Science and education is still underfunded

From Science: Recently US academics and policy analysts met to assess the country's response to a 2005 report by the U.S. National Academies titled Rising Above the Gathering Storm: Energizing and Employing America for a Brighter Economic Future (RAGS).

A parade of speakers gave the federal government failing grades for not heeding the recommendations in RAGS for bigger research budgets, more undergraduate scholarships and graduate fellowships, changes in immigration policy, and an improved environment for innovation.

Much of that disappointment stems from the last-minute collapse in December of plans to give several science agencies double-digit increases in 2008. So meeting organizers tried to rally support for adding up to $900 million for science as part of a supplemental spending bill to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. President Bush opposes the plan--even though he asked for the entire amount more than a year ago as part of his American Competitiveness Initiative (ACI).

The higher education community seemed especially disappointed that the report's warning of a "gathering storm" hasn't stirred public interest in strengthening U.S. science.

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