It is time for members of Congress, and Americans in general, to come to terms with the anti-science, anti-technology, anti-education agenda spewing from the Trump administration, and members of the extremist element of the Republican Party, that is threatening the formation of a forward thinking American agenda that will prepare us to face the educational, science and technology challenges of the future.
In the area of public education, Trump’s proposed budget would cut $2.25 billion from a program that provides federal grants to states to train and recruit teachers and would trim another $43 million from a different program that offers professional development and training to current and prospective teachers. Other cuts would hit federal work study and literacy grants. The Trump administration has called these critical programs “unnecessary and burdensome on the budget.” (Michael Gerstein, Detroit News, August 1, 2017)
Even more alarming, Trump’s proposed budget calls for the elimination of the Department of Energy’s innovation lab (the “Advanced Research Projects Agency — Energy”) and slashes funding for ALL of our key national science and medical labs, which provide the basic research for the very next-gen technologies in which China is now massively investing. And he has not yet named a science advisor. (Thomas L. Friedman, New York Times Op-ed, August 2, 2017),
Climate change denial is also deeply entrenched in Trumpian and Republican thinking as evidenced by Trump’s calls to defund climate change science initiatives throughout federal agencies, including NASA’s satellite programs that help monitor from space, weather patterns, developing storm systems, changes in the polar ice caps and ocean temperatures. Not to mention slashing funding for the Environmental Protection Agency, the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, the Clean Water Act, and countless environmental protections to benefit huge corporations like Exxon, Dow Chemical, and big agriculture.
All this portends, if Congress does not act to oppose these draconian cuts, that America will fail to prepare itself to face the challenges of the future. We are already falling behind the rest of the world including China, India and Europe in developing government funded, clean energy initiatives that are necessary to thwart man-made climate change, and remove us from the dependence on oil and gas that are fueling our expensive wars in the Middle East that are displacing millions of people and inflaming the refugee crisis Trump is exploiting to exacerbate xenophobia and fear of the other.
It is imperative therefore, that the Republican Congress drop the anti-science, anti-climate change, anti-public education rhetoric that is poisoning our public discourse, and encourages partisan gridlock. I urge members of Congress to draft a bipartisan budget proposal for 2018 that expands funding for public education, and science and technology programs that will prepare Americans to face the climate, environmental, medical, educational, and clean energy challenges of the future.