This week hundreds of thousands of public school children all over the South started the school year just as congressional representatives left Washington for a month-long vacation, and in many cases those same representatives will be attacking the state of public education with lies and distortions.
The biggest lie being propagated by right-leaning congressional leaders is that the state of public education necessitates an end to the end Department of Education and compulsory education. One can also hear that America is falling so far down the academic scale that the nation appears to look like a so-called ‘third world’ country.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Diane Ravitch, former assistant Secretary of Education and one of the leading authorities on public education, has made the case that American public schools are not in the dire state that education obstructionist politicians believe and expound upon. In fact, she states if you take the children of poverty out of the matrix of test data, the middle class and the wealthy children who attend public schools are doing very well.
In American Public Schools every child is tested, including those who are diagnosed with learning disabilities. In many of the countries that score higher on standardized tests only the top students are tested, and in some countries there is virtually no childhood poverty or nothing at levels comparable to what is experienced by many children in this nation. and in those cases it does appear like the American public schools are falling in national ranking of school ages children.
Poverty, the yoke around the neck of millions of school aged children and struggling school systems from one state to the next, is the reason for the disparity between American public schools and the rest of the world’s industrialized nations.
If one looks closely at what some congressmen say about teachers and public schools, one would think that teachers are the lowest form of social scum for taking pay checks for doing nothing but filling the heads of children with anti-American propaganda and anti-Christian rhetoric. Nothing could be further from the truth.
As is the case with any other profession there are great, good and bad among the ranks, but some in the ‘party of no’ believe they have all the answers because their answers are the ‘heaven sent’. These are the same people who take every word of the bible as fact while denouncing science, intellectuals and educators.
The ‘party of no’, with their god on their side, strives to create a feudal theocracy where they are the chosen, the righteous and the all-knowing — thereby casting aside the brutal fact America was founded, not as a Christian nation, but as a secular land created by men who saw religion a a form of tyranny.
The destruction of the American public school system is the heart of their agenda, and by demonizing teachers and public schools they are setting in motion the demise of the America that went from an agrarian state to the greatest industrialized nation on the planet. The public school system, from which countless children have emerged to lead the country out of innumerable moments of fear and despair through the last 237 years is under attack by fundamentalists just like the would be assassins who shot a teenage girl in the head because she wanted an education. The party of no, with their American flags and their bibles, are no better than the Mullahs who want to keep their people ignorant and docile like sheep going to a slaughter.
If America wants to continue to be a world leader then the elimination of poverty should be the goal of every political leaders. America cannot be a truly great country until poverty is eradicated and the 50 million people who live daily wondering how they will feed their children are assimilated into the mainstream of American life — and the only way to make those changes is by supporting public education, not by tearing it down.