One of the main reasons that I have such extreme contempt for conservatives everywhere on Earth is that in general, conservatism is always based on lies. Lies, lies, lies, lies, lies, lies and more lies. One of the most annoying things about conservatives is if you care about their lies, you have to spend a lot of your time doing research about their endless lies (new ones come out every single day) to figure out how and why it’s a lie.
In other words, conservatives come out with a new talking point (most every day there is a new one, or many more than one). I automatically suspect that it’s a lie because it seems implausible. But I am often not able to prove whether or not it’s a lie, so it goes into the “possible rightwing lie” category until some progressive person does the research to uncover and expose this latest lie.
Rightwingers have a hardon for the US public education system. This is probably unusual on a world scale because I am not aware of any other country on Earth where the rightwing wages and ongoing, vicious and explicit war against public education. Furthermore, I am not aware of any other countries on Earth where a vast segment of the population has extreme hatred of public education. If you can find such a country, let me know.
So in this sense as in so many other ways, the US is pretty much the most fanatical rightwing country on Earth.
Why does the US rightwing hate public education. I am not really sure. For one thing, the US rightwing has probably always hated public education. In most of the Third World, the Right attacks public education simply by funding it very poorly. Here in the US, we have a very well funded public education system. Rich jerks send their kids to private schools, but their taxes pay for public schools that they never use. That really chaps their hide I imagine. So the rich jerks want the state to issue them a check to help pay for their spoiled brats’ private school education! The gall of these jerks! Why should the taxpayers, the people, you and me, pay for some rich weenie to send his preppie brat to some elite academy? This is the poor and the middle class funding the rich, which is really the essence of US Republican Party politics.
If rich pricks want to send their kids to fancy private schools, they can pay for it out of their own deep pockets.
Another reason is that public education is a multi-billion $ sector of the economy that is presently off-limits to profiteering by capitalists. Capitalists don’t like the idea that any aspect of the economy is walled off from rent-seeking, so they seek to privatize this realm in order to get in on hundreds of billions of dollars which can be directed at the private sector into capitalists’ bank accounts.
Another reason is that the US rightwing, probably again unique in the world, has been engaged in a decades long effort to prove to the US people that government can’t do anything right or at all, and everything it touches, falls apart. Government always fails. Government can never do anything good for you. Don’t ever expect government to help you in any way or better your life in any way. Government is useless at best and toxic and evil at worst so it must be reduced to a minimal size where not phased out altogether.
Since public education provides tremendous benefits for all citizens for free at the K-12 level, it’s a common good that needs to be devalued by the sneering and lying Right. If it can be proven that public education is crap, people will stop supporting it, and the Right will be able to defund it.
This is really what is behind the endless lies the corporate media runs about our “failing public education system.” Except for one thing. It’s not failing. Not only that, but it’s never been failing. But the disgusting lying corporate media will never tell you that.
And so it is that I present you with the following post from Daily Kos which shows that not only is the US public education system not failing, but it’s doing better than ever.
American students, as a whole, are smarter than they ever have been, based on the gold standard National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP). This assessment began in 1971. Forty years later, our students are scoring as high, or higher in every category. Moreover, black students have made gains at a much faster rate than white students. The gap is closing. You can browse the executive summary HERE, or read the summary report HERE.
We need to get better at teaching and educating as a whole society. We need to do this because it is the right thing to do. We need to do this because it will make our country stronger. We need to get better because all kids can and should get a world class education. However, we don’t need to do this because somehow we are losing our competitive edge.
If you believed popular culture and the latest education deformers, you would think that American education has gotten worse over the last forty years. You would have to think the achievement gap has increased.
For example, Michelle Rhee and the A.L.E.C.-aligned StudentsFirst released a despicable ad analogizing our education system with an obese, effeminate Olympic athlete. It was offensive on a myriad of levels. Just like the Olympics, the most obese nation in the world needs to improve its athleticism, but that doesn’t mean we are not competitive. Heck, I am pretty sure we crushed the field.
The bottom line is that the education deformers’ narrative is divisive and dishonest. It is a misrepresentation of the real landscape. We need to be honest about our weaknesses and address them aggressively. It is not helpful to distort the entire system, tear down all public education and savage teachers in order to address our gaps.
We will never stop trying to help ALL students get smarter. Supporting education, teachers, and students as a whole community is the way to do it. Burning the entire village to save it is certainly bold. Michelle Rhee, StudentsFirst, and A.L.E.C. are bold in this way. You can go with bold, or you can go with smart.