Bush cuts funding for science education

This is 'competitiveness'? No funding for teacher training, ignoring grades 9-12 and falling appropriations in new budget.

Congress has started to weigh in on President Bush's education spending request in his current budget proposal, and in general, they are not pleased, reports Inside Higher

Early hearings in the House and Senate leave little doubt that the Bush administration's allotment to science education leaves something to be desired.

"As the father of a five-year-old daughter, I am deeply concerned that our children will be the first generation of Americans not to inherit a better standard of living than their parents," Rep. Bart Gordon (D-Tenn.), the committee's chairman, said in his opening statement."

Rep. Gordon went on to say that the proposed budget would cause federal research and development spending to dip to below 1 percent of all federal spending.

The upside to the 2008 budget is that spending is up for the National Science Foundation, but that was met with criticism, as well.

"NSF is up and that's good, but the funding for education is down," said Gordon. "Not only does the American Competitiveness [Initiative] not contain anything for teacher training, it only focuses on K-8 math curriculum at the Department of Education." In FY 2006, NSF appropriated $165.7 million for K-12 programs. The fiscal 2007 request was $149.8 million, and the 2008 request is $150.4 million.

John H. Marburger, the president's science adviser, defended the president's budget, stating that it adequately addresses concerns about science education. NSF supporters have accused the Bush administration of raiding the NSF's education coffers to prop up funding for "No Child Left Behind."

Overall funds for the NSF's education programs would grow under the 2008 budget plan to $938 million, up from $879 million in 2006, although Rep. Gordon asserted that NSF education programs aimed at elementary and secondary education are down 50 percent over the last four years.

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