We DO Need An Education

Image: Wallpapersafari.com

The first sentences of Pink Floyd’s inimitable song ‘Another Brick In The Wall (Part 2)’ goes “We don’t need no education”…”We don’t need no thought control“. With all due respect to one of the greatest bands of all time, while I certainly agree with the latter, I disagree with the former.

“A world-class education is the single most important factor in determining not just whether our kids can compete for the best jobs but whether America can out-compete countries around the world. America’s business leaders understand that when it comes to education, we need to up our game. That’s why we’re working together to put an outstanding education within reach for every child.”

~President Barack Obama, July 18, 2011

Contrast that statement with this one from Texas dumb arse governor and former GOP Presidential candidate, Rick Perry, during a debate:

“I will tell you: It’s three agencies of government, when I get there, that are gone: Commerce, Education and the… what’s the third one there? Let’s see. OK. So Commerce, Education and the… The third agency of government I would…I would do away with the Education, the … Commerce… and…let’s see….I can’t. The third one, I can’t. Sorry. Oops.”

Thankfully, Mr. Perry is no longer a candidate for the highest office in the land — but his incessant babbling utterances delivered during that debate don’t stray too far from the GOP platform: get the federal government out of education and place that responsibility solely in the hands of state government and parents.

I present no flip answers to what is an important issue but I do have a question: If education is considered to be, as many on both sides of the aisle have suggested, an important issue in the areas of both civil rights and national security then why, after a seemingly endless number of GOP debates, hasn’t education been closer to the forefront of the discussions? If we’re going to be serious about the future of this nation then shouldn’t we be more concerned about investing in education? Isn’t a nation’s progress bound to its investment in education?

In terms of the candidates’ respective backgrounds, to his credit, Newt Gingrich has said since he began his revisionist teaching career that of all the domestic issues, the quality of education is among the top most important policy problems. Mitt Romney has been a supporter of former President Bush’s No Child Left Behind program but says accountability measures are needed and “some improvements need to be made to the law”. So much for specifics. Rick Santorum doesn’t seem to care as long as creationism and an anti-homosexual agenda is in the curriculum and Ron Paul’s view of anything having to do with the federal government tends to be ‘get rid of it’.

It would make sense to eliminate any entity that isn’t doing the job that it was intended to do; waste is inefficient. But can this be said of the Department of Education? We know there’s no such thing as an organisation that has no points of inefficiency and ineffectiveness but is complete elimination warranted?

What evidence do we have that turning the responsibility of education over to the states and the control of parents — with no real oversight — would be a good thing? For many of us, the very thought of state control is cringe-worthy. Why? Because we’ve seen that some states (such as South Carolina) made changes only made when forced to by the federal government — and the updates to their system took place so that they wouldn’t lose funding.

How about Texas?  They’re a perfect illustration of how the issue isn’t solely about children being taught; it is also about what they are taught and by whom. The Texas School Board has too much power; they, through sheer purchasing power, set the standards in terms of what many publishers are ‘allowed’ to put into textbooks. It’s interesting to hear their rationale for re-writing history…*sigh*…adding more religion and removing words like ‘slavery’ don’t actually change history, you know — but some real book learnin’ would have taught them that.

Maybe it’s time we get serious about looking at how education is funded; state and local governments fund education through property taxes so economically disadvantaged areas often lack much needed resources. No matter what the root of the problem is, we won’t solve it if we’re spending time debating about which candidate has truly earned his conservative bona fides. Just as with education, we need candidates who meet quality requirements.



  1. […] she can go into the land of the loathsome she says something that shows, despite all of her formal education and legal training, that she’s as obtuse as ever. […]

  2. […] free of and from religious influence. In present day, that not only pertains to birth control but education, science, healthcare, economics, foreign affairs and overall political […]

  3. […] responsibility. And in fact, they force them, in many respects, to turn their children over to the public education system and wrest control from them and block them out of participation of that. That has to change […]

  4. […] of WHY.  When I was in graduate school, we spend a lot of time talking about the inadequacies in education for minority students. During these discussions, the policies on immigration often came […]

  5. […] of the biggest complaints about secondary education by colleges, universities, and businesses is that students are not arriving with the thinking […]

  6. […] Texas School Board/ State Board of Education.   Texas has a LOT of clout.  Why?  Because as they have the power of the almighty dollar. […]

  7. […] anyone has reason to be sad on Valentine’s day, it’s Newty. To be so close to victory in South Carolina, only to have it snatched from his flabby hands so quickly by Mr. Inevitable! How tragic a world […]

  8. […] assumptions underlying both these two main schemes of elevating the status of higher education proved faulty before long. No research projects seemed to have any significant positive impact on […]

  9. […] should be running schools, is anachronistic.” So he is against government spending on education, […]

  10. […] ache in my heart that I have observed and personally been affected by how the United States’ public education is being chewed and spit back up without any care in the […]

  11. […] 79 percent feel that the arts should be a priority in education reform […]

  12. […] in this world of much oppression and intolerance, or are we a bigoted, backwater nation of which we educated folks who know better should be ashamed? Let’s face it, there is some validity to the Right’s […]

  13. […] Politicians are backing this film, but those same adults are probably guilty of bullying. […]

  14. […] growth continued until the 1970 and the first attacks on the institutions such as trade unions and public education, that helped the middle class […]

  15. […] the Four Year Degree April 27, 2012 by Tara Meehan Leave a Comment Education is going to be a hot button issue during this election cycle. The GOP will call President Obama an […]

  16. […] year’s coming to a close, so it figures that many of us here at BNV have been weighing in on the state of education. And as well we should. It’s one of the only issues — in fact, possibly the only one […]

  17. […] sinking test scores, disproportionate dropout rates, far more skilled jobs than qualified workers, misguided government policy, skyrocketing costs amidst a declining economy, etc etc. Much heated debate surrounds these issues, […]

  18. […] your finals for the year, a little something to reassure you that you’re on the right track: the entire education system is broken. Not just a few kinks here and there that need smoothing out. I mean the whole thing, from the […]

  19. […] this what is happening across the country? Are public schools being mistakenly black-balled by parents out of misconception? Or is my district an exception to […]

  20. […] schools can’t charge tuition, but are often severely underfunded and the funds they do get come from a LOT of different places and can only be spent certain […]

  21. […] sedentary society. The shakier the economy becomes, the more grateful people are for their educations, their jobs, their homes, whatever they can latch onto. We’re like vermin in the mansion of the […]

  22. […] to be poor and suffering and we all recognize that we have to do something to improve both our nation’s schools and our health care delivery system. These are all complex issues. As our President has reminded […]

  23. […] also note that the nation’s growth continued until the attacks against trade unions and public education began. We now see a disturbing trend:  unions helped the middle class expand and their decline […]

  24. […] by Brooklyn Dame Leave a Comment If you’re a regular reader of this site you know that education is a frequent topic. Though the nation’s economy is slowly improving, its current state […]