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Our local talk radio station advertises heavily that it has all of the superstars of radio.

You can start the morning by listening to Glenn Beck, then just keep the dial on the station and hear the mellow tones of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Mark Levin, and Jason Lewis.

It’s not exactly my cup of tea, but hey, the people who run these radio stations have to make a living and this particular station has done an exemplary job of keeping on top of inclement weather problems and has become involved in numerous local charitable causes, so I am not going to complain too much about its roster of so-called superstars.

Except that one of those superstars, the aforementioned Glenn Beck, wants to put me on the unemployment line, that is if he doesn’t get rid of the unemployment line first.

On his radio program Tuesday, Beck went on a rant about the evils of public education, concluding with the statement, "You’re darned right we should abolish public education."

And what would be the cardinal sin that public education has committed, according to Beck?

"We’re being indoctrinated in our schools," Beck said, without any elaboration on how this indoctrination is being done or what evil thoughts we public schoolteachers are implanting in the minds of impressionable children.

This is not the first time Beck has addressed, perhaps the better word would be created, this problem. He has devoted an entire television show to this "indoctrination," taking a handful of film clips and using them to buttress his cardboard-thin argument against public schools.

When Glenn Beck and others have targeted public education, they base this conclusion on flawed evidence:

American students have fallen behind students in other countries

Every self-serving politician who wants to garner a few votes has used this falsehood to champion calls for educational reform. What none of them ever mentions is what we should be bragging about to the entire world- We are the only nation that fights to make sure that every child, no matter what his or her socioeconomic background receives an education. In other countries, the children are divided at an early age into those who will receive higher education and those who will be delivered into the workforce. We not only provide free education from kindergarten through 12th grade, but we focus on moving a high percentage of our young people into college.

Teachers are filling children’s minds with liberal doctrine
Contrary to what Glenn Beck and other enemies of public education have claimed time after time, year after year, public schoolteachers do not spend every waking moment devising ways to turn empty-vessel schoolchildren into liberal zombies. When I teach writing to students in my eighth grade classes, I don’t care if they agree with me on even one political issue, much less all of them; my sole concern is whether these students can handle the kinds of writing that will help them succeed in high school, college, and beyond.

If you go along with Beck’s assertions, you have to believe that the vast majority of schoolteachers are wild-eyed liberals, insistent on forming everyone in their image. The political makeup of school faculties is largely dependent on the political makeup of the communities in which they live. In Joplin, Missouri, where I teach, the majority of teachers are conservative and have strong family values, even as those terms would be defined by Beck. At lunch each day, the teacher in the room next to mine listens to Rush Limbaugh. Does he teach conservative talking points during his class? Last I heard, the only thing he was teaching was eighth grade science.

Private schools and home schooling are better options for education

Beck even included a reference to the "superiority" of private schools in his rant Tuesday. How often have we heard that private schools do not have the discipline problems of the public schools, that they provide a superior education, and that a higher percentage of their graduates go on to higher education?

As with all myths that are pushed as absolute truths on our society, there is some basis in fact to this one. Private schools do not have the discipline problems that public schools have because THEY CHOOSE THEIR OWN STUDENTS.

Even the ones that pride themselves on providing scholarships to needy students, which is undeniably an admirable thing to do, are failing to point out that the students who receive those scholarships are the ones whose parents care about their children’s futures. The children who cause the most problems in public schools are often the ones whose parents have not provided the solid foundation that children need to succeed in life.

The same reasoning explains why so many of the children who attend private schools go on to higher education. That foundation is there.

Undeniably, many of those who attend private schools receive excellent training. There are superb private schools, just as there are superb public schools.

What Glenn Beck and the others who have made a cottage industry of trash-talking public education never mention is the efforts that public schoolteachers go to make sure that those children who do not have that solid foundation of parental support have the opportunity to succeed. And despite all obstacles, it is amazing how many times public schoolteachers have been able to reach these seemingly unreachable children and head them down the path to success.
While Beck and others have attacked public education at every opportunity, when public schoolteachers defend themselves, they are consistently attacked as being self-serving, union-dominated automatons who are feeding at the public trough. It is sad, and self-destructive that our nation has reached this point.

We live in an American society which has always prided itself, at least until recent years, and justifiably so, on its one-of-a-kind public education system with its guarantee that any child is welcome. Those who feel uncomfortable with that system have always had the option of home-schooling their children, or sending them to a private school. In recent years, however, the public portion of that system has been under attack, labeled as failing through No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top, while proponents of funneling public tax money into private schooling and home schooling have continued to whittle away at the foundations that have provided a solid public education to generations of Americans.

The sea change Glenn Beck is recommending, one which would eliminate public schools and send our children to private schools or have them home-schooled, is far more dangerous than anything that is being taught to our children in public schools.

Glenn Beck’s vision of education would be the very definition of indoctrination.

Originally posted to rturner229 on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 02:32 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Beck - focal point of the wrong of 'The Right' (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I will not teach a man who is not anxious to learn and will not explain to one who is not trying to make things clear to himself - Confucius

    by DiegoUK on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 02:40:58 AM PDT

    •  Problem is now that "teh crazy" is (10+ / 0-)

      outstripping Beck in its outrageousness so Beck is now claiming that George Soros is plotting to have him killed and the capitalist system replaced. Beck seems to suffer from several psychological conflicts which makes me believe he spends hours naked in front of a full length mirror wearing only a Napoleon Bonaparte hat and sash, practicing his speeches for the day when a grateful nation asks him to take the reins of power as the Grand High Poohbah of All Things Political so he can Save the Nation from Communism, Socialism, Enforced Fluoridation, and Mean Drivers and Teachers.

      There is a reason that these talk show divas only finished high school. Education tends to destroy what they are peddling  

  •  Sadly Beck does have an impact (6+ / 0-)

    at least among some groups:
    OTOH Beck is the product of Immaculate Conception in Mount Vernon, WA; at age 13, following the accidental drowning of his mother (which Beck describes as a suicide though her male companion also drowned) he attended and graduated from Sehome HS in Bellingham WA

    From my armchair psychiatry chair, it appears that Beck has ongoing issues surrounding his mother and one manifestation is this aversion to public schools. The problem is that Beck has found a method by which to make a comfortable living by feeding his neuroses to the point of outright psychosis.
    The sooner his listeners learn that they do him no favor by believing his fantasies, the better off Beck will be.
    As matters now stand, Beck is claiming that George Soros intends to assassinate him and destroy the capitalist system:    

  •  Wee doan need no ejukashun (6+ / 0-)

    Cee, Bex lak uv ejukashun hazn't hert him nun; he kan reed the riting on hiz chok bord.

    It sez:

    O L I G A R H Y

  •  Beck is truly sick individual (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    luckylizard, grannycarol

    I wonder how many people watch and listen to him because they think he knows what he's talking about, and how many watch and listen just because they want to hear a paranoid psychotic lunatic rant.

    He not only should be off the air, he should be in a padded room some where with no access to the public.


    "Sick Around the World"

    Watch it, send it along to all you know.

    by oxfdblue on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 02:59:42 AM PDT

    •  His ratings are dropping (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Kimball Cross, luckylizard, oxfdblue

      because the majority of his listeners and watchers were tuning in to see the paranoid psychotic lunatic rant.

      And they have- and now they don't need to anymore.

      He is a joke- pure and simple.

      And sadly- a rich joke who is probably laughing all the way to the bank.

      Growing old is inevitable...Growing up is purely optional

      by grannycarol on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 03:09:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The boycott of his advertisers have had an (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        luckylizard, oxfdblue, Oh Mary Oh

        impact as Media Matters has chronicled the boycott from its inception.
        OTOH another brewing storm is his endorsements of one of his remaining advertisers, a gold broker with a long history of consumer abuse. The example I read about reported that one investor, after having his purchase weighed and appraised, found that after fees and charges and other problems,he had paid $20,000 for $10,000 worth of gold. Now that will take some real increases in the price of gold to allow him to recoup his original investment.

        I disremember if it were Rush or Boortz who was touting a gold exchange, without explaining that his gold investments were in historical gold coins, which is a completely different kettle of fish from the Krugerrand a Month club he was pushing. However, since their listeners are sheep, I guess they deserve to be fleeced and sheared by their fuhrers.    

  •  The right wing has always (7+ / 0-)

    opposed public education because they don't want to pay the taxes to support it.  That's the bottom line.  All the other stuff about liberal indoctrination, etc. is just fodder for the Beck/Limbaugh crazies to feed to their audience.  And of course most of their audience couldn't come up with the money to pay to send their kids to private school, so this is another case of conning people into working against their own best interests.

    •  Not just that. (6+ / 0-)

      They have been on a crusade to abolish public schools since they were forced to desegregate.  This has morphed into their total distrust and disdain for public education.  The true crown jewel of this country, what has allowed us to rise so far, so fast, is the access to education by all our citizens.  While these people tout American Exceptionalism as a Holy Grail, they do everything in their power to destroy it.  They are crazy and, in many cases, unreachable.  They simply don't tolerate opposing views, no matter how well-presented.

      -7.62, -7.28 "Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly." -Langston Hughes

      by luckylizard on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 03:53:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Exactly, southdem, it's all about paying taxes (3+ / 0-)

      When I hear the arguments against public education, I always have to ask, what is the alternative?

      If the answer is homeschooling, I have to ask, by whom?  Of all the people I know with school age kids, I don't know of a single parent who is capable or committed enough. If the answer is private schools, I have to ask, who can afford that?

      If truth is beauty, how come no one has their hair done in the library? Lily Tomlin

      by msmacgyver on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 04:50:30 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The ultimate goal (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Oh Mary Oh, msmacgyver, Mostel26

        Is to re-establish the sharply divided class society, with a huge underclass of completely uneducated poor, a small, technically educated middle class, and a tiny upper class given high-cost private education (but who are otherwise useless drones battening off the creativity of the middle class and the cheap labor of the poor).

        •  A dystopian dream by those who imagine (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Oh Mary Oh

          that 'they' would be the ones on top.

          On a practical note, what do these dreamers imagine that kids would be doing rather than going to school?

          If truth is beauty, how come no one has their hair done in the library? Lily Tomlin

          by msmacgyver on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 06:55:59 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Agreed (0+ / 0-)

          The destruction of the middle class has been the goal of the Republican leadership for quite some time. The non-stop attacks on unions (especially teachers unions) have killed the earning power of a lot of Americans.  

  •  Liberal teachers? (4+ / 0-)

    I'd love to see more of them.  It was the votes of teachers that put the GOP into power here in Georgia and still keeps them there even through budget cuts, furloughs, and a lot of other garbage that is based on ideology, not economics.

  •  Among other reasons, (5+ / 0-)

    my "agressive anti-Bush" stance was responsible for getting me fired from the catholic school where I taught for 10 years.  A conservative student (who said Bush was his hero and converted to mormonism later) lied about me and forged a letter from his mom (a democrat) about how I was trying to indoctinate my envsci class was exhibit A in my termination.

    Such crap.  Teachers teach.  We may have political feelings, but they don't (shouldn't) affect the teaching of the subject matter.

    Where did the rest of the elves go?

    by thepothole on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 03:44:56 AM PDT

    •  I've walked that tightrope (6+ / 0-)

      for over twenty years.  I pains me to see Catholics buy into the conservative crap simply because of a perceived agreement on abortion.  Anyone who's ever read the documents on social justice knows that there is much more to consider.   Not only that, anyone who knows the full agenda of the evangelicals knows that Catholics will be the first ones under the bus if the theocrats ever take over.

      I have tried to shift the discussion away from political figures or candidates to issues.  In some cases, I've used a well-announced "devil's advocate" position to add opposite ideas to the discussion.  That has worked so far...

      -7.62, -7.28 "Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly." -Langston Hughes

      by luckylizard on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 04:06:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Unfortunately (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Oh Mary Oh, thepothole

      Teachers teach.  We may have political feelings, but they don't (shouldn't) affect the teaching of the subject matter.

      They shouldn't, but often they do.   In my last school (I'm retired as of 5/28!!!) the conservative teachers felt free to editorialize.  The community is conservative so there were no objections.

      •  We had a chem teacher (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Oh Mary Oh, southdem

        who regularly referred to arabs as "ragheads".  He got fired the year after me for general incompetence (which he deserved), but his politics were never an issue.  But mine were, based on one or two students complaining.  

        On the other hand, when 4/1 termination notice was given, I kept right on teaching and pushing the kids to do better.  My motto was, "What are they going to do, fire me?".  When his 4/1 moment came, he just stopped coming in, totally screwing the AP chem kids; so take from that what you will.

        On the gripping hand, congrats on your retirerment!  I hope you spend many earned restful years enjoying it!

        Where did the rest of the elves go?

        by thepothole on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 06:01:41 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Add in the Urban Ed cabal (0+ / 0-)

    What makes having to defend the work of the public school system an even bigger challenge is the way many of the members of our urban communities have been duped into joining the school privatization (vouchers and charters included) cabal of the last 20 years. The Michele Rhee, Al Sharpton, and President Obama group has been fooled into thinking that unionized public educators are intentionally failing urban youth.  
    In far too many of our urban settings our far from perfect public schools are the only vehicle for the upward mobility of urban young people. Those young folks, as well as their parents, have been failed by every other segment of society in so many ways that far too many see a teachers union as the most easy to identify target.  Throw in the virulent anti-union, anti-tax, and anti-public education mindset of maniacs like Beck, and you are sickly tapping into the fears of our citizens who are most in need.

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