Friday, March 20, 2020

Don't Ever Forget How Much Some Folks Hate Public Education

Interesting piece this week in the Washington Post, penned by Stuart Stevens, a GOP non-Trump fan consultant with a book coming out. The whole piece, about how the GOP has morphed into the kind of party ripe for something like this coronviracation we're now all sharing, is well worth reading, but here's just one quote:

The failures of the government’s response to the coronavirus crisis can be traced directly to some of the toxic fantasies now dear to the Republican Party. Here are a few: Government is bad. Establishment experts are overrated or just plain wrong. Science is suspect. And we can go it alone, the world be damned.

Those feelings find their way into a variety of issues, and public education is not immune.

I'm not talking about folks like the AEI-Fordham axis of disruptors. There are people in the reformster world who have (or at least show) respect for teachers, even recognize there is some value in the public education system.

But that's not everybody. I've been watching-- am, in fact, still watching-- a thread unfold on the twitter that is venomous pile-on that embraces all of the the fantasies listed above. Assertions in this thread include:

Public education should be abolished.
There's nothing special about being a teacher; anyone can do it.
Schools are oppressive prisons devoted to indoctrinating students into... well, something bad.
All of public education is a socialist plot. Or maybe a fascist one.
Parents own their children, not the government, and they will make all decisions themselves.

Plus the ever-popular idea that public education is a scam perpetrated by the teachers union to just grab all the taxpayer money while simultaneously providing jobs for evil incompetents (who will then do those jobs poorly).

You've seen the stuff before in comment sections, in certain Facebook groups, and twitter pile-ons, and maybe you've viewed it as just an education thing, but I invite you to look back at that quoted paragraph.

It is easy to mistake the anti-public-ed crowd for a bunch of reformsters, but that would be a mistake. Heck, back when Common Core was Public Enemy #1, it was also easy to mistake them for allies. But these are not folks who want to reform or disrupt; they would like to burn it all to the ground.And of all the folks who threaten public ed, they are ones who are perhaps most closely aligned with the current administration.

There may be a lot of feel good memes out there, posts from parents who are expressing newfound love of the schools and the teachers, and that is a great thing. But it's not the only thing going on right now. Pay attention. Be vigilant.

1 comment:

  1. My favorite is the "there's nothing special about being a teacher; anyone can do it" nonsense. This invariably comes from some twit who's never actually tried to teach anything to a child. Those who have tend to react much more like Shonda Rhimes (writer and producer of Grey's Anatomy), who tweeted out "Been homeschooling a 6-year old and 8-year old for one hour and 11 minutes. Teachers deserve to make a billion dollars a year. Or a week." Hopefully, that's the attitude we'll see spread more widely as this goes on, not the ones expressed by the idiots in the Twitter-pile you cited.