koskinen, senator hatch said we have a very different experience with him. we can have our disagreements with him. but that doesn't mean that there is an impeachable offense. and he added for the most part he's been very cooperative with us. so summarize mr. chairman. the proposed articles have been debunked.
the investigation itself, by independent investigators. the resolution faces stiff bipartisan opposition in the house and even worsz odds in the united states senate. there are precious few working days left in this congress. i am personally disappointed we plan to spend not only just a day but an additional day in june discussing these instantiated claims. if it is at all possible chairman, please consider returning the second day to the substantive work of this committee. in any event i urge you to lead us past this distraction quickly and back to the work of some actual benefit to the american people. and i thank you for the time. and i yield back.
>> and that portion from earlier today. you can watch the entire hearing tonight on the c-span networks and any time on our website at c-span dotting or. the hill has these story today.. the hill has these story today. calls on him to resign. speaking to a group of reporters yesterday the secretary said that the department should not be measuring how long a veteran waits for appointment but veteran satisfaction instead.
s. >> bad acts to justice. including those operating from oversaesz. we recently took a step in this direction by unanimously approving ranking member nelson and senator fish sheers anti-spoofing legislation as part of the act. our discussion today is not only about policing abusing and harassing practices and stopping bad actors we must also acknowledge most businesses are trying to do the right thing and
play by the rule. when congress passed dcpa cell phones were uncommon and mobile service was expensive. it made sense to have strict rules. today however mobile phones are not only yubiquitous but smart devices that do much more than send and receive phone calls. consumer behavior is much more different than in 1991. expectations about connectivity and benefits of better contact would be unrecognizable to congress 25 years ago. more than 90% of americans now have a mobile phone. and nearly half of all households in the united states are mobile only. these percentages are even higher for young adults. simply put, if you can't reach these people on their mobile phones you are going to have a hard time reaching them at all. the balance forged decades ago may now be missing the mark and consumers may be missing the
benefits of otherwise reasonable and legitimate business practice t the for all communications commission was tasked with assuring a balanced application of dcpa. the commission has struggled to apply tcba. the commission's rules have created more questions rather that be answers. what is auto dialer? the sec declared last year it would not address the exact contours of the auto dialer definition or seek to determine comprehensively each type of equipment that falls within that definition. hospitals, utilities banks and restaurants should not have to engage engineers and attorneys in order to know if they can call their customers without being sued. another example so what to do is
a customers number has been reassigned. what is certain however if a phone number has been rei signed and you call it more than once you could be liable for $500 per call. even if the new party never answers. tcpa litigation has also become a booming business. they are the second most filled in courts. with 710 filed last year alone. that represents a 45% increase over 2014. and the companies affected by an unbalanced tcpa may surprise you. for example twitter stated the following in a filing at the sec and i quote. as a result of this hyperlitigious environment innovative companies must choose between --. no company should be put to such a choice. the cost of getting the balance
wrong isn't just burdensome litigation. it is also the cost to the consumers and the economy of the important consumer contact that is not being made for fear of running afoul of an ill defined rule. text messages. calls to struggling low income households. know how to keep the heat from getting cutoff. calls to alert risk of defaulting on debts and ruining credit ratings. and follow up calls to patients to make sure they understand their postdischarge treatment plans. another specific matter that will be discussed today is the obama administration's carve out to allow --. the administration used last year must pass bipartisan act. the committee reached out to office of management budget t department of the treasury and department of education to testify about why the
administration's prioritize this row bow call carve out for years. unfortunately obama administration is not represented before us today but we'll continue to see its input. we have a variety of perspectives represented on the panel today and i look forward to hearing your testimony and appreciate very much your participation with us, thank you. i recognize the member from florida. ranking member senator nelson. >> plmp mr. chairman, if you go anywhere in this country and you ask a consumer do you want to receive robo calls or you ask
would you like to receive robo calls on a cell phone you may get the cell phone thrown at you. there are few things that ignite people like robo calls. it goes on and on. it is a sentiment that nearly all of us share. and that is why for the last 25 years the laws have sided with consumers. the number of consumer complaints about robo calls regardless of the laws continue to increase. the sec receives 10s of thousands of robo call complaints every month. and we all have stories to tell.
one of our friends signed up for a line service one morning. and by the afternoon before he had given his new number to his family and friends, his phone was being flood by robo calls. so he gave up the land line. in fact how many of us know friends at home that have given up the landline and just use the cell phone for that exact same reason. they don't want the robo calls. most of us, our cell phone is our lifeline. and if we allow those annoying robo calls to begin freely bombarding folks, where do the consumers go to escape the harassment?
so what would happen is they would start to ignore the numbers so they don't have to hear another recording only to miss an important call. or what about the senior citizens? and how about low income americans? many of those consumers have calling plans that are restricted in the number of minutes that they can use every month. so opening the flood gates to wireless robo calls to those individuals would have an immediate adverse effect. or what about driving down the road. just like i was this morning, damaging in and out of traffic. coming across the 395 bridge. people cutting in front of me
and me having to slam on the brakes. and suddenly you get a call and you want to answer it. but it is not something important. it is a robo call. and therefore the distracted driving. and where would all of that end. so the frustration is there. also because of fraudulent callers. scammers are always going to be a problem. we have tried to address that directly on in a bipartisan way with the chairman, thanks to his leadership. senator fischer and i have teamed up on our bill to combat spoofing. and that is why i'd also like us to see a revamped, improved "do not call" list.
now, obviously there are legitimate businesses and other reason reasons for wireless phones. but there is already one. just get the users consent. policy makers are often in damage of losing sight to what is actually out there in america. and there is no doubt. ask that question of any american consumer. so i want to thank you mr. chairman for calling this hearing. to shed light on the distaste of american consumers about these annoying calls. >> thank you senator nelson. all right. we'll get under way. we have today the honorable greg
zoeller. attorney general for the state of indiana. mr. becka wall kwis. mr. margaret saunders. mr. rich loefich. testifying on behalf of the american association of administrative management. >> we do in the state of indiana receive remarkable number of complaints each year. i think last year it was somewhere around 14,000 calls. the largest number of complaints in our consumer protection area.
over half of those robo calls specifically. we've successfully defended that statute up through the federal courts up to the seventh circuit court of appeals really talking about how we do not allow these calls for any -- any other than those like senator nelson mention have had opted in. so the schools and the pharmacies and the people that you referred to in terms of important calls have opted in and we do have those that are still being heard. but i think the points that i want to make, i've got written testimony i've submitted but i'll summarize briefly. that really the focus of our attention has been on maintaining the protection of our own statutes so the recent
budget poll now challenges the ability of our state to defend our own statute. since we did not have any exceptions we could claim that there is no, let's say, unconstitution unconstitutional. challenges the constitutionality. and according to our read of the 7th circuit court of apeelts and our own defense i think we've got risks now. whether that exception might raise the question about whether it's unconstitutional distinguishing between certain types of calls. so we have a blanket exception. it's been very effective. and we have been able to defend. but based on the fact that we did not have those types of
exceptions that now the federal government has allowed. just briefly i'll say that in the last month alone, according to u-mail which is a national robo call index they estimate 2.5 billion robo calls were made in the month of march. so again, the barrage of this. i quite frankly had to ask my staff whether that was a legitimate number because i couldn't believe it. but unless someone wants to argue the other side i'll just leave it that that is the only number we've got in terms of the volume of these. we do have a very specific sense of what a robo call, the auto dialer, is. when it can blast out 10,000 calls per minute, as the robo caller. and when you say you get a call on a new line, it is not that they actually called you. they called everybody in the area code.
so within hour and a half you can literally call everybody in washington d.c. we've heard from a number of companies that they really need the opportunity to call cell phones. but again, i will side with senator nelson's view that we -- that is the last link in terms of the ability to communicate, since most of us have long since pulled out our land line due to the robo calling abuse. and again most is from overseas. so again not something that either state attorneys general or the federal government can address. frankly the problems that we have with robo calls. i've warned all of the citizens of our state that if it is a robo call you should assume it is a scam artist. it is really the best tool for scam artists. so any team you see these calls we've trabd the people of indiana hang up as quickly as you can. because frankly anything you
said or do will be sold to others. the information that you are going to be home on a wednesday at 10:30 is now known by the people who have that same time and place. knowing you'll be home, the likelihood, again, the risk to seniors is where we see this. the use of this technology to collect data when we talk about scam artists you're really talking about the old version of a confidence man. the more they understand about you, the more they can win over your confidence. and knowing when you're going to be home, time, place, and the ability to target people with the amount of information. the risk to consumers are not just the harassment. this is the number one tool to gain the information that the
scam artists are using to bilk particularly the seniors in our state. i'll finally just say we were very disappointed with the exception that was carved out. without this type of hearing we're having a hearing after the fact of the budget bill which, again, the chairman noticed that it was put in without this kind of attention. i'm representing it now 25 attorneys general who have asked you take up the hang up act. which would take that back out. so why we've made an exception which, again, risks the constitutionality defense, plus you're targeting particularly the younger students who are using their cell phone and now that we've managed to run up a $1.3 trillion of student loan debt that will be the number one target. we're worried about where this ends. we're against creating a safe harbor. number of reasons we can go through. but, finally, i would just say that the point that -- for years, 25 years now of having
the tcpa, there's always been the opportunity for legitimate businesses to ask people to opt in. we have new programs that you may want to know about. please sign up and we won't harass you. we'll use it very specifically. you can always opt out. but we've never seen anyone really go through this process of asking consumers whether they would like to get a robo call. so, again, without the trial of going through the process of trying to get people's opt in consent, the assumption should be made that people don't want this and businesses know that will never get people to sign up for a robo call unless they can argue the case to their own customers. this shouldn't be something that the federal government allows, that the people that you represent have made it clear that they don't want. thank you.
>> thank you very much. >> good morning. that was my good mornings. i'm honored to represent the u.s. chamber of commerce and the chamber of institute for legal reform testifying before you today. the context for my knowledge about the tcpa is that for over a decade i've defended various companies sued under the tcpa for variety of communications. so i've been a first hand witness to the growing cottage industry of plaintiffs lawyers who have been targeting american businesses. i can confirm in the past few years the problem with tcpa litigation abuse have only worsened. we need your help. over incentified plaintiffs and an anti-business 2015 order from the fcc have led to an explosion of litigation in our country. litigation that is less about
protecting consumers and more about driving a multimillion dollar commercial enterprise of tcpa lawsuits. the suits are not about marketing calls and not about the kinds of robo calls we were hearing out. robo calls are the indiscriminate calls trying to get someone to pick up the phones. robo calls are not what my plaintiffs. a customer's credit card payment is rejected. the customer has provided a telephone number as their point of contact to the company. the company then contacts the customer, to let them know your credit card has been rejected. if they don't know that. this is trying to provide information to a customer. the biggest drive of litigation now is if that number has been reassigned and the company has
no knowledge about the reassignment. who they then send the message to ends up being a new owner. that's what driving a big chunk of litigation now. you now have someone that says i didn't consent to get the call. especially if they don't inform the company the calls can roll in for other reasons. then you now have 40 calls, i want my $20,000. and you get the demand. this is what companies are facing over and over again. the tcpa does not provide for attorney fees. it's clear lawsuits are a lawyer driven business at this point. attorneys fees awards are dwarfing what consumers receive. the average attorneys fees awarded was $2.4 million. the average class members award would be $4.12. it's not just large companies
who are finding themselves targeted. small businesses throughout the country are finding themselves brought into court when they had no intention of fighting any law. they had no knowledge of the tcpa. i have a client who has six employees. and found me on the internet because i talk about tcpa and took on their case. and if they can't -- they're not sure what to do they're going to have to shutter their business and fire their employees if they can't get past the lawsuit that's being brought on a class action basis by someone who received a call at a reassigned number. small businesses throughout the country, a wide range of industries. you have literally thousands of different companies are being sued under the tcpa. social media companies, electric companies, banks, sports teams, pharmacies, family owned plumbing companies.
ski resort. accountant. local dentist office. they've found themselves facing lawsuits. and these are not spoofing robo calls. these are legitimate communications that these companies are trying to make. the tcpa is not only a liability trap it's a vicarious liability trap as well. for example, there's companies that make no calls. they have no telemarketing, no interaction with consumers such as manufacturers. and they're finding themselves getting dragged into tcpa litigation on the argument that your product name was mentioned in the spoofed robo call i received. and because your name was mentioned you're on the hook and you are responsible. and this is a problem because you have companies with deep pockets now in litigations having to defend themselves on a class action basis. where the statutory damages are so potentially annihilating it forces settlements rather than a
defense. i provided examples in my witness statement of some of the litigation abuse such as the pennsylvania woman who subscribes to 35 phones and carries them in a suit case with her. so she can jot down all the calls she gets. she chooses area codes from florida areas so that they are more likely to have potentially socio economically depressed conditions. she waits for reassigned numbers to come in and brings hundreds of suits. i mentioned the ohio man who was so resistant to putting his number on the do not call list he fought up through the ohio supreme court to be able to keep getting calls because he wanted to bring suits under them, didn't want to be on the do not call list. there are a lot of plaintiffs making their living now at tcpa plaintiffs. i provided examples of tcpa attorneys who are behind quite a bit of litigation abuse. it's been 25 years since the
tcpa was drafted. and the equipment that was focused on was equipment that doesn't even exist anymore. the original intent of the tcpa is something i discuss in part two of my statement. i ask you to review that. to think about the changes that need to made. i make suggestions in part five of my statement. i'm here today to sum up the voice of thousands of businesses. that congress will update the tcpa and alleviate the intolerable and unfair businesses that are being placed on them. >> thank you, ms. saunders? >> chairman thune, members of the committee, thank you very much for inviting me to testify today on behalf of the nartiona consumer law center and eight other national groups that
collectively represent million of american consumers. we believe robo calls cause a severe problem. we ask that you defend the tcpa and work to strengthen it. 25 years ago, the tcpa was passed because of the complaints about robo calls which are still pouring in. robo calls cost only a tiny fraction of a penny per call. making it cheaper for businesses to make the calls than to be careful about who they are calling. the tcpa was designed today insure that consumers control who robo calls them on their cell phone, by requiring express consent before the calls can be made. unless there is an emergency and many of the examples that senator thune raised were exceptions that were already in the law. the industry is making extravagant claims about