26. Education for All
One purpose of the U.S. Constitution, found in the Preamble, is to “promote the general Welfare.” In 1979, Congress echoed these words in its passage of the United States Department of Education Organization Act, to establish a Department of Education so as to “promote the general welfare of the United States, [to] help ensure that education issues receive proper treatment at the Federal level, and [to] enable the Federal Government to coordinate its education activities more effectively.”
The right to education includes the right to attend high-quality public schools (K-12), including in low-income neighborhoods, community colleges, efficient facilities for training and rehabilitation of first offenders and parolees, and workable schools for disabled students.
Budget Cut 475,000 Kids Out of After School Programs (Jesse Jackson, “In Rush to Rebuild Iraq, Bush Leaves Poor Children Behind,” Chicago Sun-Times, Sept. 30, 2003, p. 33.)
Funding Cut for Ghetto Schools, Community Colleges (Committee on Education and the Workforce, “FY2004 Bush Budget Shortchanging Education Reform,” U.S. House Representatives, Feb. 3, 2003.)
Funding Cut for Training, Rehabilitation, and Special Education (“FY 2004 ED Budget summary: Programs Proposed for Elimination,” U.S. Dept. of Education, Feb. 3, 2003.)
D.C. Schools Run by the Federal Government (“Protecting Quality Public Education -- The Issue: D.C. Vouchers,” People For the American Way, March 10, 2004.)
Bush Administration Promotes Religious Education and School Vouchers (Committee on Education and the Workforce, “Bush Administration Cuts Public School Funding to Pay for New Private School Voucher Scheme,” U.S. House of Representatives, Feb. 3, 2003.)
Bush Jeopardizes Programs against Gender Discrimination in Schools (“Legislative Update Special Report: Bush Commission Weakens Title IX in Sports,” NOW.org, Feb. 2003.)
27. Environmental Protection
9/11 in one morning created an environmental disaster for many years to come, and human disasters without end. 9/11 changed many Government policies. It did not change the policies of the Bush Administration concerning environmental protection.
In February 2004, twenty Nobel laureates, 19 recipients of the National Medal of Science, and 20 other prominent scientists, issued a statement.
They detailed examples of the Administration’s relentless abuse of science: censoring Government studies, gagging agency scientists, refusing to confer with or ignoring independent experts, misinterpreting information to fit its predetermined policy objectives, appointing unqualified and industry-connected individuals to federal advisory committees, and disbanding those government panels for offering unwanted information. (“Scientists Accuse White House of Distorting Science for Political Gains,” National Resources Defense Council, February 18, 2004; Bruce Barcott, “Changing All the Rules,” New York Times Magazine, April 4, 2004.)
In the face of all of these challenges, Julia Butterfly Hill and others have taken to the trees. Concerned environmentalists are increasingly joining forces with concerned immigrants’ rights advocates to preserve natural resources, including human beings.
All the numerous paths for action require a little training in how to be an effective lobbyist for preservation of all natural resources, and how to help the media give coverage of events as they are happening, so that catastrophes can be averted.
Bush Charged with Replacing Government Science with Corporate Science (Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., “The Junk Science of George W. Bush,” The Nation, March 8, 2004.)
U.S. Department of Energy Weakens Standards for Nuclear Waste Storage (“Bush cleanup plan could leave behind more nuclear waste,” Natural Resources Defense Council, July 19, 2002.)
Bush Administration Cut Clean Air Act Protections; EPA Leader Resigned (Christine Kraly, “Study: EPA Knowingly Underreports Toxic Air Emissions from Refineries” Galveston Houston-Association for Smog Prevention, June 22, 2004.)
Bush Administration Ignored Global Warming and the Kyoto Protocol (“Secret Pentagon Report Details Global Warming Threat,” National Resources Defense Council, Feb. 22, 2004.)
U.S. Inaction on Global Warming Threatens Inuit Cultural Extinction (Paul Brown, “Global Warming Is Killing Us Too, Say Inuit,” The Guardian, Dec. 11, 2003.)
U.S. Military Ignores Environmental/Cultural Standards in Hawaii (“Community Impact Statement on the Stryker Brigade Combat Team,” DMZ Hawaii Aloha Aina, July 6, 2004.)
U.S. Further Endangers Endangered Species (Letter from Jane Goodall and 358 other scientists to Chris Nolan, Chief of the Division of Conservation and Classification of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, March 4, 2004.)
U.S. Farm Subsidies Are Starving the World (World Bank Press, “Aid Irrelevant Unless Rich Countries Cut Subsidies,” World, Oct. 11, 2002.)
Bush Administration Allows Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations Unabated (“Pollution from Giant Livestock Farms Threatens Public Health: Waste lagoons and manure spray-fields—two widespread and environmentally hazardous technologies—are poorly regulated,” National Resources Defense Council, July 24, 2001; “EPA Secretly Considering Amnesty for Livestock Farm Polluters,” National Resources Defense Council, May 05, 2003.)
To be continued...
Berkeley resident Ann Fagan Ginger is a lawyer, teacher, activist and the author of 24 books. She won a civil liberties case in front of the U.S. Supreme Court in 1959. She is the founder and executive director of the Meiklejohn Civil Liberties Institute, a Berkeley-based center for human rights and peace law.
Contents excerpted from Challenging U.S. Human Rights Violations Since 9/11, edited by Ann Fagan Ginger (© 2004 Meiklejohn Civil Liberties Institute; Prometheus Books 2005) Readers can go to www.mcli.org for a complete listing of reports and sources, with web links.