Partisan hackery has resulted in two amazing feats of fail for education and learning.
First is the story of the COMPETES bill. As reported by Science Insider, it was:
“5-year authorization bill that would have provided healthy increases in the research and education budgets of the National Science Foundation and research programs at the Department of Energy and the Department of Commerce.”
If there are places where money needs to be funneled, it is certainly in science research and education.
This bill passed through the bipartisan House Science and Technology Committee after much back and forth.
“After wading through dozens of amendments, the committee approved the bill (H.R. 5116) on a 29-8 vote with all the no votes coming from Republicans. It would reauthorize the 2007 America COMPETES Act for five years and authorize about $82 billion in funding for the bill’s programs. The overall funding was reduced by 10 percent after the panel approved a manager’s amendment that stretched the timeline to 2017 for doubling authorized funding for R&D activities at the National Science Foundation, National Institute of Standards and Technology, and the Energy Department’s Office of Science. The 2007 law called for doubling research funding at these agencies by 2014.”
That seems like how it should work. Congressmen from both sides of the aisle working together, a little push and pull and voila, we have something that could be agreed on.
Then the first fistfull of stupid raised its ugly head.
Rep. Ralph Hall (R-TX), the ranking member of the House science committee, introduced a motion to recommit, a last-ditch effort to change a bill by sending it back to the committee with mandatory instructions.
In this case, Republicans included a provision that would bar the federal government from paying the salaries of employees who’ve been disciplined for viewing pornography at work.
But it didn’t end there.
“The GOP motion also stopped all funding authorizations in two years as opposed to the five years contained in the original bill, abolished each new program established through the legislation, and froze all existing programs at their current funding levels until the federal budget is balanced.”
Ultimately it was voted to kill the bill and reintroduce it later. What did our rather well paid and looked-after Congressmen net us? Zero. The GOP took something good that would create jobs and innovation and butchered it in the name of partisan politics.
Onto the second fistful of stupid – the ongoing travesty that is the Texas Board of Education and their hijacking of educational textbooks. By now you should know their shenanigans, so instead of wadding into that pile of crap here’s just a bunch of quotes from them.
“We are adding balance,” said Dr. Don McLeroy, the leader of the conservative faction on the board, after the vote. “History has already been skewed. Academia is skewed too far to the left.”
“There are seven members of the conservative bloc on the board, but they are often joined by one of the other three Republicans on crucial votes. There were no historians, sociologists or economists consulted at the meetings, though some members of the conservative bloc held themselves out as experts on certain topics.”
“I reject the notion by the left of a constitutional separation of church and state,” said David Bradley, a conservative from Beaumont who works in real estate. “I have $1,000 for the charity of your choice if you can find it in the Constitution.”
David, I’ll counter you by offering you $2,000 if you can find anything in the Constitution or Bill of rights that mentions that this is a Christian nation or that it should have anything to do with the bible.
“Cynthia Dunbar, a lawyer from Richmond who is a strict constitutionalist and thinks the nation was founded on Christian beliefs, managed to cut Thomas Jefferson from a list of figures whose writings inspired revolutions in the late 18th century and 19th century, replacing him with St. Thomas Aquinas, John Calvin and William Blackstone. (Jefferson is not well liked among conservatives on the board because he coined the term “separation between church and state.”)”
Taking all this into account I am left wondering what these fine defenders of conservatism expect people to learn. Perhaps America will once again become the leader of banging two rocks together and dressing like Puritans.