Senate Republicans soundly defeated an attempt by Democrats to get the federal government more involved in state’s Common Core standards by setting up a grant program to develop or improve “climate science” curricula in schools.
Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Ed Markey proposed the grant as an amendment to the “No Child Left Behind” reform bill that would fund school districts that “develop or improve climate science curriculum and supplementary education materials.” Markey’s amendment was handily defeated in a 53 to 44 vote. Republicans were joined by three Democrats in opposing the amendment.
“If you like Washington, D.C. getting involved in Common Core in your state, you’re going to love this amendment because it gets the federal government involved in creating a curriculum for climate change in your local high schools and other schools,” Tennessee Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander, the sponsor of the Senate education bill, said while debating the Markey amendment on the Senate floor Wednesday.
Alexander warned that allowing the federal government to fund curricula it likes on climate science would mean standards change depending on which party wins an election. Politics would rule science, Alexander cautioned.
“As soon as we authorize it, it’ll begin to write regulations defining what we mean by climate change.” Alexander said. “And we would have to change textbooks in 100,000 public schools every time we have a presidential election.”
“Just imagine what the curriculum on climate change would be if we shifted from President Obama to President Cruz and then back to President Sanders and then to President Trump,” Alexander said, adding there “would be a lot of wasted paper.”
Alexander says his education bill would keep the government from getting involved in developing lesson plans for classrooms. The idea is to set standards, but keep the actual teaching and lesson plans at the local or state level.
“I do not want to federal government involved in local high school and elementary school curricula for climate science and anything else,” Alexander said.
Markey, however, disagreed with Alexander and sold the bill as giving American children access to the best science lessons possible. It’s all about the children, according to Markey.
“The children of our country deserve the best scientific education they can get on this topic,” Markey said Wednesday. “They are the future leaders of our country and our world. They must be equipped for this generational science.”
Markey was able to get Sens. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire and Mark Kirk of Illinois, both Republicans facing tough reelection prospects, to vote for his amendment. But three Democrats voted against Markey’s amendment.
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