VodkaPundit’s Sept. 8 Rebellion: Now Endorsed by Hoodlums and Homeschoolers
posted at 8:10 am on September 3, 2009 by The Other McCain
VodkaPundit says parents should keep their kids home from school next Tuesday rather than subject them to the Obama Mass Indoctrination. In reply Allahpundit says, “I’m with CJ” and ridicules the idea:
One pap-filled 20-minute speech about working hard and serving others is so lethal a threat to tender minds that they have to be yanked off the premises for the day to shield them from it? Or is this more of a protest in principle at the idea of the president giving a captive audience of schoolkids a pep talk on civics? . . .
Irresistible exit question: If it’s true that “state indoctrination of children is a hallmark of totalitarian government” (never mind that various subtle forms of indoctrination are happening in schools constantly), does that mean atheists were right all along in opposing prayer in public schools?
I oppose public schools, period. And none of my kids have attended a public school since my wife and I pulled our daughter (now 20) out of the system after kindergarten.
As for prayer, every public-school student should be praying, “Please, God, get me out of this public school.” When they get older, the smart ones will start ditching class so they can do something useful with their time, like hanging out with hoodlums and smoking cigarettes.
Ben Franklin was a third-grade dropout. Neither Thomas Jefferson nor George Washington ever attended a public school. And although Jefferson once proposed a public school system for Virginia — a plan that the thrifty Virginia Assembly wisely rejected, except for establishing the University in Charlottesville — neither Jefferson nor any other of the Founding Fathers ever endorsed compulsory public education.
Whose Schools Are They?
Let’s begin this discourse by clarifying our terms: They are government schools, not “public schools.” They belong to the government, not to you, the citizen — a fact you’ll quickly discover if, as a parent, you ever disagree with a school administrator.
For at least three decades, conservatives have wasted their time and energy pursuing the idiotic rallying cry, “Let’s take back our public schools!” They aren’t your schools, folks. They belong to the government, which is to say that the child-penitentiaries known as “public schools” are operated by bureaucrats for bureaucrats.
The reason your local school system is immune to public pressure is because the bureaucrats who control the system — the teachers, administrators and other employees — are politically organized in defense of their fiefdom. The bureaucrats are organized, and parents aren’t, so the bureaucrats exercise a decisive power in school-board elections.
Even where the district schools are not dominated by a teacher’s union, the teachers are generally united in their political efforts. And because most local school-board elections are “non-partisan,” there is no “R” or “D” beside the candidate’s name on the ballot to give the ordinary voter a clue as to which candidate might (emphasis on might) be more conservative.
In effect, then, the government-school bureaucracy elects its own management by organizing politically to control school-board elections. No wise school board member dares oppose the interests of the educational bureaucracy. Therefore, the most important interest which the system serves is not the interests of children, and certainly not the interests of parents, but rather the interests of the people who operate the system.
In most communities, the board is a rubber stamp for the superintendent who, in effect, is chosen by the bureaucracy he pretends to supervise. Any superintendent who falls afoul of the teachers’ union will likely be disappointed the next time his contract comes up for renewal. But this almost never happens because, of course, the superintendent is himself a lifelong member of the bureaucracy who has spent decades as a dues-paying union member.
What you see, in the political reality of government education, is that the bureaucrats who run the system are completely unaccountable to the taxpayers who foot the bill. This is why teachers’ salaries always go up, up, up and — even in times of budget crisis — school systems almost never lay off employees or reduce pay. The entire purpose of the system is to provide employment for education majors (who on average have the lowest SAT scores of all college students) and to make that employment as cushy, secure and lucrative as possible.
Actually educating your child is not even a secondary concern of the system, except insofar as the system can falsely claim credit for your child’s success and thereby justify another bond referendum or property-tax increase. Ask yourself a few questions:
- Does your child get good grades because he’s smart, or does he get good grades because his teacher is smarter than you?
- If you are smarter than your child’s teacher, isn’t it possible that your influence is the determining factor in your child’s good grades?
- What do you suppose distinguishes the “good public school” (which, of course, is the one your child attends) from those bad public schools elsewhere?
- Since your child is a natural genius — a chip off the ol’ block — is it possible that his academic success is essentially independent of the quality of the school?
- If you consider that your child is so smart that he would excel in whatever school he attended, exactly why is it that you’re paying outrageous property taxes to support this particular school system?
- Finally, if you were to take your genius kid out of the local public schools, wouldn’t this result — because one less genius kid tends to subtract from the overall academic prestige of the system — be more of a loss to the system than to your child?
The one thing the government education system will never teach your child is to question the legitimacy of the system. Your child will only learn to do that when he’s ditching class and smoking cigarettes with hoodlums.
The ‘Good Public School’ Myth
One reason most parents don’t ask tough questions about the government education system is that they are invested in the system. They buy a house in a nice suburb with “good public schools” and thus unconsciously enlist as apologists for the system.
“Oh, yes, there are problems in the public education system, but not in my kid’s school,” says the unconscious apologist. “The problem is in those other schools.”
To admit that your local school system is a wasteful mess run by mediocre minds producing mediocre results would be to admit that you have been bamboozled by the bureaucrats. And publicly derogating the quality of your local schools might hurt property values. When a man is paying the mortgage on a $300,000 home, he has a direct financial incentive to proclaim that the local schools are the finest in all recorded human history, unequalled by anything this side of Athens in the 4th century B.C.
Furthermore, the system cleverly creates incentives for parents to believe that their child is receiving an extraordinary quality of education. Parents compete to get their children included in “gifted” classes, a designation presumed to pre-qualify the child to take “honors” and “advanced placement” classes in high school, so as to qualify them for attendance at an elite university.
The parent who accepts all this rigamarole as legitimate and necessary — the jumping-through-hoops process by which their child “competes” for special prestige within the system — has probably not spent enough time smoking cigarettes with hoodlums. A hoodlum asks questions seldom asked by those idiot liberals with their “Question Authority” bumper stickers:
- If these “gifted” classes are so darned special, how come they’re taught by people who aren’t qualified for any occupation except being a school teacher?
- If your kid is so self-evidently smart — and you have the standardized test scores to prove it, right? — then why should your little Einstein be compelled to prove he’s a genius by jumping through all those silly hoops held up for him by the teachers who are just as self-evidently not geniuses?
- Why is it that no child, no matter how smart, can be allowed to take the GED in eighth grade and skip high school altogether?
- If “advanced placement” classes are, as the system claims, a legitimate equivalent of classes taken by the average college freshman, aren’t the students in those classes essentially receiving a college education at the expense of local taxpayers — including taxpayers whose kids don’t take AP classes?
- Hey, did you ever notice that a lot of public-school teachers send their own kids to private school? Or, if they send them to public schools, the teachers’ kids get first dibs on their choice of schools, which aren’t always the same school where the teacher is employed?
- How come we’re paying public school teachers so much they can afford to send their kids to private school?
As my old hoodlum buddies would say, it’s a scam, a hustle, a ripoff. And all of this scamming is embedded within the very organizational structure of the system, without regard to what is actually taught in the classrooms. So have another Marlboro Red, and let me introduce you to one of my buddies.
John Stuart Mill, Notorious Hoodlum
The first lesson a child is taught in government school is, “Your parents are too stupid even to teach you how to read and write.” And the second lesson is closely related to the first: “Government is good for you!”
The necessity of government assistance and, indeed, the necessity for ever-increasing levels of such assistance, is a lesson dear to the hearts of these educational bureaucrats who are employed at taxpayer expense.
A general State education is a mere contrivance for moulding people to be exactly like one another: and as the mould in which it casts them is that which pleases the predominant power in the government . . . in proportion as it is efficient and successful, it establishes a despotism over the mind, leading by natural tendency to one over the body. An education established and controlled by the State should only exist, if it exist at all, as one among many competing experiments. .. . . Unless, indeed, when society in general is in so backward a state that it could not or would not provide for itself any proper institutions of education, unless the government undertook the task: then, indeed, the government may, as the less of two great evils, take upon itself the business of schools and universities. . . . But in general, if the country contains a sufficient number of persons qualified to provide education under government auspices, the same persons would be able and willing to give an equally good education on the voluntary principle, under the assurance of remuneration afforded by a law rendering education compulsory, combined with State aid to those unable to defray the expense.
— John Stuart Mill, On Liberty, 1869
Well, my hoodlum buddy Johnny Mill left open an unfortunate loophole there. Once education is made compulsory, and once taxpayers are on the hook for the expense, it is only a matter of time before 90% of students attend government schools, as is true in the United States. (Notice the similarity to the threat ObamaCare poses to the private health-care system?)
Certainly, no 19th-century Brit could have anticipated that his willingness to accept as “the less of two great evils” the possibility of some government role in education might lead to such a metastasized monstrosity as the American public education system. Miseducation is surely a greater evil than mere ignorance, and teaching kids to adore Obama like Chris Matthews is surely miseducation.
While Mill’s warning against a “general State education” is widely quoted, in the same chapter of the same book, he issues a less commonly quoted warning against the inexorable tendency of bureaucracy:
If every part of the business of society which required organized concert, or large and comprehensive views, were in the hands of the government, and if government offices were universally filled by the ablest men, all the enlarged culture and practised intelligence in the country, except the purely speculative, would be concentrated in a numerous bureaucracy, to whom alone the rest of the community would look for all things: the multitude for direction and dictation in all they had to do; the able and aspiring for personal advancement. To be admitted into the ranks of this bureaucracy, and when admitted, to rise therein, would be the sole objects of ambition. Under this régime, not only is the outside public ill-qualified, for want of practical experience, to criticize or check the mode of operation of the bureaucracy, but even if the accidents of despotic or the natural working of popular institutions occasionally raise to the summit a ruler or rulers of reforming inclinations, no reform can be effected which is contrary to the interest of the bureaucracy.
This is exactly what’s wrong with the government education system. The school bureaucrats have established their occupation as a “profession,” requiring government certification, so that Michelle Malkin couldn’t be allowed to teach a high-school journalism class. And how do you get certified as a teacher? You take a prescribed regimen of classes as an education major in college, receiving a diploma which qualifies you for nothing else except teaching in public schools.
The people who set up this system then declare that, unless you hold the certification thus obtained — by choosing a major that effectively disqualifies you for any other employment — you are unqualified even to teach a 6-year-old to tie his shoes.
Kindergarten Festival of Death
Once you recognize the bogusness of this system — once you realize that the credentialing process qualifies the teacher to presume that the parent is a complete idiot — you begin to understand why the schools are unresponsive to parental input.
I learned this shortly after my wife and I sent our oldest child to public-school kindergarten. One day in October 1994, our daughter Kennedy told her mother that the school was getting ready to celebrate “The Day of the Dead.”
Dia de los Muertos is the Mexican version of a Catholic holiday celebrated Nov. 1 and known in English as All Souls’ Day, when the faithful are supposed to pray for lost souls in Purgatory. The Oct. 31 holiday we call Halloween was originally “All Hallows’ Eve,” based upon the superstitious belief that the ghosts of the dead rose on that night.
Well, our family is not Catholic and we don’t believe in ghosts, and my wife was horrified when Kennedy explained that her kindergarten class would be compelled to participate in a huge school-wide celebration of “The Day of the Dead,” complete with all sorts of macabre stuff about graves and bones and various supernatural spooky things.
This did not strike us as age-appropriate curricula for 5-year-olds. My wife talked to the teacher, but the teacher — as teachers are required to do whenever parents question the curriculum — dismissed my wife’s concerns.
My wife’s worries, however, were not allayed, and she asked me to meet with the principal to discuss our issues with the Dia de los Muertos celebration. I had taken developmental psychology as a college student and was familiar with the theories of Piaget and others in the field, so I tried to explain to the principal that asking children to spend an entire week preparing for a festival of death might not be such a cool idea.
Have you ever been pooh-poohed by an elementary school principal? No more insulting experience could be imagined. Yet I restrained my impulse to strangle this man — he was just doing his job, quelling dissent from one of those notorious troublemakers, the parents — long enough to express my second objection.
How is it, I asked, that it is strictly forbidden for the teacher to say even a simple blessing over lunch — “Thank you, God, for this crappy cafeteria meatloaf” — or to engage in any other religious observance, and yet the entire school was devoting itself to observing a Catholic religious holiday?
Well, the principal had no answer for that, because no answer was possible. The pretext of “multiculturalism” was transparently bogus. They weren’t going to celebrate Yom Kippur or Ash Wednesday, were they? If I were the kind of pestilential nuisance who files lawsuits, West Central Elementary’s Dia de los Muertos celebration might have made it all the way to the Supreme Court.
Instead, Kennedy was allowed to “opt out” of the Mexican death-festival. Our daughter, the kindergarten pariah. We were so proud.
The 4-Second Decision
That was the first tiny spark that eventually led us to home-schooling. Kennedy finished out the school year at West Central. The next fall, Kennedy enrolled in a church school where we eventually discovered that, alas, her young teacher didn’t believe in math drill, but did believe in “creative spelling.”
One afternoon, when our daughter was in the second semester of second grade, car-pool duty obligated me to pick up Kennedy and two of our friends’ kids after school. We were riding home and, on a whim, I asked, “Kennedy, what is eight plus seven?”
It took her about four seconds to answer, “15.” Correct, but why did it take so long? Because she hadn’t been drilled.
“7+8 = 15” is a fact, one which every child in the second semester of second grade ought to have long ago committed firmly to memory, and those four seconds it took for Kennedy to answer that question were the four seconds during which it was decided that she would no longer attend that school. Why were we paying them tuition, if they couldn’t teach a simple fact to a kid as smart as ours?
That’s the kind of a question you’ll never ask unless you’ve spent some time with hoodlums. Whatever their faults, hoodlums tend to disdain the phony prestige with which authority figures endeavor to intimidate the weak-minded. (My wife was a nice little girl, although her brothers have smoked a few Marlboro Reds.)
Having made the acquaintance of a few home-schooling families, we knew such a thing was possible. August 1997 marked the inaugural session of The McCain School, with an enrollment of three — 8-year-old Kennedy and her 5-year-old twin brothers, Bob and Jim. My wife was the teacher, I was sort of an administrative overseer, and the curriculum was an improvisational ad hoc collection of workbooks and such.
By the time Kennedy was 13, she was working her way through a ninth-grade online curriculum and had progressed to the point that I had difficulty assisting her with her algebra lessons. So one day, when I came home from work, my daughter invited my wife and I to a kitchen-table presentation.
Our 13-year-old had gone online and located a Christian academy about 40 miles away. She had contacted the school and they had sent her a package of information. And there, at our kitchen table, Kennedy argued the case for why she should attend this school the next fall.
She won, and that August, at age 14, Kennedy enrolled as the youngest member of the sophomore class — in fact, she was younger than all but two of the freshmen. And in May 2006, at age 16, she graduated with honors. She sang in the school choir, participated in dramatics and was a member of the school newspaper staff and the volleyball team. Oh, and her boyfriend was the star of the school soccer team.
She has already completed her community college degree — dean’s list all four semesters — and between scholarships and part-time jobs, has paid her own way through. She took a year off (2007-08) to do a year in a full-immersion Spanish-language program at a college in Argentina, and is now a 20-year-old junior at a state university where I have no doubt she will make dean’s list again this semester.
Not bad, for a hoodlum’s kid.
Time for an Exodus?
None of these achievements should have been possible, according to the theory of education which holds that only government-certified experts are qualified to teach children. It is estimated that there are more than 1 million home-schooled kids in America, and each of their parents can probably tell you a story about the moment when they finally saw through the bogus prestige with which the government education bureaucracy attempts to bamboozle the taxpaying public.
Home-schooling parents, being undeceived by the lies the government school system tells to justify its existence, enjoy little moments like this Sept. 8 Obama Mass Indoctrination of America’s school-children (which the Department of Education is now trying to whitewash). It’s about time more parents woke up to the reality of what this system is actually all about and exactly what is being taught to America’s children.
Having myself been subjected for 12 miserable years to the coercive organized idiocy of government schools, I hate that system almost as much as Allahpundit hates God. Unlike God, however, the school system is not transcendent and eternal. And God achieves the impossible every day.
What if all the children of smart parents were “yanked off the premises” not just next Tuesday, but permanently. If this is the event that finally reveals to smart parents the truth of what this system is really all about, what if Sept. 8, 2009, marked the first day of home-schooling for millions of American children?
Impossible, you say? Let me introduce you to my friend E. Ray Moore Jr. Ray is not a hoodlum. He is a Christian minister and founder of Exodus Mandate, an organization dedicated to encouraging Christian parents to take their kids out of the government school system. Ray compares the government school system to Pharoah’s Egyptian enslavement of the Israelites.
About 10 years ago, Ray published a book and produced a video (available on DVD), both entitled Let My Children Go. He said that the 1999 massacre at Columbine High School was a wake-up call, warning Christian parents that they should get their kids out of the government schools. More recently, Moore helped produce Call to Dunkirk, encouraging Christians to rescue their kids from “enemy territory.” Here’s a YouTube clip:
So far, there has been no mass exodus in response to Ray Moore’s call. If this creepy Sept. 8 Obama lecture doesn’t do the trick, what ever will?
Have Another Vodka, Steve
Maybe some parents who wouldn’t listen to the preacher will listen to a former high-school hoodlum: These schools are teaching your children to hate you and to hate God, too.
They signally failed in my case, but not before the coercive stupidity of the system (I recall an experimental sixth-grade “gifted” program in 1972 where we were taught statistics by the principal, a man who couldn’t even correctly pronounce “statistics”) turned me into a defiant rebel, a relentless foe of authority.
Thanks to various interventions — by Sheriff Earl Lee, my father and others — that path didn’t lead to its usual destination: Prison or an early grave. I’ve lived long enough to have six children of my own, none of whom have yet, thank God, turned into total hellions like their Dad used to be.
However, some rebellious habits are hard to outgrow. Even though I can’t handle the Marlboro Reds anymore (Parliament Lights are now my preferred brand), I still love to hang out with hoodlums, like VodkaPundit:
The President of the United States — whether an Obama a Bush or a Lincoln — is not my son’s daddy.
You tell ’em, Steve! I’m with VodkaPundit!
Anybody else want to join Hoodlums for Homeschooling? It’s sort of a non-denominational ministry, you might say. Vodka and Marlboro Reds are strictly optional.