Our Best and the Brightest Led us to the Moon and Now We’re Leaving Them Behind

Our Best and the Brightest Led us to the Moon and Now We’re Leaving Them Behind by Thom Hartmann

It is not surprising that it would take Forbes, the magazine that, for years, had as its slogan “Capitalist Tool,” to point out that the way money is spent in the field of education is truly bizarre. In their November 21, 1994 issue, an article by Peter Brimelow asks the question: “Would any management worth a damn put most of its dollars into its weakest divisions and starve the promising ones of capital?”

The next sentence answers the question: “Not and live for long.”

Yet, as the article goes on to show in eloquent detail, that is exactly what is happening with funding for our brightest and most gifted children in the US educational system. According to the Department of Education, state and local spending on gifted and talented children is less than two cents per hundred dollars spent. And federal funding is never more than one tenth of one percent.

According to the Department of Education, federal spending on education in 1993 was allocated:

  • 49.8% to “Disadvantaged” ($6.9 billion)
  • 0.13% to “Other” including bilingual, vocational, & impact aid ($4.1 billion)
  • 20.0% to “Handicapped” ($2.8 billion)
  • 00.07% to “Gifted” ($.0096 billion)

It was our gifted kids, grownup, who put men on the moon and who were the men on the moon. Yet total federal funding for gifted children from 1973 to 1990 was less than the cost of one B-2 bomber…and has declined since then.

It was 40 Years Ago Today

At 20:17:40 UTC Neil Armstrong said, “Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed.”

At 02:56 UTC on July 21 He became the first human to walk on the Moon.

I was 13 years old and had been glued to my parent’s TV for several days. I think I slept in front of the TV, too.

It is one of the most amazing things I have ever seen and a memory touchstone.

Where were you and what were you doing? (Provided, of course you were alive. I’m not trying to be a smart-ass.)

Bootprint on the Moon   Apollo 11 Landing Site Seen by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter   Apollo 11 mission insignia

Happy 40th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 Launch!

We choose the moon is an interactive experience recreating the historic Apollo 11 mission to the Moon in real time. Live event begins 9:32 AM EDT July 16, 2009. Exactly 40 years after Apollo 11 lifted off.

This was one of the highlights of growing up geek. I was 13 at the time and pretty much stayed up for a week watching the TV coverage. That meant Walter Cronkite on CBS. This was NEWS, you couldn’t entrust your information source to some amateurs.