I Am A Bad Person

At least, some poorly educated twit writing for Slate thinks so. (No really, she says right there in the article that she’s poorly educated.) I was planning a brilliant take down, scorched earth style. And then Larry Correia went and did it. The nerve of a New York Times Bestselling author to pull content right out from under this bloggers frantic fingers 😉

Bygones. Really, no hard feelings. Because that was an awesome fisking in the way that only Larry can fisk. You should really skip the original article which I’m not linking and just read his. I have very little to add.

For the record, no, we don’t send our kid to private school, so maybe we aren’t all the hypens bad. Or we might actually be worse. You see, our kid goes to a virtual public school. Which means our tax dollars, that would normally go to fund our local public school, are diverted to a virtual charter school in a different district. He attends classes in his bedroom via computer. Guns in school? Hell, he gets PE credit for range trips. There’s a holster studio down the hall.

Yeah, I’m starting to think we might actually get extra hyphens. Anyway, on with the show!

I am not an education policy wonk: I’m just judgmental. But it seems to me that if every single parent sent every single child to public school, public schools would improve. This would not happen immediately. It could take generations. Your children and grandchildren might get mediocre educations in the meantime, but it will be worth it, for the eventual common good.

Right. Because if we give the future teachers a mediocre education they are by some miracle going to magically morph into amazing, engaged educators. Not to mention the future lawmakers! I can imagine the thoughtful policies devised after reading a single book!

Fetch me my flying monkeys!

So, how would this work exactly? It’s simple! Everyone needs to be invested in our public schools in order for them to get better. Not just lip-service investment, or property tax investment, but real flesh-and-blood-offspring investment. Your local school stinks but you don’t send your child there? Then its badness is just something you deplore in the abstract. Your local school stinks and you do send your child there? I bet you are going to do everything within your power to make it better.

As pointed out above, I’m not even remotely invested in my local school. Because it stinks and I did send my child there. Yes, it stinks. This is the last brick and mortar school that our son attended. Yes, that says criminal investigation at a middle school. This middle school is in a town that we scrimped and saved to live in. We bought a crappy house in an affluent suburb because of the “good schools.” Yeah, we totally “gamed the system” like “rich” people tend to do.

What people like Allison Benedikt fail to realize is that my responsibility is to my child, not the school. We are doing everything in our power to make his education better. One of those options was to opt out. A decision we have regretted not once. We tried joining the PTA. Our kid was miserable and failing. The best thing we could do for him, and for future generations was to find something that worked. I only care about other people’s children in the abstract; I’m invested in my own. If you aren’t personally flesh-and-blood invested in your own offspring, you are the problem. If improving the system is more important to you than your child, you are a miserable failure as a parent and have no business giving parenting advice.

I went K–12 to a terrible public school. My high school didn’t offer AP classes, and in four years, I only had to read one bookThere wasn’t even soccer. This is not a humblebrag! I left home woefully unprepared for college, and without that preparation, I left college without having learned much there either. You know all those important novels that everyone’s read? I haven’t. I know nothing about poetry, very little about art, and please don’t quiz me on the dates of the Civil War. I’m not proud of my ignorance. But guess what the horrible result is? I’m doing fine. I’m not saying it’s a good thing that I got a lame education. I’m saying that I survived it, and so will your child, who must endure having no AP calculus so that in 25 years there will be AP calculus for all.

She’s doing fine? I suppose in Allison’s case, ignorance really is bliss. One book? No poetry? I thought you were trying to sell me on how sending my kid to public school is a good idea.

That really is bigger on the inside! A bookcase holds entire worlds.
That really is bigger on the inside! A bookcase holds entire worlds. (picture via Facebook)

Also remember that there’s more to education than what’s taught. As rotten as my school’s English, history, science, social studies, math, art, music, and language programs were, going to school with poor kids and rich kids, black kids and brown kids, smart kids and not-so-smart ones, kids with superconservative Christian parents and other upper-middle-class Jews like me was its own education and life preparation. Reading Walt Whitman in ninth grade changed the way you see the world? Well, getting drunk before basketball games with kids who lived at the trailer park near my house did the same for me. In fact it’s part of the reason I feel so strongly about public schools.

Yes, getting drunk before basketball games is exactly the kind of enriching experience I want to shape my child’s world view. Then maybe he can grow up and write for Slate and prattle on about how he’s just fine.

Language gets salty below the fold. You’ve been warned. (Yeah, I should have warned you before I sent you to Larry’s place too.)

Allison, sweetie, fuck you. Kindly take your empty headed ideas and shove them up your ass. You want to know why I took my kid out the shitty school? It’s so he wouldn’t grow up to be an ignorant twat spouting collectivist garbage on the internet. Like some dog hating bitch.  Hope you enjoy the nursing home your partially educated spawn decide to discard you into someday. I bet it’ll be publicly funded and have no soccer.

21 thoughts on “I Am A Bad Person”

  1. So, um, is she proposing ALL children be in public schools, for reals? I mean including the children of Michael Moore, Alec Baldwin and, ya know, the president? Somehow I suspect not.

  2. Wow, I never realized that Edmond schools were headed in such a bad direction. That’s depressing.

    I started to rant about this article in the context of the all of the Oklahoma school districts I experienced, but that’s just too long. Summary: I have been part of the best and part of some of the worst in Oklahoma. And you know what? I fully believe that a kid can go to one of the worst schools in that state and still come out and do fantastically well in life and even compete with students from the best schools for spots at the best colleges. Having been part of those vastly different systems, I also believe that parents have every right to choose not to subject their children to those bad school systems because they can hold students back.

    In fact, random connection to your area, I was in the Edmond school system for all of a semester. Other than the orchestra program and one geography teacher, every other teacher was pretty terrible as an engaged educator. So good for you for doing what is best for your child, regardless of the reputation of the district.

  3. We do public school.

    Now that I’ve said that, let me elaborate: we have an in-district transfer to a public school clear across town, where the teachers and adminstrators are actually committed to education, as opposed to “caring” or “being involved in” education*. Why would we do that, you ask? Because our local elementary averages two expulsions for weapons possession. Per year. In elementary school. Also, English is taught as a second language to everybody, because so many kids there don’t speak English as a first language that it’s more cost-effective not to separate (the very-bad-person word for “discriminate against”) them. We tried to get involved with other parents to “make it better,” but we were quite literally speaking different languages. I’m sure Ms. Benedikt thinks if we just “care harder,” it’ll magically overcome those barriers.

    She says people need to be more “invested” in the schools to make them better? Then how come every time property taxes might go up to fund education, it gets voted down? Why are we paying a lackadaisical teachers’ union to push for tenure based on length-of-employment instead of performance? Why do all surpluses automatically go to sports programs, while arts, music, drama, student clubs, school libraries, etc. (basically, everything non-sports) run almost entirely off donations and bake sales?

    She got through high school only reading one book? I call shenanigans on that! Didn’t get to read the “important novels” (also known as “the classics”)? If she were even remotely interested in furthering her reading, as an adult she can drive down to her library – there’s not a library in the country that doesn’t have at least a couple classic titles. The honest truth is this: for all her hyperbole about “caring more” and “getting involved,” she doesn’t care, and she’s not involved. She just wants you to get involved because it benefits her (she doesn’t have to be as involved herself). Typical liberal “SEP”** reasoning.

    She’s not proud of her ignorance? She seems awfully braggy about it. She “survived” her public education? Sorry, lady, but I’m not satisfied with my kids “surviving” their education; I want them to thrive in it. I want them to learn how to learn, to seek out their own answers when they have questions, to do real research, to have the capacity for critical thought. I want them to feel, but also to understand that “feeling” doesn’t answer or solve anything; thinking does.

    I have more, but I’ll end there for now. Thank you, Jennifer, for letting me rant. 🙂

    * – The difference between “committed” and “involved” when it comes to a ham-and-eggs breakfast: the chicken is “involved,” the pig is “committed.”
    ** – SEP == Someone Else’s Problem. Now go re-read Douglas Adams.

  4. First, the word twat is a bad word. I learned that from watching the movie “Easy A”. Even when you spell it with peas, on your dinner plate. Just sayin’.

    Second, Seth Godin has a different take on public education. Check out his “Stop Stealing Dreams”. Seth points out, accurately, that compulsory education was first laid out as a sop to labor unions — the unions wanted to end child labor *because it took away adult (union) jobs*!

    Back in the 1960s a Junior High teacher stated that public education was never intended to provide an education to any student, that the purpose is to lay a common groundwork for a bare minimum background for a US citizen and voter. Hence, the “completion of eighth grade or age 16, whichever occurs first” part.

    If the delightful lady wants to return to years of yore, when the public schools did much better than today — teacher salaries were lame and bare subsistence. Every school suspended or expelled those students that could not keep up, or that were disruptive. It was the parent’s responsibility to teach the kid, not the school’s. And schools worked within the needs of the local school board — there were no federal grants, no national programs, etc. The school met local needs, or someone had to answer, locally, why. Parents that raised too much ruckus might get invited to take their kid elsewhere.

    Oh, and the public schools were quite deliberately made accessible to those tykes displaced from the factories — from working class and poor families. The well-to-do were considered, by their wealth, exempt from such low class doings.

    I note that Robert Heinlein, in his very early science fiction novel, “Have Space Suit, Will Travel”, that our high school hero has a father that was appalled at public education — and sat the boy down at night with appropriate science, physics, math, and other course work, quite outside the local school curriculum. The education happened at home, despite the school. But then, that was fiction, fifty years ago.

    Anyway, for universal public education to work, I would require the US Department of Education and all teacher unions and all school fundraisers be dissolved and forbidden. I would close every school drawing 50% of students from more than 6 blocks away from the main campus, and build out small and one-room campuses to serve communities. No more providing excuses like “meeting a federal agenda/mandate”, or “union demands”. I might go so far as to recognize that school sports are no longer intended to prepare our young people for service in the armed forces — they are entertainment. And balance access, funds, equipment, staff, etc. fairly evenly among all entertainment programs — like band, choir, football, checkers, etc. And limit entertainment funding total to one fourth total school budget. Don’t get me wrong — the arts as expressed in band, choir, orchestra, various music programs, etc., are valuable and enriching — but when we raise children that listen to electronic music full time, do we need to assure there will be musicians among them to provide community musicians for the next generation? (If you think that current government excesses, Peak Oil, and the dissolution of America’s ability to manufacture will continue as they are, then I really think the answer is “Yes!”)

    There is a reason that families that home school, and those that “unschool” are successful so often, and their children tend to do so well in college, at work, and in their families and communities. And it isn’t due to public education.

  5. What is truly sad, is that if Ms. Benedikt had recieved a better education she might have written something thoughtful and insightful about how education can be improved by removing Federal intrusions and returning autonomy to states and localities for the education of their individual states and communities. Otherwise she comes off as she is, the “bitter clinger” of the public school generation who blames other people for its failures.

  6. “Your children and grandchildren might get mediocre educations in the meantime, but it will be worth it, for the eventual common good.”

    Our country is now being run by people that never learned the difference between winning and loosing and got a trophy for showing up. So in 40 years we want our country run by idiots that got a “mediocre” education?

    Holy jumping Jesus. We’re screwed people. Get used to the idea.

  7. Jennifer, your not bad. Your observant about the idiotic rantings of a person that can’t seem to better themselves. She would do well to shut up and stop embarrassing herself.

    Her complaints are of the math is hard, so I didn’t do it. Lazy is what I call that.

    I was a public school educated person. Unlike her I read anything I got my hands on
    and then the assigned material. I asked questions, and none were
    where is the soccer field?”. I had good teachers and bad. Those that didn’t work I failed and took again or changed classes, after all it was my education. I had curiosity that school didn’t hurt and if anything provided spaces and people to satisfy. I was a terrible student because my interests were not the rote learning. College was more of same. I’ve recognized education never stops and what ever the schools didn’t do is completely up to me to correct.

    I see nothing inherently bad about public schooling. Everyone should be educated.
    However what passes for public education now is unrecognizable to me at 60. The
    no tolerance crap, and the everyone winds and no bad grades noise is not education
    it’s indoctrination and incarceration. Every days sounds more like the science fiction
    dystopian re-education camps. School to me is still the three R’s, sports have winners and the defeated. And losers (not luzers or other nymed things!) are expected
    with the invitation to shape up or get the hell out of people trying to make a way.

    With that said… There is not reason not to fix public education. Your paying for it! Schools should be local to the geography, this charter school crap is is just public private schools with standards and a better dystopia. Parent should be involved with the school not just the helicopter parent that mind their own child to the exclusion of all. If a school is a failure fix the damn thing! Don’t walk away and leave it to fester and infect others. Oh and that means the lazy like that Allison thing is is a problem. Fixing a school is a public act and politics at the most local level. Home schooling and private schools may be required in the worst cases, but that cannot fix the base problem as it does effectively run from it. In those cases I still offer, you kid may not be there but fixing it so they could and should is still something to be done. If only because in the simplest terms I can put it in your paying for it and you should expect value for your dollar. If your not getting your dollars worth and still pay for it that is the ultimate waste.

    Why did I say that? Because leaving it to mold and fester creates Allisons in large numbers who are bereft of critical thinking and now run the the show. If you can
    make those like that think and realize why had been cheated and told it was great
    we as a nation just might get our collective act together. If not, to borrow a quote,
    we will collectively hang together.


    1. You are absolutely right. A point I did not make is that I am actively supporting the efforts to fix our schools. It’s just that as a parent, my responsibility is to my child first and I should not accept a sub-par education for him. I do research and vote and make my voice heard in the community.

  8. I’m going to keep making this comment until someone, somewhere, realizes what a shining morsel of brilliance it is:

    “At this point, we might as well just refer to the Public School System as ‘Moloch.’ “

  9. The one glaring ‘WTF’-ery I can’t get past in this entire steaming pile is this:

    “I’m saying that I survived it, and so will your child, who must endure having no AP calculus so that in 25 years there will be AP calculus for all.”

    Blink blink…blink. WTF-HUH??

    AP means ‘Advanced Placement’..as in, BETTER THAN THE AVERAGE. If *everyone* is in ‘AP’ then it’s no longer ‘Advanced’…it becomes the standard. A 10 year old taking Algebra classes would be concidered ‘AP’, whereas the same class for a 16 year old would probably be concidered ‘remedial’.

  10. “But it seems to me that if every single parent sent every single child to public school, public schools would improve. ”

    Ok, have all of your Liberal friends start first and we’ll see how it works 🙂

    1. Yeah, I loved that part, too. “Hey, look, the Exxon Valdez is sinking! Lets keep pumping oil into it, maybe it’ll start floating again!” Ummmm…no. And anyone who bothered to read more than one book between weekends spent getting wasted at a trailer park would understand that.

  11. That was excellent. Thank you! And yes, I AM late to the party. Why should now be any different that any other time?

    I was a Navy brat, and attended both public and private schools depending on where my Dad was stationed. There is definitely a difference between them, although in my experience it depended on the school district. All of the private schools were excellent. Some of the public ones were good, some were horrible (which is when my parents would put my brother and I in private schools).

    As a side note, I have to admit that I drank before basketball games at the private high school I attended. Kids being stupid is pretty universal. Of course, that was Florida in the 70’s. Underage drinking was, if not allowed, at least winked at.

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