The Fires Of Ignorance

Education. Its what separates us from every other species on Earth and it has the power to make us greater than other nations in the world. But over the last few decades, the United States has been getting trounced by many other nations, especially in the areas of math and science. In an effort to update schools, get more people in them, and make our scores go up, President Obama has been calling for increased funding to all things education. But that’s not what Republicans want.

If Republicans have their way, education funding will be cut down to a bare minimum in their effort to trim a budget that they inflated by their wars. But instead of trimming a tremendous amount of defense spending, they have chosen to focus on destroying education. And it’s happening around the country in many Republican controlled states as well. So what’s on the chopping block and why would Republicans target this stuff?

Republicans are proposing cuts of $873 million from energy research and $886 million from the 10 national labs that operate the nation’s heavy-duty physics facilities. The reason? Republicans are oil crazy. They want Americans to be dependent on oil so they kill research that would make Americans energy independent. If better, cheaper forms of energy are delayed or stopped all together, it keeps oil companies rich and keeps the pockets of Republican politicians filled. It makes perfect sense to me.

Republicans want to prohibit the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration from funding a Climate Service, part of a $338 million cut to NOAA research that would track global warming and monitor the Gulf of Mexico’s health. Of course Republicans want to do this. They care nothing about the climate or environment and would rather us not learn about how bad an oil spill can be for our waterways and how fossil fuels contribute to climate change. This is all about keeping information from the American people and keeping them dependent on oil.

Republicans are cutting funds from all federal science agencies, such as NSF, NIST and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The GOP is proposing to bring the National Institute of Health back to its 2008 level of about $29.4 billion and setting the National Science Foundation’s budget $150 million below its 2010 level. Well, that’s an easy one. Republicans hate science. They would rather us believe their voodoo science and Bible rants than listen to actual facts. Cutting the National Science Foundation and the National Institute of Health in addition to the CDC puts the health of Americans at risk. Cancer research and research for many other diseases and afflictions would be cut, perhaps hurting the chance of finding cures. Republicans want research to be undertaken solely by the private sector which has proven time and time again that they value profit over lives. This means the private sector would want to hold back cures for diseases such as cancer so they can continue to rake in billions on traditional cancer treatments and treatments for other diseases. Republican politicians make tons of cash from big pharmaceutical companies, and if government research comes up with cures, it cuts the amount of change in Republican coffers.

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Republicans also plan to eliminate federal funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which funds and supports programs like the Public Broadcasting System’s (PBS) “Sesame Street” and “NewsHour,” as well as National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered” and “Morning Edition,” among others. NPR receives only about two percent of its funding from the federal government. For PBS, it is about 15 percent. The federal government provided about $420 million to the CPB, amounting to about one one?hundredth of one percent of the total budget. Yet why do Republicans want to destroy it? Why do they hate Sesame Street? Well first off, Republicans perceive the CPB as being a liberal station, which is completely ridiculous. Even when Republicans control ALL of government, the CPB hasn’t changed the way it reports. If anything, the CPB is the least biased source of news to be found. Republicans just do not like the fact that CPB reports the facts as they are. And why do they hate Sesame Street? I think the answer has a lot to do with the culture wars as much as it has to do with Republican hatred of anything that educates children. For instance, Elmo is red, Big Bird is yellow, Grover is blue and more intelligent than they are, Oscar the Grouch lives in free housing, Count von Count is a vampire, Bert and Ernie sleep in the same bed, guns aren’t sold at Mr. Hooper’s store, the man who plays Gordon is black, Kermit the Frog plays a news reporter, Snuffleupagus is loved more by children than the GOP elephant is, and finally because its an educational program. I think that sums it up.

Another big target of Republicans is the public school system. It’s no secret that Republicans hate public education. They believe in private schools, where they can deny any child an education and hire ideologically pure teachers whether or not they are qualified to teach. Many on the extreme right wing have criticized public schools for not indoctrinating students in the Christian religion. Republicans want public schools to convert kids to Christianity and want teachers to teach kids that the Founding Fathers were really just a group of dedicated Christians that meant for the United States to be a Christian state. They also want teachers to teach kids that oil isn’t harmful to the environment and that the Republican philosophy is the only option. They want teachers to demonize accepted science, demonize democrats and progressive ideas and demonize government in general. To that end, Republicans in states across the South are re-writing textbooks, glorifying the Confederacy, turning Joseph McCarthy into a hero, and ignoring the Civil Rights movement, and shielding the slave trade. Republicans are re-writing history to brainwash kids across the country. And if they can’t do it that way, they intend to eliminate funding for public education to force communities to turn to private and charter schools. Billions of dollars are on the line and our school system is in danger of being destroyed. Republicans believe that public education has a liberal bias. That’s completely false. I went to a public school, and my education was free of bias. My teachers were well trained and did their jobs well. Republicans just want complete control over everything and everyone, including our minds.

Republicans are also targeting school breakfasts and lunches, specifically the funding that assists children in need. By slashing this funding many children would either be forced to learn while hungry, or their families would have to come up with cash they are already short on. This is just another attempt by the GOP to further destroy the middle class and punish kids that go to public schools, and its despicable.

But that’s not all, Republicans are also attacking public colleges. On the chopping block is Pell Grants, perhaps the main source of funding that gets millions of students into colleges around the country. The student-aid reductions would trim the maximum Pell Grant by 15 percent, or $845, from the $5,550 available to the neediest students now, and make 1.7 million students ineligible for Pell Grants.
I myself received a college education because of Pell Grants. Republicans probably wish I hadn’t. Because I am educated, I’m able to see through the lies the Republicans constantly spew. And that just pisses them off. That’s one reason why Republicans hate education. The more educated a person is, the less likely they are to support the Republican agenda. Their solution therefore is to destroy education which would also weaken our infrastructure and economy. According to the LA Times, “University of California students would take a nearly $55-million hit from reductions in Pell grants. A $20-million check promised for bringing a rail line closer to the L.A. airport would be taken back. Head Start cuts would eliminate about 14,000 slots for low-income children in California. Democrats said the massive cuts would set back the nation’s economic recovery and weaken the safety net for the needy and unemployed. The UC system, for which federal funding is the single largest source of support for research, would receive nearly $100 million less — just in biomedical research. “Cuts of this magnitude are unsustainable if California’s biomedical research industry is to remain a global leader in research innovation and an economic engine helping to stabilize California’s economy,” J. Gary Falle, UC associate vice president for government relations, wrote to lawmakers.” This is just the tip of the iceberg and couldn’t come at a worse time considering that
China is opening major research universities, seven announced in the last five years. A 2005 National Research Council report warned that U.S. predominance in science appears to be eroding in the face of competition.”

So why do Republicans want to target education? It’s quite simple really. They want to create an army of cheap labor. College graduates are paid more than high school graduates so it makes sense that the less educated you are, the less an employer can pay you. Another reason why Republicans are out to destroy education is so that children will be available to work, that is, once child labor laws are struck down. In Missouri, Republicans are trying to repeal the states child labor laws in an effort to provide cheap labor and easily manipulated workers to companies and corporations. Allow me to go over some of the potential repeals.

From Senate Bill 222 as proposed in the Missouri Senate, the bill would repeal certain sections of law related to child labor, specifically: sections 294.021, 294.022, 294.024, 294.027, 294.030, 294.040, 294.045, 294.051, 294.054, 294.060, 294.070, 294.080, 294.090, and 294.100.

So what do these sections contain? How about 294.021: No child under fourteen years of age shall be employed or permitted to work at any occupation at any time; except as provided in this chapter.].
The brackets around the section means this is a section of law whose repeal is proposed, and thus a child under 14 would no longer be limited in being able to be employed. And it gets worse. 294.024: [A child may not be employed during the regular school term unless the child has been issued a work certificate or a work permit pursuant to the provisions of this chapter.] Thus a child could now be employed during the school term without a work permit. A child under 16 can work in motels/hotels without restrictions on hours. Now that should raise some eyebrows, particularly since many Republican politicians and businessmen have a sick infatuation with children. Let’s continue examining the repeals. No work permits would be required for those 15 or 16 and the authority of the Director of the Division of Labor Standards to oversee employers of children is eliminated. All of this is not for our children as proponents of repeal say it is. Republicans want to put children to work instead of using taxpayer money to educate them. They want children to work at low wages, with no union protection, no proper government supervision as a means of providing cheap and compliant labor for some of their constituents, or even themselves. Its plain immoral and evil.
We need to fix our schools. We do not need to be putting our children to work. Every child should have the right to a quality education. It makes them better people, and better equipped to take this country to a greater future.

And as a final blow to public education, Republicans are on a mission to destroy public unions, which means teachers are being targeted. Collective bargaining rights have recently been struck down by Republican fascist Governor Scott Walker, also owned by the Koch Brothers, which will likely mean that teacher salaries and benefits will drop off a cliff, causing many teachers to abandon their field to find jobs that keep their families financially afloat. Scores will drop in Wisconsin schools in the future because collective bargaining rights for teachers are connected to school performance. In a recent Rolling Stone article, it states that “The five states where collective bargaining is currently outlawed (S. Carolina, N. Carolina, Georgia, Texas, and Virginia) are the five states with the lowest SAT/ACT scores in the country. Where does Wisconsin rank with it’s strong teachers’ union? Second in the nation.”
That, ladies and gentlemen, should say it all. Republicans want us to be stupid. They need to thrust us into a fire of ignorance. It makes us easier to scare and manipulate and it makes us more agreeable to lower wages and less benefits such as health care and pensions. If we are not educated, Republicans can force feed us anything they want and we would be forced to believe it because we would not know otherwise. It would be easy for them to sell us on trickle down economics and war. Easy for them to sell us on privatizing Social Security and eliminating Medicare. Easy for them to take away rights without us knowing because how do we know what rights we have without being educated? It would also make it easy for them to gain permanent control of this nation and easier for them to persecute people. This all makes perfect sense, right? There is a reason why the rest of the world is surpassing us. Its because the rest of the world is being better educated. We are falling behind the rest of the world in science, infrastructure, energy, math, and so on. And the reason why we are falling behind is because Republicans refuse to move forward into the future. They want America to fail. Because if America fails, they win. And if we let them win, we are truly stupid.

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