Tuesday, November 9, 2010

In Case You Were Wondering Where That Howl Of Fury and Protest Was Coming From...

It was me.  When I read this article.

What a load of utter, middle-class-guilt assuaging, white man's burden, condescending, collectivist, furrowed brow, think-of-the-little-people nonsense.

First, why is it my business to raise other people's kids?  Help them, yes.  Care for them, absolutely.  As a Christian, reach into their problems?  For sure.  But consider them FIRST, over my own doggone (hypothetical, future) children?  That gets a big HECK NO.

Second, why do I get to choose between 1) hurting those poor poor children, you arrogant and probably racist jerk, and 2) helping those poor poor children by sending my smarter, richer, happier, more psychologically balanced offspring (oh, the irony) to whatever public school my municipality in its infinite wisdom decides to shuttle them off to?  That, boys and girls, is called a false dilemma.  With just a leetle dash of straw man thrown in.

Just imagine with me for a moment that there could be -- miracle of miracles -- something like... wait for it... a third option!  What?  More than two options?  No way, man, we're American, we can't give people more than two options!  Not in public discourse!  Hahahaha...


Phil said...

An excellent point. What Father would send his "smarter, richer, happier" Son into such a world, asking such a Son to put others' needs before his own?


One Salient Oversight said...

I sympathise with both points. As a teacher who has taught in public schools with children from low socioeconomic areas, I can testify that smart kids do help the not-so-smart kids to perform better, and removing the smart kids does result in the not-so-smart kids losing out.

But I also sympathise with the fact that, as a parent, I want the best for my own children.

Personally I think the solution is to make public schools better, and then parents will respond by sending their smart kids there.

Laura said...

Phil -- the kind of Father with a perfect Son who will never be drawn into sin by His companions. ;)

OSO -- see, that's the issue. What the article does is set before us a false dilemma where you're a villain on one side and a victim on the other, and what you've done is pointed out another way that involves neither option! :)

DanaMichelle said...

For me, what's super frustrating is walking into Coleridge-Taylor and then Bloom Elementary and seeing the GIGANTIC difference between the two, in spite of the fact that they are getting the same federal funding as each other. Why? Because more affluent people send their kids to Bloom (because A) They understand the application process and B) It's in an affluent area) THUS, Bloom is MUCH more well equipped because the PTA is actually able to raise money because the majority of the parents who send their kids to that school can afford to actually give money from their luxury funds (I have one of those-I'm not being condescending here) as opposed to giving money and not having food. Or heat. Or water.

From my perspective, the problem of schools isn't singularly a lack of educational funding (which encompasses better training, early childhood programs, educational materials and that sort of thing), though that is a HUGE part of it. What I see is that the problem @ hand also has roots in the way we help/don't help those in poverty. The way we view impoverished people and what we are doing, individually and corporately, to ease the burden that poverty places on families, esp. children.

Anywhoo. :)
That's just some more food for thought.

Laura said...

Dana, thanks for commenting! Yeah, I generally don't buy the "more funding is the answer" thing -- the best-performing schools in the country (and especially around the world) are not necessarily the best-funded schools (For example: CCA's per-student cost is $5500 annually. The average amount a public school spends per student runs between $11,000 and $17,000 annually), and I actually think that increasing school funding is the opposite of helpful when we see it as a way to avoid actually addressing the problem. We're really good in this country at throwing money at a problem and really bad at addressing the problem over the long term.

I think one major issue (which factors into what you said) is that American's can't see past a politician's term in office. We want every necessary change in public education to happen RIGHT NOW, in this generation, tomorrow if possible. We're unwilling to say, You know what? This is a beast, and it's not going to change overnight. Quality education is our goal for the next 50 years and we'll take it as slowly as we need to so the changes will stick.

John Roberts said...

I think that a government-enforced return to using The Trivium would fix everything. Somebody please stand up and shout "Dorothy Sayers!"

That and uniforms.


P.S. Not like anybody is actually going to read something this brilliant, but anyway . . .

Laura said...