Rightwing Crap About Education in the US

Harpo Marx writes:

RL: They are trying to destroy public education and affordable college education, once again along the lines of a Third World model where public schools are underfunded, ruined and lousy and the only way to get a good education is to send your kid to private school. There will be moves in the coming year to make huge cuts in Pell Grants for college students. This project is very much ongoing and has been for a good 30 years or so. It is very much accelerating lately in the wake of budget troubles.As for public education, Asian Americans place second in the world after Shanghai Chinese kids, White Americans place second (for Whites) after Finns… Hispanic Americans blow away every Latin American country and African Americans… well there is no competition since sub Saharan Africa doesn’t administer the PISA test but they do beat their closest competition in Trinidad Tobago (which is 40% Indian..)
Yes I know Buchanan… but the facts check out. He claims that the US spends (per capita..) the second highest amount in the world per student for k-12 education (after Luxembourg..) however I was not able to independently verify this.

As for public education, Asian Americans place second in the world after Shanghai Chinese kids, White Americans place second (for Whites) after Finns… Hispanic Americans blow away every Latin American country and African Americans… well there is no competition since sub Saharan Africa doesn’t administer the PISA test but they do beat their closest competition in Trinidad Tobago (which is 40% Indian…).

Harpo is a rightwing deficit hawk whose philosophy can be briefly summed up as “The government spends too damn much money (and needs to cut back on the excessive spending)!”.
There is a serious problem with his analysis.
If the US really spends so much on public education, then why are so many schools broke? Here in California, teachers are being fired left and right, and those teachers with a job often have to provide their own supplies. 25 years ago, I taught in ghetto schools that were for all intents and purposes destroyed. They had ripped up textbooks that there many years out of date, and not even enough of those to go around. Much of the furniture was falling apart or destroyed. We hear reports of leaking roofs and all sorts of structural damage.
Proposition 13 in 1978, led by White California, began the destruction of public infrastructure in the state, and with it, the California schools. The Whites who voted for Prop. 13 were destroying their own White schools, but I guess California Whites don’t even care if they destroy their own schools?
I went to school in California from 1962-1975, the Golden Age. We had PE, music, art, clubs, the whole nine yards. Since 1978, extracurricular activities have been whittled away. Foreign languages, art, music, band, PE, sports, everything, you name it, they are destroying it all. All that’s left is core curriculum, and even that has been whittled away down through the years.
Maybe I’m a romantic, but I think that something sucks when schools get rid of art, music, band, PE, sports and extracurricular stuff. Something’s missing from education. It’s like all the fun has been sucked out of school. Are California Whites such pigs that they really want to whittle education down to the bare bones just to save a few bucks on taxes? It’s hard to believe, but apparently it’s true.
I went to university here from 1978-1981, and then again from 1991-1994. It was much more expensive the second time around, but the education was still very good. Now the tuition has gone through the roof, and I guess only rich people can afford to go to college, which is more or less the way it’s always been in this craphole country anyway.
Now there are massive cuts at the university level, and droves of students who want to go to college are being turned away every year because there is not enough room for them. You’ve got about one day to get into your classes, and it’s a huge race. Most of it is done online. If you don’t get into your classes in the first day, you’re screwed.
In many other countries in the world, university education is either very cheap or even completely free. And it’s often high quality too.
It’s very hard to believe, considering the high tuition prices, lack of vacancies and huge cuts in university education, that the US has some overspending problem in college education.
It’s also hard to believe considering the gutting of extracurricular activities, art, music, PE, sports, clubs, etc, the decrepit and destroyed infrastructure, the mass firings of teachers, teachers having to supply their own materials, etc. that the US has some overspending problem in terms of K-12 education.
Rightwing rhetoric is interesting and often seems to be intense arguments, but a lot of seems to fly right in the face of reality.

Please follow and like us:
error0
fb-share-icon20
Tweet 20
fb-share-icon20

0 thoughts on “Rightwing Crap About Education in the US”

  1. Rob,
    I didn’t claim that their weren’t major imbalances for spending at the k-12 level and I don’t doubt you said shortages in the schools were you taught. Also I did say I would like independent verification for Buchanan’s claim of the second highest level of spending after Luxembourg.
    The figures below would indicate the US spends more than top ranked Finland and South Korea but markedly below Cuba:
    http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/edu_exp_per_stu_pri_of_gdp_per_cap-per-student-primary-gdp-capita
    There’s also the manner in which the money is being spent… the US spends 16% of it’s GDP on medical care (highest in the world) but I doubt many people would say we have a fair and equitable system for medical care.

  2. Lindsay I have no problem paying taxes to maintain a good public school system, I just wish they would be more open minded. I had a bad experience with the public schools in elementary school and I would have liked to get a public high school diploma from my town’s public high school through distance education and dual enrollment with a community college but they believe the high school social experience, which I find to be nothing more than prolonged adolescence for myself, is somehow *essential*to our developement. I would have an easier time paying taxes (though I don’t believe tax payers should have to foot the bill for after school activities, especially in affluent school systems where parents can afford it. My town recently sent the girls’s freshman soccer team to Alabama for a recereational tournament at the taxpayer’s expense) if the Ameircan public education system were more open minded.
    On the other side of the ticket, In England, there is a movement in the labor party to make public education mandatory, to ensure that everyone gets an equal education. I can understand that there is a class issue and students educated in private schools are generally favored in college admissions and in the professional world but this can be solved through anti discrimination laws rather than creating an even bigger class war. And in Sweden, in an attempt to regulate education particularly in the large muslim community, it is now illegal to homeschool your child and the government has really overstepped its boundaries in regulating private education. For example, it is now illegal for religious schools to educate boys and girls separately. This will ultimately create a class war and a relgious war.
    There are some Americans who espouse these views as well. They are seen as somewhat cultlike, but they still have a significant following.
    I would find the Western public school systems more appealing if they were less authoritarian and spent less of my taxes on frivolous expenses. I have no problem paying taxes to maintain a reputable and competitive public school system but I do not intend to send my children to them. I prefer homeschool coops or jewish day schools. I may owe my taxes to the public schools but I do not owe them my childrens’ presence. Once the hard left can understand that, then we’re dandy.

  3. “In many other countries in the world, university education is either very cheap or even completely free. And it’s often high quality too.”
    I take serious issue with free university education. You yourself have placed a lot of emphasize on the importance of high IQ’s and have said many people shouldn’t go to college. IK can understand that although the college experience is very much a right of passage in
    American culture. But why should someone of a lower IQ pay taxes so that some pompous ass can get a bunch of advanced degrees in some invented liberal arts field at a first rate university with state of the art equipment and end up contributing nothing to society while they continue to work menial labor jobs for the rest of their lives and get no respect for it. You still haven’t answered my question.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *