When I wrote the post “Why All of the Lies on the Right?” (Part 1) a couple of days ago I left an important bundle of lies out because it would have made that post way too long, namely those were the attacks of the right going back several decades on public education. I believe that free and public education (of the people, by the people, for the people) is a cornerstone of our democracy and if we lose it, we might well be doomed as a viable political entity, so this is a very important topic.
So, what are these lies? Here is a partial list:
1. Student achievement in American primary schools has recently declined.
2. American college students’ performance has likewise declined.
3. The intellectual abilities including abstract problem-solving skills of American young people have recently declined.
4. Schools in the U.S. come in far behind the performance of some schools in other countries.
5. The U.S. spends a lot more money on schools than other countries do.
6. Investing in schools has not brought success; actually there is no relation between spending and performance.
“Why are these lies being repeated over and over such that many people now believe they are true?”
7. Recent increases in school spending have been wasted on administration and raises for teachers.
8. The productivity of American workers is deficient which reflects the inadequate training they receive in our public schools.
9. The U.S. produces far too few scientists, engineers, and mathematicians to meet its needs (the so-called STEM crisis).
10. Our teachers aren’t qualified and/or are incompetent.
11. Our textbooks teach immorality.
12. Private schools are inherently better than public schools\13. Private schools outperform public schools.
13. Poverty is not an excuse, good teachers can overcome the effects of student poverty.
… there’re more, but I think my point has been made. All of the above statements are false (yes, even the STEM crisis one). I won’t go into why or how they are false as these can be easily researched with simple Google searches. I call them lies because these have been used over and over by politicians on the right, even after they have been discredited by studies. If you, as a politician, are going to advocate education policy, you damned well better know the facts.
Why are these lies being repeated over and over such that many people now believe they are true?
“How can a chronically underfunded non-profit effort (even more so because of the Great Recession) be made better by extracting profits from that enterprise?”
Since the effort is politically motivated, we must follow the money. There are billions and billions of dollars to be made by private entities (charter schools, private schools, textbook companies, testing companies, etc.) replacing public ones. This has already begun in several states when the public coffers have been opened wide to the raiding of corporations to solve problems that do not exist. Many of these efforts have been made immune to labor laws and public accountability laws (meaning they don’t have to account for the money they spend). And I have yet to hear a viable answer to my question: how can a chronically underfunded non-profit effort (even more so because of the Great Recession) be made better by extracting profits from that enterprise?
So, in the morality of conservatives includes “lies are fine as long as money can be made off of them” and “undermining our democracy is okay as long as a profit is made in doing so.” Maybe it is not the textbooks that are undermining the morality of our students, maybe it is the Conservatives.