9:52 AM | Posted in , ,
In the past month and a half we have seen Michele Bachmann become enamored with "helping" the people of her district by adding another level of bureaucracy to their ability to get money from the government. She has been sending out grant applications so that constituents first send her their application for review before it is then sent on to another part of the government for review and possible approval. Despite this apparent support for grants and the grant process, Bachmann refuses to support the very grants that she has been urging constituents to submit.

Such is the case for recent legislation that would allocate $6 billion next year and $20 billion in grants over the next five years to help states and schools rebuild or renovate schools. The bill, titled 21st Century Green High-Performing Public School Facilities Act, is intended to provide grants to state agencies for school construction and renovation. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the legislation provides no unfunded mandates on schools or states and that states could benefit from such grants.

To direct the Secretary of Education to make grants to State educational agencies for the modernization, renovation, or repair of public school facilities, and for other purposes.

Michele Bachmann has an explanation of the legislation up on her new blog but as usual her version is filled with exaggeration and misinformation. While trying to make this legislation into a local control issue, she incorrectly assumes that school districts and states would be required to apply for such grants. There is no evidence in the wording of the bill or in the Congressional Budget Office explanation of the bill that would lead one to believe this is a federal takeover of local education choices. However, there is still the issue of Bachmann deciding not to support grants when she has been so vigorously touting their effectiveness over the past couple months.

If Bachmann believes that new and better school facilities don't contribute to the educational quality of all students including those with disabilities, she is sorely mistaken. I can find at least three authorized use of this grant money that run counter to her argument that this takes away from students with disabilities:

(4) modifications necessary to make public school facilities accessible to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. 12101 et seq.) and section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C. 794), except that such modifications shall not be the primary use of the grant

(8) upgrading or installing educational technology infrastructure to ensure that students have access to up-to-date educational technology

(9) modernization, renovation, or repair of science and engineering laboratory facilities, libraries, and career and technical education facilities, including those related to energy efficiency and renewable energy, and improvements to building infrastructure to accommodate bicycle and pedestrian access

Beyond these obvious examples of helping the students Bachmann is apparently concerned about I daresay that by improving the quality of the overall building along with making that building more energy efficient would actually increase the amount of money school districts could use in funding their Title I and other students with disabilities.

Unfortuantely, Bachmann allows her partisanship to cloud her judgment and vote against common sense legislation. If were truly interested in helping constituents obtain grant money as opposed to obtaining earmarks, she would stop voting against those very grants each and every time they come to the floor.

Cross Posted on Dump Bachmann & St. Cloud Times