Education Proposals: Final Thoughts

I’m trying to remember what got me into this foray into presidential politics last July.

It’s the age of Trump. Many people I greatly admire or enjoy reading, from Jonah Goldberg to Charles Krauthammer to Charles Murray, are dismayed by Trump. Not I. What delights me about him–and make no mistake, I’m ecstatic–has nothing do to with his views on education policy, where I’m certain he will eventually offend. I cherish his willingness to say the unspeakable, to delight in unsettling the elites. I thought Megyn Kelly was badass for telling her colleagues not to protect her. I also think she’s tough enough to deal with an insult or three from The Donald, and I imagine she agrees. What’s essential is that the ensuing outrage wasn’t even a blip on the Trump juggernaut.

Why, given Trump’s popularity, haven’t other Republican candidates jumped on the restrictionist bandwagon? Why did John Kasich, who I quite like, go the other way and support amnesty?

To me, and many others, the reason is not that the views aren’t popular, but because some vague, nebulous top tier won’t have it that way. The rabble are to be ignored.

This isn’t bravery. Politicians aren’t standing on their principles, looking the people in the eye firmly, willing to lose an election based on their desire to do right. Ideas with regular purchase out in the real world are simply unmentionable and consequently can’t become voting issues. Americans on both sides, left and right, feel that they have no voice in the process. I could go on at length as to why, but I always sound like a conspiracy nut when I do. The media, big business, a vanilla elite that emerged from the same social class regardless of their political leanings…whatever.

And along comes Trump, who decides it’d be fun to run for President and stick everyone’s nose in the unsayable.

I understand that conservatives who oppose Trump are more than a bit miffed that suddenly they’re the ones on the wrong side of the Political Correctness spectrum, given their routine excoriation by the media and the left for unacceptable views. Better political minds than mine will undoubtedly analyze the Republican/conservative schism in the months and years to come.

I don’t know how long it will last or what he will do. I just hope it goes on for longer, and that Trump keeps violating the unwritten laws that dominate our discourse. The longer he stays that course, the harder it will be to instill the old norms. That’s my prayer, anyway.

Anyway. Back in July, someone complained that education never mattered in presidential politics and expressed the hope that maybe Common Core or choice would get a mention. Maybe a candidate might express support for the Vergara decision!

Every election cycle we go through this charade, yet everyone should know why education policy doesn’t matter at the presidential level. No presidential candidate has ever taken on the actual issues the public cares about, but rather genuflects at the altar of educational shibboleths while the Right People nod approvingly, and moves on.

So I decided to demonstrate how completely out of touch the political discourse is with the Reality Primer, a book the public knows well, by identifying five education policy issues that would not only garner considerable popular support, but are well within the purview of the federal government. (They would cut education spending and reduce the teaching population, too, if that matters.)

I support all five proposals in the main, particularly the first two. But my agenda here is not to persuade everyone as to their worthiness, but rather illustrate how weak educational discourse is in this country. All proposals are debatable. Negotiable. We could find middle ground. The problem is, no one can talk about them because the proposals are all unspeakable.

No doubt, the Donald will eventually come around to attacking teachers or come up with an education policy that irritates me. I’m braced for that eventuality. It won’t change my opinion. Would he be a good president? I don’t know. We’ve had bad presidents before. Very recently. Like, say, now.

But if he’s looking for some popular notions and wants to continue his run, he might give these a try. Here they are again:

  1. Ban College-Level Remediation
  2. Stop Kneecapping High Schools
  3. Repeal IDEA
  4. Make K-12 Education Citizen Only
  5. End ELL Mandates

In the meantime, at least let the series serve as an answer to education policy wonks and reporters who wonder why no one gives a damn about education in politics.

As for me, I got this done just an hour before the Starbucks closed. I will go back to writing about education proper, I promise.

About educationrealist

16 responses to “Education Proposals: Final Thoughts

  • Retired

    A good rendition of Trumpism. I generally agree. Now may he fade away quietly. We need a president with integrity, character, and a knowledge of how to rebuild the economy and US foreign policy. And someone not Bush or Clinton.
    I don’t see much hope for blue state education. Am suffering through my kid’s senior year. What a pathetic mess is the Cali school system. Maybe if they shutter the fed ed dept the red states will have a chance. At least there’s not as much room to f up college STEM.

    • Lagertha

      Oh yes there is: Your child will be competing with a cheaper H1B tech grad from India, Pakistan, China, etc. in the STEM fields for the same job. Just look into what GE did in California or Disney did in Florida.

      There’s this ruse spread that: “American universities are not producing enough STEM grads, ” to be able to pressure the President to grant more H1B visas. There is an entire town full of Asian (H1B) IT workers (all pretty much living in the same condo complex) that replaced my friend, an IT worker with 25 years of experience, at a major, major insurance company. She had to train them to takeover her job! But, they are getting 40% less in salary than she was. She did small bit contract work, eventually retired, and moved out west.

    • spare armadillo

      “A good rendition of Trumpism. I generally agree. Now may he fade away quietly. We need a president with integrity, character, and a knowledge of how to rebuild the economy and US foreign policy. And someone not Bush or Clinton.”

      And your candidate is…? If Trump fades away, aren’t we just going to get someone who goes along with the conventional insanity?

      Angela Merkel suddenly went crazy a few weeks ago, thinking that it would somehow be OK if Germany accepted 800,000 mostly-Muslim “refugees”. Our elites have been similarly but perhaps not so acutely crazy for decades, claiming that it would be OK to have tens of millions of third-worlders come here. Trump is suddenly talking sense about how crazy this is.

      Her’s a striking passage I came across the other day.


      It was one of the bitterest episodes of German-Hungarian squabbling over human rights since 2002, when Hungarian-born Holocaust survivor Imre Kertész won the Nobel Prize for literature. Hungarians resented it when Germans boasted of Kertész’s Berlin domicile as a sign of their country’s moral progress. Hungarians took this bragging for an assertion that their own country had not made such progress. Kertész, though, has made an appearance in the latest migrant controversy, and now it is Hungarians who want to cite him. In The Last Refuge, Kertész’s diaries of 2001-2009 (not translated into English), he wrote a few remarks on Muslim migration that have in recent weeks become staples of political websites, both moderate and extremist. “I would talk,” Kertész wrote,

      “about how the Muslims are invading, occupying—to put it bluntly, destroying—Europe, and about Europe’s attitude towards that. I would speak, too, about suicidal liberalism and dumb democracy, the kind of democracy that envisions giving chimpanzees the right to vote. [Note: Kertész is referring here to an actual proposal of animal-rights advocates, not likening any group of voters to animals.] This story always ends the same way: Civilization reaches a stage of overripeness where it can no longer defend itself and doesn’t even particularly care to, where, for reasons that are hard
      to understand, it comes to idolize its own enemies. And, which is worse, where none of this can be said openly.”

      • Retired

        My kid has grown up with Asians. They may have better grades and test scores, but we have raised him to have people skills, common sense,wisdom, and how to work with his hands. We are not overly concerned with the completion.

      • Retired

        Cruz, Walker, Rubio. They are conservative and electable. Fiorina is not electable, people are envious and resentful of CEOs.

      • spare armadillo

        “My kid has grown up with Asians. They may have better grades and test scores, but we have raised him to have people skills, common sense,wisdom, and how to work with his hands. We are not overly concerned with the completion.”

        The situation with Asians is very different from the situation with Mexicans, and even importing the bottom of Mexican society is not as crazy as importing Somalis.

        Over the las 30 years or so, we’ve imported many of the smartest young people in China, who have mostly come here as STEM grad students. That has had some bad effects for American citizens (e.g., the increasingly fanatical competition for admission to top universities and an increased amount of cheating on tests), but at least we’ve gotten a lot of extremely smart people. These days, though, a lot of the Chinese coming here are undergrads from corrupt families with a lot of money. Often their college applications are completely fraudulent, and they turn out to be bad students who cheat like crazy when they take courses at our universities.

        The Mexicans have kids who don’t do well in our schools and who exhibit a lot of underclass behavior. We don’t need more underclass Americans.

        If we had any sense, we’d limit immigration to a few exceptionally talented people who don’t cause trouble or corrupt our institutions, and whose presence here benefits most American citizens. If the government officials who run our immigration system cannot be trusted to make decisions that benefit Americans, then we should pretty much shut down immigration.

      • Lagertha

        WTF are you saying?…wine talking? Go to sleep! I am also a EU citizen and speak 5 languages. GTFOOH.

  • Lagertha

    Hurrah! I’m with you completely! I am just enjoying Trump for the same reasons you are! And, I am a scary demographic for both parties: Independent (have voted for R & D presidents in past); grad school and degree from elite institution; all children have gone through public school; have never collected unemployment or any govt aid; live in the leafy suburbs full of Trump supporters. I am NOT a guns, god and gays voter either. We used to be called soccer moms, a moniker that was never very nice, btw.

    Bernie is the only liberal I like. But when are the drums going to start beating to eliminate him for the anointed Democrat for the election? And, I lived the crazy 80’s in the city, and Trump was very popular…and, he is very intelligent, which his enemies know but refuse to acknowledge. And, trying to put down Trump for his tacky casinos? OMG! – today, the first pundit dissed casinos (casinos are “not their thing” was loud and clear before Trump) and therefore, dissed the broad middle and lower middle income people who like casinos. Atlantic City’s failure is due to so many things in the last 40 years…and most of those casinos have failed because AC is epic fail. Every time Trump is ridiculed and dissed, he just gets stronger support from all the sheeple – the “everyday” Americans who Wall Street, CEO’s, pundits, the intelligentsia, the moneyed elite disdain and sneer at.

    Liberal-leaning people in my state will talk a lot of bs about being concerned about diversity/achievement gap/being open to immigration, but they would never live in a town that had more that 30% minority residents or a high number of Section 8 residents/a high number of ELL’s in their kids public school. And, the vast majority of pundits, politicians, CEO’s, management apparatchiks, university administrators, wealthy people in general, send their kids to private schools. DIssing the vast amount of middle income people (using terms like “fly-over states) for being ignoramuses is going to backfire. People don’t have good jobs or job security…and many homes are still in foreclosure.

    So, this will be the most interesting election ever…if only so a stake could be thrust through the heart of PC with regards to immigration, education, taxes, corporations threatening to leave for cheaper states, continual downsizing and lay-offs, offshoring of capital both corporate and private, getting cheap tech labor (to compete with American STEM college students) with H1B immigrants, entering wars in the dystopian middle east, ignoring extreme human population growth on the planet, killing off all wildlife (my obsession). Oh, there’s more but I don’t want to be angry all day. And, agreed, if Trump forces candidate to be honest about what they believe in, pull the pc filter off, then he’s done the American public a favor.

  • Lagertha

    AAAAHHHMMM! meant to reply to ‘spare armadillo’…I confess, the wine was talkin’ ta me!

    • Lagertha

      meant to say: that Cruz, Walker, Rubio (last 2 are for amnesty/immigration) are not electable. There is not one good typical Republican candidate in the R camp…and, there is such a strong effort to take Trump down, that it seems we are headed for disaster.

      It is just impossible to stop migrants. Most people will just not get behind it. I have thought about this a long time since I see the disaster of Muslims that refuse to assimilate into the open, liberal societies of host countries. But, I don’t see a way that EU countries or USA can stop people to come to “our” countries.

      At this point, yes, you should have international know-how to be a president , but it still seems impossible to block people from dysfunctional countries from entering the best, functional, rule-of-law countries even if you are the president. Look at how everyone fell for that kid who brought in some clock without it being any part of any curricula or class project. The whole thing seemed fabricated to make some kind of point/expose a reaction that people are xenophobic. Well, people are tribal, so the idea of everyone living together in harmony is impossible if everyone feels that their culture, their habits and beliefs are superior to others. More communities and ghettos will evolve, and people in them, will not integrate.

  • Dan

    I greatly enjoyed your series. Thanks for writing it.

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