Conservatives can be a dumb bunch at times. From the social conservative for whom there is nothing conservative about using government to run other people’s lives (how exactly is that different from liberals?). Then you have the Ron Paul section of the party a bunch of cowardly isolationists who like to hold to an extreme view of an idealist economic philosophy (Austrian economics have many good points, but they are extremists who don’t want to worry about real world problems on in their little ideals). And we certainly have our share of RINOS who want to be loved more by their liberal friends than having any fidelity to reason, truth or justice. Not that liberals aren’t stupid (good lord they are) nor are true libertarians less insane than Ron Paul Republicans…but we conservatives have our share of idiots, no doubt. And one can often see this stupidity in such publications as very inappropriately named “American Thinker” which seems to appeal to all strands of conservative idiocy.
For instance in a time when Republicans need to close ranks around Romney…hell even if you can’t see that he is in every way the inheritor of Reagan’s legacy, we’re fighting against the second-coming of Jimmy Carter meets FDR meets Benedict Arnold! It’s time to close ranks. But no, no, let’s let idiots complain about Romney on supposedly conservative web sites…and let’s let them use liberal talking points to do it. Like this article “Mitt Flunks Education 101” by Robert Weissberg who as far as I can tell is a moron. Why do I say that? Well, going back over some of his other articles he states as a complaint against the election system that is designed to elect moderates like Romney (who really isn’t a moderate) and that “The system is supposed to produce moderation, not “full-strength” candidate [sic] such as Ron Paul and Rick Santorum.” I’m not sure when “full strength” became a synonym for “f*cking psychopath,” (not to mention homophone in Ricky and anti-Semite in Ron) but the use of the term really makes me doubt Weissberg’s intellectual credentials.
1. The genius begins his complaints of six things wrong with Romney’s stance on education with something that isn’t even a proposal, rather Romney simply offering a statement of fact.
“He begins by calling the gap between whites and minorities (assumed to be blacks and Hispanics) ‘the civil rights issue of our era.’ This gap may, in fact, be a civil rights issue, but nobody, regardless of ideology, has any solid idea on how to close it.”
Um, actually genius, the solution would be in the next five points. Although if you want a specific point to address the gap in minority scores then we could look at the one thing Bush got right in education reform—complaining about “the soft bigotry of low expectations.” I’m a teacher and trust me, there are many in education who are bigots and simply think that if minorities get a C then that’s the best they can do. I actually once had an argument with a school administrator over who to give an award for academic achievement to—I wanted to give it to a high performing AP student, this administrator wanted to give it to a C student and his actual argument was “Yeah but she’s white, this kid is Hispanic do you know how hard it must be to get a C.” Took everything I had not to punch the asshole in the face. And it’s not just race, there are low expectations on gender and income level as well, despite the fact that I have learned you can push any kid from any background to any level so long as you have high expectations and the student is willing to learn. But even though recognizing this as a problem, the only solution to this problem lies in points 2-6.
2. Romney, quite intelligently, supports Vouchers and Charters, the idiot complaining about Romney seems to think they don’t work…and I love how he quotes a report, from a newspaper (I’m sure they’re qualified to run this kind of high level analysis), that shows charters don’t outperform regular schools. (Let’s ignore that charters appeal to lower end students which removing them from the pool raises the public school numbers…and shows charters can bring the worst up to average level). Heaven forbid we should look at real data that shows some charters do work. I’ll be the first to admit that not all charters work, but the fun thing about charters is that unlike public schools, if they don’t work, they close and are replaced by something else. I would also point out that it is simply impossible to judge any school until it has been in operation for at least 3 years—I’ve been involved in opening a school from the ground up, your first year you take whatever type of student you can get and have to deal with a myriad of education deficiencies caused by previous public school incompetence…it takes time to identify and put in systems to correct the most common problems and set up a culture in the school that encourages success, but once in place that culture is effective and hard to destroy. In the real world the same capitalistic market forces that create high quality low price goods for us, create high quality low priced education when competition is allowed to flourish.
The genius ends his critique of charters with what I assume is attempt at wit “Where are all the Bain Capital accountants to calculate gains versus losses?” Ummm….as the people at Bain are quite good at what they do I would assume they put the profits as far exceeding the losses.
It gets even funnier however when you read this guy’s follow up article on what Mitt should do for education. Weissberg says “Then dismantle all the Department of Education one-size-fits-all mandates on testing and proficiency. And on and on. In an instant, teachers could teach, not battle Mickey Mouse rules, and students will benefit.” So what Mitt should do is let schools be free from the rules to experiment and try new things to see what works without overbearing control from above…which, in the real world is called, charter schools. So advocating charter schools is dumb, because what we really need is charter schools. Man, Weissberg, you are such a genius!
But don’t worry that the statement about freeing schools from “one-size-fits-all mandates on testing and proficiency” appears in paragraph 6 of his article on what Mitt should do. In paragraph 8 we should “add nationally certified ‘super schools’ drawing on the top 1% or 2% as established by tough, no-nonsense tests.” So testing is bad, what we need is testing. Got it.
And you wonder why I find Mitt Romney critiques stupid?
3. Next up he tries to hit Mitt for calling for Teacher Accountability. And his proof that teacher accountability doesn’t work is that Mayor Bloomberg in New York has tried to do this and it’s been a disaster. I’m shocked a big government statist like Bloomberg doesn’t effectively put into practice what should be a capitalist metric that is supposed to be controlled at a local level. It’s like saying capitalism doesn’t work, because the economy didn’t do well under Obama.
Teacher Accountability should be an issue for principals and school boards, judging by open and fair, but local, criteria that can be adjusted to the needs of the individual school. This will help address the needs of the students and reward those who meet those needs the best. This is the advantage of charters, they have very local control. When controlled by a big government, pro-union, damn near fascist state like Bloomberg’s New York, of course it’s not going to work. Duh. More importantly Unions should not be in government – what exactly do they need protection from? If schools were not protected by unions and worried about litigation we probably would not have as many teacher/student molestations as these people would lose their license and schools would tell other schools why they no longer work there – but that would never happen now under current conditions.
4. Individual report cards for schools is apparently also a dumb idea of Mitt’s. Yeah, why should parents know if the school their kid goes to is failing or not. Why not?
According to Weissberg…because there’s been a lot of cheating involved. So instead of coming up with rules and procedures to reduce cheating (outside proctors, not letting teacher’s proctor their own students, off site testing…you know all the things the SAT does) no, let’s just throw out any legitimate way to judge schools. And again rather than look at where this has succeeded in raising the bar, let’s judge this by how Bloomberg has failed to implement it. Schools need to be compared to minimum standards nationally along with all the local schools that should be in competition for a better way to make decisions. This is how business does it – they have company standards and then they also compare along those lines to local competition.
5. And Mitt is wrong for being anti union. “But unions are not the problem.” Dipshit, unions are a huge portion of the problem. Huge. They are standing in the way of every major reform ever attempted. There is a reason why everyone agrees the lawsuit against the California unions is likely to succeed…because the teacher’s unions protect bad teachers! That is their only purpose. To protect what is wrong in American education. And how does Weissberg show unions aren’t the problem? Pro-union Massachusetts (which ironically also has school choice because of the efforts of a previous Governor…Mitt something or other) does better than anti-union South on school tests. This is stupid because, first, as every state comes up with its own tests, or who gets tested in national tests, it never apples to apples comparisons; second, because, even I’ll admit socioeconomics is a greater predictor to performance than anything else (see point 1) and, last time I checked Massachusetts has better socioeconomics as a whole than most states in the South. It would be like comparing a union public school in Beverly Hills against a non union charter in Watts and saying that because the charter school’s scores weren’t higher clearly the union isn’t to blame and charters don’t solve anything. The rest of us realize that parents and culture are more important than school, school is supposed to be the stop gap against those forces which work against education, not merely a reflection of it (which Mr. Weissberg seems all too comfortable with).
And socioeconomics is an indicator only because the majority currently do not value education for their children and are not involved in their children’s lives, look to D.C. and those parents who cared and got their children into the better schools saw an improvement that has been substantiated in studies, despite low socioeconomics, thanks too…charters, vouchers, teacher accountability, grading schools, not having low expectations and…#6
6. Finally he critiques Mitt’s push for parents to have the right to move their children out of failing schools. Because why should you have any liberty, after all we live in a fascist/socialist regime where you have no rights, why should you question the government monopoly on education? Oh, wait. Why is school choice a bad thing?
“More important, again, past failure is crystal-clear. Troubled students bring their troubled habits with them, and, more important, they typically undermine their new ‘good schools.’”
And while I’m sure that I’m just reading vehement implicit racism in that statement (the soft bigotry of low expectation), I’m sure no racism exists whatsoever in Mr. Wesissberg. On the other hand as a charter teacher who has dealt with those students who bring their bad habits, I will simply say that good teachers, given time, are in the job of correcting bad habits and replacing them with good ones.
But Weissberg creates a preposterous example of what would happen if more students want to leave a school than there are slots for students in a good school…are we to shove some of the students that already go to the good school and force them into the bad? This is stupid beyond belief. We have lotteries for when there are not enough slots…and we would have more good schools if idiots didn’t oppose charters and vouchers. Further, . he is not accounting for the fact that even if there were no slots the schools that the parents want to leave would realize that they were losing students and would slowly need to compete – thus improve and they would realize – this will be a shock- but since the system is based on acquiring money (ADA) and they would need to improve so more people would want to bring their students to that school so they could make more money – what a concept.
Finally he complains that while Mitt’s idea to cut spending to the Department of Education is a good idea, it will fail because Mitt can’t pull it off…because Mitt has such a history of failure (so long as you ignore the history of success at Bain, the Olympics, Massachusetts…I mean if you just ignore the mountain of good stuff then Romney’s a complete failure at everything he does).
In the end Weissberg gives Romney an “F” on education. Reason, logic, and common sense would give Weissberg a grade lower than “F” if such were possible. In fact, saying this as someone from the trenches, Romney gets a “B” in education. He’s saying the right things, identifying the problems and the correct solutions. Now if he can actually pull it off, which will require a lot of fighting with liberals tooth and nail, then he gets an “A”. And I think he will get an “A”, if the GOP backs him and ignores idiots like Weissberg.