Jared Bernstein shares this chart by the OECD which shows how education levels have changed from one generation to the next. The US has made no progress. In other words, the percentage of Americans who are in the 55-64 age range who have attained a college education is the same as the percentage of 25-34 year olds. This is more than lamentable. And yet, the Republicans in the House have just approved a budget that cuts Pell grants significantly.
What Are We Doing?: So the last thing you’d want to do is to cut rungs from that ladder. Yet that’s exactly what the House Republican budget, authored by Rep Paul Ryan, does. According to the White House, the budget changes “eligibility and funding under the Pell Grant formula so as to eliminate grants for 400,000 students and cut grants for more than 9 million others in 2013 alone.”
Paul Krugman connects the Republican war on education (what’s a little incendiary language hurt every now and then?) with the plummeting trust of science among conservatives, especially educated conservatives. This is both infuriating and saddening and I have to admit that I continue to be at a loss as to how anyone can think it’s a good idea to diminish education in our society by discouraging it both verbally and financially.
I have the same question as Jared Bernstein: What are we doing?
But, I have another question too, have conservatives shifted their battlefront away from social issues (at least to a small degree) and to education? If so, why?