314 Action’s stated mission is laudable. It includes, among other things, a desire to “elect more leaders… from STEM backgrounds” and to “strengthen communication among the STEM community, the public and our elected officials.” One would be left with the impression that the mission is bipartisan, which would be outstanding.
Unfortunately, it is not.
The leadership are all Democrats. All the candidates 314 Action has endorsed are Democrats. The site’s news page refers to Republicans as “anti-science denialists,” and one of the endorsed candidates refers to a GOP politician as “science’s public enemy number one” — a perfectly noble term, but one that should be reserved for somebody who deserves it, like anti-vaxxer Andrew Wakefield or public health menace Joseph Mercola.
Perplexed, I contacted 314 Action’s Executive Director, Joshua Morrow. I asked what criteria must be met in order for a candidate to receive an endorsement. In addition to having a background in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics), he or she had to be running a serious campaign and actually trying to get elected. Mr. Morrow added that the candidate also had to be a Democrat. More.
Imagine. Someone raised the political skew as a question, not as an Answer.
However, we will answer with another question: Given this skew, why should Florida parents take seriously what scientists are concerned about with respect to their proposed education changes? In the context, doesn’t that just mean what the U.S. Democratic Party strategists are concerned about?
One result of politicizing science like this is that the doubts raised are not an instance of the public “fearing” science. They’re what happens naturally when we begin to realize that the advice we are getting comes from an interested party…
And, as noted earlier:
Their worrying about what is happening in Florida classrooms is offputting when they cannot endorse the practices at most science journals – about which they should have more control if they are worth listening to in the first place.
See also: Historic journal Nature is freaked out over American public school science classrooms – again. Idea: Why don’t we wait to see whether the new standards are more rigorous? For decades, the United States has spent more on education and got less for it than most Western nations. We can afford a bit of time to seeing whether a new broom sweeps cleaner.
If science journals can’t solve their own problems, why are they dictating to Florida parents? At NPR: “Another concern is that today scientists are judged primarily by which journal publishes their work. The greatest rewards tend to go to scientists who can get their papers into major journals such as Science, Nature and Cell. It matters less what the actual findings are.” Perhaps it is no surprise that with all this stuff crying out for reform, major science journals that are implicated would rather worry about science education in Florida, over which they have only elite opinion influence.