Saturday, January 26, 2008

Scott Garrett - no friend of the education community

Back in 2002 then-candidate Scott Garrett gave us a taste of his feelings on education when he said that “we could do without the Department of Education”.

His overall voting record on educational matters is just as abhorrent as his comment above. While his choice to home school his kids isn’t necessarily something to hold against him in and of itself, it does offer insight into how out of touch he is on matters concerning education. On numerous occasions, Garrett has been the only Congressional member from NJ - Republican OR Democratic to vote in a certain manner.

In fact, Garrett voted “no” on each and every one of the last 10 education bills in Congress. Some of his “highlights” are noted below:

Garrett voted not once, not twice but three times against the Appropriations bill for the Department of Education - the last time casting the deciding vote that kept the House from overriding Bush’s veto of this bill.

Garrett voted against helping college students pay for college - reducing interest rates on student loans, increasing Pell Grants. He was one of two NJ Representatives to vote against this bill. This was also the second time during 2007 that Garrett voted against a bill whose main thrust was to help college students.

Just last year - Garrett was one of only 36 Representatives to vote against Project Head Start, in a bill that passed the House by a vote of 381-36 and the Senate by a vote of 95-0. This made Garrett one of only 36 out of 435 people in Congress that voted against this bill. Head Start was recognized by Republican Congressman Joe Wilson (SC-02), who sits as a member of the House Committee on Education and Labor had favorable comments on the Program:

”Head Start is an important program that has the potential to help raise the level of early education for thousands of American children”

Even President Bush recognized the positive role of Head Start when he said the following upon signing this legislation:
Over the past 40 years, Head Start has provided comprehensive child-development services to more than 20 million low-income children and their families to promote school readiness.

And of course, back in 2005, Garrett urged New Jersey schools to teach "intelligent design" in addition to evolution, when he made the following statement:

"Evolution is the predominant theory right now," said Garrett, R-Wantage. "[But] intelligent design is one that is apparently growing in some scientific communities, in academia. ... It seems that a school board should at least consider being tolerant and open to discussing both theories."

Lastly, who can forget his comment from March 2007 that plainly laid out his stance on education, despite the fact that Article VIII, Section IV of the New Jersey Constitution indicates that “The Legislature shall provide for the maintenance and support of a thorough and efficient system of free public schools for the instruction of all the children in the State between the ages of five and eighteen years”:
Contrary to common modern misconceptions, there is no constitutional right guaranteeing each citizen an education.

On education - whether it be our children’s education, funding for public schools, the Department of Education itself, assistance for college students or advocating for introducing out-of-the-mainstream religious teaching in our public schools, Scott Garrett stands alone when it comes to extremist views on this District’s education policies. It is clear that Garrett is not looking out for the people of this District when it comes to educating our children.