Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Coburn & Education - A Lot of Neurons Short of a Full Deck

In arguring against Harkin's earmark for repairing schools in Iowa,Mr. Coburn asserted that, of course, our schools only declined in quality after the federal government got involved (out in here in California, it's pretty obvious that schools began to decline after the passage of Prop. 13 rolling back & limiting property tax increases), and that students could learn just as well in a quonset hut as in a high-tech building.

Now, I suppose one could build a quonset hut that would hold labs for biology, chemistry, physics, computer science, etc. And that would have running water and indoor toilets - but after one has done all that, how many students could be accommodated? So, unless he thinks that one-room schoolhouses with chairs and a blackboard provide the same quality education as a high-tech school building (a very dubious claim in 2009), Mr. Coburn must be given credit for one of the dumbest arguments ever made against an earmark.

Further, he argued that to spend money repairing schools in Iowa in today's difficult financial situation would mean placing - yes, you guessed it - a burden on our children and grandchildren.

Although one can argue about the value of earmarks, or the value of this earmark in particular, it seems to me that arguing that improving the educational environment of students who will be creating those future generations could be bad for those future generations is absurd. Educated parents generally raise educated children.

One wonders if Coburn would be where he is today if he had been educated in a quonset hut.

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