Democratic and Republican Senators and Representatives Commend Release of Report on Education, International Security,

  Democratic and Republican Senators and Representatives Commend Release of
  Report on Education, International Security, Competitiveness, and Culture


Report of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences Commission on the Humanities
& Social Sciences warns against declining emphasis on humanities and social

PR Newswire

WASHINGTON, June 19, 2013

WASHINGTON, June 19, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --Democratic and Republican
lawmakers today turned a spotlight on the urgent need to re-focus the country
on maintaining national excellence in the humanities and social sciences—and
how failure to do so will have consequences at home and abroad for the future
of American education, security, and competitiveness.

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Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Mark Warner (D-VA) and Representatives Tom
Petri (R-WI) and David Price (D-NC) came together on Capitol Hill this morning
to accept a report, prepared at their request, by the American Academy of Arts
& Sciences Commission on the Humanities and Social Sciences.

The report titled The Heart of the Matter, presented by Commission co-chairs,
Richard H. Brodhead, President of Duke University, and John Rowe, retired
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Exelon Corporation, looks at the vital
role of the humanities and social sciences in preparing and sustaining
Americans for the responsibility of productive citizenship in the United
States and the world.

The Heart of the Matter focuses on five areas of concern—K-12 Education; Two-
and Four-Year Colleges; Research; Cultural Institutions and Lifelong Learning;
and International Security and Competitiveness—and makes recommendations to
achieve three goals:

  oEducate Americans in the knowledge, skills, and understanding needed to
    thrive in a 21^st century democracy:

       oInvest in the preparation of citizens with a thorough grounding in
         history, civics, and social studies.
       oIncrease access to online resources, including teaching material

  oFoster an innovative, competitive, and strong society.

       oTo ensure the vibrancy of humanities and social science programs at
         all levels, philanthropists, states, and the federal government
         should significantly increase funding designated for these purposes.
       oCreate a Humanities Master Teacher Corps to complement the STEM
         Master Teacher Corps recently proposed by the White House.

  oEquip the nation for leadership in an interconnected world.

       oDevelop a "Culture Corps" that would match interested adults
         (retirees, veterans, artists, library and museum personnel) with
         schools, community centers, and other organizations to transmit
         humanistic and social scientific expertise from one generation to the
       oExpand education in international affairs and transnational studies.

"The American character is defined not by ethnicity—Americans come from many
countries, races, religions, and cultures—but by a common set of ideals and
principles that unite us as a country," said Senator Alexander. "Those ideals
and principles have always been shared and learned through the study of
history, philosophy and literature, but today their study is at risk. This
report is a first step to highlighting the importance of, and ensuring a
future for, our nation's humanities' education—and our unique American
character as well."

Senator Warner added, "I commend all the members of the Commission for their
hard work on 'The Heart of the Matter.' Having a strong knowledge of civics,
comprehensive reading and writing skills, and an appreciation of history are
important for a well-rounded member of the 21^st century world. We must use
this report as a foundation to continue to engage with the public on how best
to keep our humanities and social sciences robust."

Congressman Petri noted that, "Knowledge and promotion of the humanities and
social sciences are absolutely important so that citizens have a firm
understanding of our nation's unique history, culture, and heritage. I hope
the recommendations in this report will be seriously considered to improve the
teaching and understanding of the humanities and social sciences."

"The humanities and social sciences help us understand where we've come from
and who we are as a people, and that understanding points us toward the
endeavors we must undertake to help every person reach their full potential,"
said Representative Price. "Studies in these areas are critically important to
a well-rounded education and the future of our country. This report comes at
a crucial moment, and I hope it will help raise the profile of the humanities,
provide a better understanding of their value, and spur a national
conversation about how the humanities and social sciences keep our nation
strong and competitive."

"Today's leaders in business, government, the military and diplomacy must be
able to analyze, interpret, communicate, and understand other cultures," said
President Brodhead, co-chair of the Commission. "This report will remind
Americans that a broad-based and balanced education, integrating the sciences,
the humanities, and the social sciences, is the best way to equip our citizens
to approach the complex problems of our rapidly changing world."

"The humanities and social sciences comprise many of the things that give life
meaning," said Commission co-chair John Rowe, "both at the highest level and
in our day-to-day activities. They need more public and private support and
compared to other things a little money goes a long way."

Today's release of The Heart of the Matter launches a national conversation
about the importance of the Humanities and Social Sciences to America's

A short companion film, The Heart of the Matter, produced by Emmy®
Award-winning filmmakers Ewers Brothers Productions also was released today.
Appearing in the film are producer, screenwriter, and director George Lucas,
actor John Lithgow, cellist Yo-Yo Ma, and documentary filmmaker Ken Burns.

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, a steadfast supporter of the humanities and
arts in this country, provided primary funding for the Commission on the
Humanities and Social Sciences. The Carnegie Corporation of New York also
provided important funding.

The views expressed in this report are those of the Commission on the
Humanities and Social Sciences and not necessarily those of the Officers and
Fellows of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

SOURCE American Academy of Arts & Sciences

Contact: Felicia Knight, 207 831 5676,,
or Jill Valley-Orlando, 808-271-3624,
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