Saturday, August 6, 2011

It's broken because they want it broken

In an earlier post, I discussed right-wing pundits complaining about liberals throwing money at problems and how what they really mean when they say that is they have no desire to fix the problem.

Another such area is public education. I often hear from the right-wing how our public education system is "broken." So, what is their solution? Voucher programs! These do at least 3 things that conservatives like:
  1. Saves the wealthy money. Many wealthy people already send their children to private schools. Voucher programs will put money back into their pockets.
  2. Promotes private business. As the vouchers would be used to send children to private schools, those schools would stand to increase their profits off of such a program. This is good for anyone invested in the school.
  3. Promotes Christianity. To weasel out of any 1st Amendment violations, it is a parent's choice for which private school to send their children to. However, there currently are a lot of private religious schools. There may not really be a viable choice between a religious and non-religious schools. (And many conservatives probably want it to stay that way.)
    Note to conservatives: Realize that if you are going to allow vouchers to be used in Christian schools, they can also be used in Islamic schools. I know how many of you freak out over Islam. Or are you trying to push your holy war agenda even further?

The scary part that people need to be aware is that conservatives are intentionally trying to undermine the public education system to push their agenda. There approach is really only a three-step process:
  1. Pin/focus the blame on some factor outside of political control.
  2. Defund public education while focus is shifted.
  3. Repeat.
For step one, they are putting the blame on teachers. Other factors, as Lawrence O'Donnell discusses in the video below, includes home learning environment, the student's personal expectations, the student's parents expectations, class size, class environment, etc, etc, etc. O'Donnell blames it on an anti-union agenda, which could certainly be part of it, but I certainly think it is also part of their pro-voucher agenda.

I grant that there are some poor teachers out there. But has it occurred to people that we may have a large number of poor teachers (assuming that we do for the sake of argument) because those who could be good teachers that would like to teach don't because they can get a better paying job elsewhere? And that this also leaves open teaching jobs to people who would not do well in private industry? Some probably have, but unfortunately, teachers have been demonized as greedy and their low pay has been justified by the crappy argument that they only work 9 months out of the if they don't have mortgages, utility bills, etc. to worry about those other 3 months and as if they don't deserve to be paid well for bearing the responsibility of educating the next generation!

Step 2 should be obvious to anyone with half a brain. Many schools are now rated on how their students do on standardized tests. If the students do poorly, funding for the school is cut. How is cutting funding supposed to help these schools do better? Well, go back to Step 1, and the problem (supposedly) is teachers...or even the school's administration. That's what the schools are supposed to fix...because there is no way that class size, etc, etc, etc. has anything to do with it!

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Please don't fall for the conservative tricks. The public education is only flawed because people with political agendas have made it flawed!

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