Separate But Equal

The Oklahoma legislature passed SB 1456, signed into law by Governor Mary Fallin on 4-21-14. Okies who own their own wind turbine generators or solar panels will now receive an additional charge from the utility companies for “growing their own.” Republican Governor Fallin, recipient of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) 2013 Thomas Jefferson Freedom Award, as well as $26,000 in campaign contributions from the “energy and natural resources sector”, issued an executive order undoing the legislation the very next day. This flies in the face of not only ALEC, but the Koch brother’s Americans For Prosperity efforts to undermine and undo renewable energy options, requirements and alternatives. Ironically, part of the opposition for OK’s catering to ALEC and the Koch’s was led by Barry Goldwater Jr. and TUSK (Tell Utilities Solar Won’t Be Killed). In Ohio, which has a similar Republican dominated legislature, governor, etc., ALEC and AFP (Americans For Prosperity) has gotten the legislature to call a “time out” on previous requirements that a percentage of Ohio’s energy come from alternative sources, like wind or solar. The situation highlights something other than an alliance of tea baggers with greenies. It brings to the surface a society of separate but equal not witnessed since before the 1960’s. It is separate but equal in terms of conservatives and progressives. Oh yeah, you’ve got your recycling, your green aspirations, community gardens, renewable energy, sustainable living and social programs. But please, let’s not integrate those into our economic priority, business first, money up front governance. Thank you. Whether plastic or paper, creationist or Darwinist, fracking earthquakes or bunk, global warming or bunk again, home schooling (private) or professional (public), it is all considered merely a choice, something separate but equal in terms of actual functioning. In the 4-25-14 online Advocate, Early education key to interest, skill in STEM fields, Kent Mallet reports on the Licking County Chamber of Commerce Local Leaders Breakfast panel discussion. No one disputes that Americans struggle with proficiency in math and the sciences, and that current and future vocations emphasize aptitude in this area. Quotes like Marcia Downes (of The Works), ““The kids have open minds. It’s our parents who really struggle with STEM education.”” and Dr. Bonnie Coe (of COTC) ““Colleges and universities are no longer recruiting at the senior level, but the middle school and junior high level. We have to get to these young people at an earlier age.”” make it sound as though somehow or other this is a separate entity, separate process of learning (“It’s our parents…” “these young people”). At the end of the article OSU-N’s Bill MacDonald honestly admits ““I’m an example of someone who didn’t have it figured out.” MacDonald went from loving science and math as a sophomore to a TV and film major in his third year in college. He then became a sociologist.” At the end Mallett writes, “The best way for a child to discover what career may interest them is simply doing a variety of things.” Integration is a necessary part of learning.

Separate but equal as détente is likewise illusionary. Separate but equal appears to “have it figured out.” History has shown not. You can’t stress separate STEM priority and then turn around, saying the science is insufficient for claims of professional education approaches over legislated alternatives, of earthquakes and injection well relationships, of global warming and fossil fuel preference, and that evolution is separate but equal to creationism. The Chamber can’t promote STEM and at the same time leadership that legislates a “time out” for alternate energy requirement. The Chamber’s “leadership” focus on STEM presents a good image while separately their support of ALEC modeled legislation reveals an actuality that is completely unequal.


Tags: , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: