Wednesday, December 28, 2005

A matter of dollars and sense

Matthew Yglesias writes a mostly well thought-out piece on the No Child Left Behind article in WaPo that I mentioned here. The WaPo OP/Ed complained that the worst-performing students are getting all of the attention (read: money) while the so-called gifted students are getting short changed. Yglesias says that the "false choice" mentioned here is not a false choice at all. He's right. Then he says,
The former (investing in the "hard cases") strikes me as more desirable than the latter (investing in the "easy cases"), especially for people who want to think of themselves as being on the left.
My question to Matthew is, "What does 'being on the left', or not, have to do with it?" I don't think that those in the middle or on the right would hesitate for even a nano-second to agree that educating the difficult-to-reach would have far greater long-term effects on the health of our nation than failing to adequately advance those gifted students. And I don't think anyone on any side of the political spectrum would disagree that it is important that we give the proper attention, money and effort to educate all children as well as we possibly can regardless of the degree of difficulty encountered.

I really hate it when someone "on the left" drags that political crap out and smears it all over the table. Very presumptuous and, I might add, very divisive. I defy anyone anywhere to identify and document to my satisfaction a school district anywhere in the land, Massachusetts or California or New York (leftie hotbeds) or wherever, that has done all possible to educate the children in its charge. It ain't there. We don't do do it, anywhere, anytime. If we did, the No Child Left Behind Act would cause no grief whatsoever to those wonderful school districts. But where is it they are screaming the loudest? And who were the lefties who wrote the Act? Who were the lefties that promoted the Act? Who was the leftie presidential candidate who made the Act one of the centerpieces of his campaign? Which were the rightie labor unions who so virulently opposed the Act?


Anyone with mental capacities and thought processes above the absolute moron level must realize that our prisons, our welfare rolls, our soup kitchens and our unemployment lines are filled with formerly difficult-to-educate children. And it doesn't require a degree in advanced mathmatics from MIT to at least guess at that annual cost. It's gotta be in the billions and billions per year, every year. Knowing these two things, it then doesn't require a Harvard PhD to deduce that more investment in those difficult-to-reach children would pay off, in the long run, many times over.

As a person "on the right", my complaint about No Child Left Behind and all of the other myriad programs which preceeded it and are no doubt bound to follow it leave out the key element in the education of a child. Parental responsibility. No act or program exists, to my knowledge, that adequately addresses this key component. When will governments, local, state or federal, get serious about holding parents responsible for their lack of interest and discipline regarding the education of their children? Probably never. Parents can vote, after all.

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