Republicans and education

One of BlueNC's most endearing trolls wants to have a discussion about how much support Republicans have for public education. And the truth is, she and her Theocratic Minority are totally in favor of public education . . . as long as it's done just the way they want it. Take a look at the NC GOP platform and you'll see what I mean.

1. We believe in the value of maintaining a good system of public education. Good public education is impossible unless parents, not the state, have control of their children’s education.

Translation: Teachers suck, schools suck, government (the state) sucks. Parents should have control. Who cares if they believe in creationism, hate science and despise the concept of separating church from state. Who cares if they're idiots who don't have the capacity to educate their own children. Who cares if they're abusive and insane. Parents own their children and the "state" has no business interfering with their rights to control their property. None whatsoever.

2. Choice and competition have served the state well in higher education. We believe choice and competition should be used to improve public education at primary and secondary levels as well. We support tax credits for parents who relieve the burden on our public schools by lawfully educating their children in private or home schools. There should not be any additional legal restrictions on parents’ option to educate their children at home. We support charter schools and we urge the legislature to remove the cap that limits the number of charter schools. Parents are the best judges of what kind of schooling is best for their children.

TRANSLATION: Unlike any other aspect of our moral superiority, we don't give a shit whether charter schools work. We just want more of them and we want them now. Parents who agree with us are the best judges of what kind of schooling is best for their children. We would have put vouchers in our platform, but we're cowards, afraid to say what we really think.

3. The current system of top-heavy, bureaucratic, centrally planned public education fails to ensure the quality of education our children need and deserve. Incremental change to this failing system augmented by higher taxes, higher spending, and more regulation will not meet the needs of North Carolina’s future citizens.

TRANSLATION: Don't worry about our explosion in the number of school-aged children. We are against higher taxes as a matter of principle and we don't give a damn what the consequences are. Higher spending won't help anything. Ever.

4. We support measures that maintain the independence of our schools from the federal government. We support keeping our education dollars in North Carolina without going to maintain unneeded bureaucrats at the national level.

TRANSLATION: But we just looooooove the George Bush NCLB scam because it requires more and more testing without the resources to improve curricula. We like not having additional resources. That means more schools will fail and we will be proven right.

5. Real education reform means local control of curriculum, budget, textbook selection, and personnel in the public schools. We believe parents must have complete access to all information concerning curriculum and to materials used for teacher development.

TRANSLATION: Except for you commie fags in Chapel Hill. We don't want you having the right to have classes without the pledge of allegiance. We don't want you teaching your kids about sex. The government should stay out of schools except when it's doing what we want.

6. Real reform includes defining academic performance standards, cutting administrative waste, and establishing part-time and alternative teacher certification. Our students must have the best possible teachers in the classroom, whether physically present or by use of technology. Teachers and principals should be paid, retained, and promoted based on the quality of their work, not on the length of their service. All teachers, especially of high school math and science, should be trained in the subject matter they are actually teaching. All highly qualified teachers and principals in low performing schools should receive additional pay if their students show academic progress.

TRANSLATION: But not too much additional pay. Teachers suck and we don't like them as a matter of principle. We would never want NC to be having the highest paid teachers in the nation. We love mediocrity.

7. All children should be able to read and write at grade level. All high school graduates should be proficient at the twelfth grade level rather than lower levels currently allowed by the state. We believe the “No Child Left Behind” law has the correct goal of requiring schools to educate all children to grade level. Social promotion should be eliminated.

TRANSLATION: See number 4.

8. All schools should encourage patriotism and knowledge of the traditional values of Western civilization upon which our republic is based and the true facts of the history of the United States. Schools should require a semester long course on economics and U.S. Government, which emphasize constitutional principles, in either the Junior or Senior Year, so that students will be prepared to vote as informed citizens.

TRANSLATION: We know what's true and you don't. Unless your curriculum is approved by the Puppetmaster, it is wrong, wrong, wrong. The history of the US is the history of rich white men. That is what all students should be studying. The US is the guardian of everything that is good and right in the world. We can do no wrong and students should not be allowed to think critically about rich white men.

9. We oppose using public dollars to fund liberal attempts at social engineering contrary to the foundations on which our nation rests. We support daily recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance in our schools. We believe every classroom should display an American flag and a copy of our national motto — “In God We Trust.”

TRANSLATION: We approve only of social engineering that aligns with our twisted view of culture and civilization. We do not believe aethiests should be allowed in public schools. By "God" we mean the Christian god that hates Jews and Arabs and Hindus and Pagans. We are the chosen ones and if you don't like it, get the hell out of OUR public schools. If you don't think America is infallible, you are a lying commie who should be expelled.

10. We oppose mandatory sex education in public schools. Sex education should not be included in any public school program without provision for prior approval from parents or guardians. We support teaching abstinence until marriage as required by state law, and as the expected norm for acceptable sexual behavior. Abstinence until marriage is the most effective way to prevent teenage pregnancies, absentee fathers, abortion, and sexually transmitted diseases. It is also the most effective way to create healthy relationships and healthy self-esteem among young people.

TRANSLATION: We don't give a shit about the studies that show abstinence only education is worse than worthless. We don't care if we're helping to promote a national epidemic of STDs. We don't want to be bothered with the facts. Our ideology is most important. No school system in the state should have the right to disagree with us, no matter what the parents in that system think.

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The list goes on, but I'm getting ready to throw up after spending so much time examining the lunatic fringe. Take some Pepto Bismol, and go look for yourself if you dare.

Comments

Trolls

Given the quantity of anonymous trolls infesting BlueNC lately, I have adopted a new policy of never engaging them directly. In the case of one particularly odious creature today, I erred by pointing out the idiocy of its comments, and I apologize.

I think it is generally better to ignore them, though sometimes their comments can spark interesting explorations. For example, I hadn't bothered to read the the NC GOP platform in four or five months. It is good to confront the insanity of what we're up against, no matter how distasteful.

You hit the nail on the head

Local control applies as long as we are not doing anything objectionable locally. Like sex ed.

State level control only applies to the really important things, like mandating the pledge of allegiance.

The main focus

I disagree with the fundamental approach to education that underlies all of this: education as business. The business model does not work with education, but as I read over this, the Repubs attempt to make this about product and not process. They approach the teacher as more of a baby sitter: someone who isn't a professional, is providing a service that anyone could do, and who needs constant supervision and rules. This approach turns the teacher solely into a service provider, one who can be ordered around and must follow the whims of the customer. And in this case, as evidenced by the above idiocy from the platform, the customer is horribly wrong.

Even worse

the customer wants the ability to spill her crappy kool-aid all over the whole classroom, while asking the teacher to slurp it up too.

schools as business

Jamie Vollmer, a successful businessman turned speaker on education, tells a great story of his early days with the "school as business" belief. He was confronted by teachers who reminded him that if he got an inferior shipment of blueberries(he ran a successful ice cream business) then he could send them back. Teachers, they said (I am quoting from some material he produces) "take them big, small, rich, poor, gifted, exceptional, abused, frightened, confident, homeless, rude, and brilliant. We take them with ADHD, junior rheumatoid arthritis, and English as their second language. We take them all!And that...is why it's not a business! It's school!"

I read over those Republican talking points and wondered what would happen to our medical schools if they were put under the total control of local consumers? Well, no teaching of blood transfusion if locals were Jehovah's Witnesses. No science if it included evolution of disease. A bunch of little "charter med schools" and hospitals where small groups could siphon off funds for their unrestricted method of teaching medicine.

Education is only a business in so far as we accept that people who do not like the public schools can pony up the money to send their kids to private schools. We still must educate the next generation or deal with workers who are a danger to themselves and others, not to mention the inability to read and make change.

Wow I have even less faith in the NCGOP

Oh I dared. And I read alomost the first half of their Constitution.

And I feel that the "majority" they were talking about they represent, by that document, truly would rather not be associated at all with other "lesser minority beings".

Seriously, after reading that whole Education piece of shit, and I agree with their 8th point in theory too, I've actually developed a tumor of disgust.

Are you kidding me? In God We Trust? When did we start that? The Pledge? Uh 1950 anyone?

No sex ed? Where the F%$$# will hypersexual teens learn about protection? MTV? Myspace?!

Oooooh why can't i ever find GOPher in person when i need to.

Be just, and fear not.

Our children need to know that some people fought back, when others collaborated.

nope not 1950

I posted this as a comment elsewhere. It started as a "socialist" pledge to the nation in the 1800s.

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

In God We Trust/Under God history

Started being used in the 1800's, but did not become permanent on coins until the 1957. Wiki link.

The phrase "under God" on the other hand was only added to the pledge in 1954. (link).

And one would ask why the '50's were so important. Not living then, I have to go by remarks of historians, and they have concluded that the inclusion was a way to market the US versus the godless USSR. Now that there is no USSR, and the people of eastern Europe and Russia have returned to their devote christian ways (they kept telling my wife to stop working and start having children, unsolicited), I think that we should reevaluate whether we should keep the phrase. But it seems like Americans now feel that these phrases are our heritage or some clap-trap like that.

Many are stubborn in pursuit of the path they have chosen, few in pursuit of the goal.
-- Nietzsche

the greatest generation forgets

Somehow there was plenty of patriotism for all without saying "one nation under God" when we fought off Hitler, but in the 50s with the push to weed out the godless Commies, it was added as a litmus test.

I have a couple of problems with it. I love my country, and think that atheists and people of non-theistic faiths ought to be able to freely and HONESTLY pledge loyalty without having to also claim a religious belief. Isn't love of country for all? Or do some have to LIE to state their patriotism? What lesson is that for our kids? I would love to see the ACLU come at the pledge from this perspective.

My other problem is that stating "one nation under God" is a Dominionist view. Call me a mainstream Methodist - I am - but my Bible taught me to render to Caesar that which was Caesar's - it never said that an individual country had a soul that was in our Lord's command. The only way that this is true is if we follow Sharia - or some version of law that is completely and ONLY based on religious law. Now, I haven't seen anyone seriously suggesting that we follow that, from any faith. The Ten Commandments with proscription of adultery and bearing false witness and killing(take THAT death penalty advocates!) would be very hard to enshrine in law and enforce.

I don't want to take away the pledge, and my seven year old son likes to say it. When I say it in his class, I stay truthful to MY understanding of God and omit the "under God" but I don't like the idea of making a big scene.

chun, glad to see you on the site!

I also agree with your points: you don't have to be a knee-jerk athiest to have a problem with "under God."

Exactly my feelings, chun yang

Those who fought and triumphed in WWII grew up without "under God" in the pledge. They turned out just fine. They recited "... One Nation, indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all." To me, that is a MUCH more honorable national sentiment than one which requires all people to fit a particular belief model in order to pledge allegiance to this country. It is still a free country, yes?

"They took all the trees and put them in a tree museum Then they charged the people a dollar 'n a half just to see 'em. Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got till it's gone? They paved paradise and put up a parking lot."

As an atheist this is our arguement

For years now, ever since Under God has been a hot topic in this country..again...this has been my exact position as you stated Chun.

1)Why make it a big scene? Have people not taken their history lessons and forgot the Religious Revolution of the 50s?
2) Why do my girlfriend and I have to be God fearing Americans to be good patriotic ones? We're as loyal to our country as the next American but we don't believe that loyality is exclusive to Christians.

thanks chun for putting it in better wording :)

Be just, and fear not.

Our children need to know that some people fought back, when others collaborated.

Wonder what the Puppets have to say about

this report on a study that shows public schools do just as fine as private schools?

They'll pretend the study doesn't exist. It won't affect policy. It won't matter. Read the article. That's exactly what the Puppet in the Bush administration is already saying. Assholes.

...or this one

Duke University Study

Study Finds Charter Schools Not the Answer for Raising North Carolina Academic Performance

A study by Duke University Professor Helen Ladd finds that charter school students perform less well on average in charter schools than in public schools and the negative effects of attending a charter school are large.

The full report is The Impacts of Charter Schools on Student Achievement: Evidence from North Carolina

Late comment, new article.

Public education is a big issue in NC. We have so much history and tradition with quality public education in this state. UNC Chapel Hill was the first publicly funded university in America. A huge percentage of high school juniors and seniors in NC take the PSAT and SAT every year. We've got problems, YES, but we also have many passionate public education advocates in NC pushing to find workable solutions to those problems. I would NOT, however, NEVER EVER county JLF in that group -- or any of the other advocates of a private/public "partnership" mish-mash for education.

This article in the NYTimes is a good read on the matter. It puts to rest claims that private schools do a better job of educating kids than public ones do. The study examined by this article makes it clear that those arguments are just old wives tales and hearsay.

At the end of the article, this comment made me cringe:

"In the real world, private school kids outperform public school kids," Mr. McTighe [executive director of the Council for American Private Education] said. "That’s the real world, and the way things actually are."

What a dolt. In the real world, private schools educate the children of well-to-to parents. The children of well-to-do parents have a slew of other advantages that go a long way towards deciding how successful they'll be in life. THAT is the way things actually are.

Bottom line: Private schools OUGHT to be beating the pants off public schools in testing. They aren't. Why not?

"They took all the trees and put them in a tree museum Then they charged the people a dollar 'n a half just to see 'em. Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got till it's gone? They paved paradise and put up a parking lot."

But but but

the fwee market is better at evewything. This can't be twue!

100 NC 9th Grade Students....

For every 100 9th Grade NC Students the following happens to them:

60 graduate four years later with a diploma (40% do not)
of the 60 graduates 41 enter college
29 of these students are still enrolled in year two of college
of these 29 some 19 graduate with either an associate/bachelor degree within 6 years.

19 out of 100 9th graders - 6 years - that’s just not good enough.

Source: http://newschoolsproject.org/documents/Learn_and_Earn.ppt

Our schools are struggling to prepare students for college and more and more it takes a 2 or 4 year college degree to get a job that allows you to marry and start a family.

Education is the key to smashing the cycle of poverty in America.

It is a huge problem for the state - for all of us - including Democrats... We must lead and we must solve the problems. We are making some progress but we must move faster towards reform.

Consider this: http://www.newschoolsproject.org/early.html

The status quo is not good enough and we must innovate and continue to improve.

I wish the followers would lead... With a voice so strong in would knock me to my knees...

High school

Part of the problem is in preparing students for college. Even among those who enroll in college the first year drop-out rate is high and even among those who graduate there are some who just can't get a job with a degree and go back to community colleges for vocational diplomas for high paying, in-demand, careers like dental hygienists and sonogram technicians.

High school has been described as department based education where teachers are more likely to meet each other in the parking lot than inside the walls of the school. High school is a high-stress environment with many challenges where teachers try to stay focused on teaching the subject. Something needs to change in high schools and multiple options are necessary.