I just read that there's a bill being drafted that will, if passed, get rid of the Department of Education. I have my doubts it will go anywhere, but it's great to hear that there are some true conservatives out there. To so many on the right, the idea is to slow down the growth of government. Think about that for a sec. They don't even want to lessen the size of the existing government, they just want to see it grow more slowly. They don't act on principle, only on politics. Ohhhhh, but Vegas, they ARE politicians. Whaddya expect? I'll tell you what I expect. I expect politicians to act on their core beliefs. Sometimes there's no choice but to settle for half a loaf. I get that, but a Senator or Representative can still act on principle. Hey, I don't think much of liberal Democrats, but they do tend to strive to meet their ridiculous and dangerous goal of an all-powerful government. But Republicans who operate under the philosophy that government has particular functions, and specific limitations, ironically, are considered "extreme." Amazing.
I find it incredibly amazing when I hear some people on TV asking citizens to donate to "Save the music", or keep art in our public schools. Really? How can these programs be in trouble, if they used to exist WITHOUT any federal money at ALL? When I went to school, federal money for education didn't exist. But we had a marching band, a jazz band, art classes, a Thespian group, and pretty much everything schools have now. We even had "Booster Clubs" which helped buy sports uniforms and supplies. The PTA would help raise money for the schools. How DID we exist without federal help?
But to listen to people today, you'd think that without the education status quo, kids would be totally illiterate, and even starve to death. Nonsense. I went to an average school. I remember in elementary school, long before federal school lunches, we all "brown-bagged" it, although we could buy milk for a nickel, or a pre-cooked hamburger heated up in a toaster oven. Sometimes a kid forgot his lunch. The teacher would mention it, and there was no shortage of kids willing to donate a half sandwich, or other parts of their lunch. It was no big deal. But today, if someone suggested dropping the school lunch program, it would be political suicide. Hey, it's LUNCH! A sandwich, piece of fruit, and maybe a cupcake or two. You know, something the parent can put together that the child will actually EAT, instead of some inedible "healthy" piece of crap that the kids toss in the garbage. Just sayin'.
When I was in school, well, let me just say that I will put my high school education up there against what the average kid gets these days that passes for an education. We read Shakespeare, memorized the Gettysburg address, and actually STUDIED the founding of America, and the development of our country. We didn't sit around giving our opinions on things. Well, occasionally, but mostly we learned what was put in front of us, with occasional classroom discussions. Most of my teachers understood that opinions without knowledge were just a waste of time. Oh, and I firmly believe that ninety percent of my teachers would break out laughing at any kid who said "You're hurting my self-esteem." It's not that our teachers didn't like us, but our education came before any fragile egos.
We didn't study "the environment" although I do recall hearing about conservation. Long before global warming, it was "soil erosion" that was going to do us all in. Whatever. For those who didn't want to go to college, our high school offered courses in agriculture and shop. Other schools offered instruction in various trades. For those who wanted to go to college, there was a strict curriculum. I still remember it: In math, two years of algebra and a year of geometry was a minimum. Science: biology, chemistry, and physics. And all were required to take four years of English, instead of three. Most colleges insisted their prospective students be prepared. There were no "remedial" programs. Students were supposed to be ready to achieve. I also recall, that in my high school, and most high schools at the time, athletes tended to be above average students -- sometimes honor students. Anyone who didn't maintain at the very least a "C" average, was tossed from the team. I know that a "C" isn't very impressive these days, but back then there was no grade inflation. A "C" wasn't much to brag about, but it was respectable.
Ohhhh, and I almost forgot. Before the federal government got involved in giving money to colleges, higher education was actually AFFORDABLE. It was very common for students to work their way through college with part time work during the school year, and full time work in the summer. Try doing that today.
Personally, I think a college education is overrated. Some professions like medicine, law, jobs involving the sciences, or even teaching, demand a degree. But seriously, what kind of job is out there that calls for a major in gender or Black studies? Unfortunately, there are too many employers who will hire a college grad over someone with "only" a HS diploma, even though there's nothing the college grad studied that has anything to do with the job he or she is applying for. Give me a veteran, any day of the week, over some wet behind the ears kid with no experience in discipline, dependability, and working towards a common goal. But that's just me.
In any case, from my point of view, getting rid of the Department of Education is a good start. It doesn't mean I don't like education. I love education. I love the field of medicine, too. That doesn't mean, however, I support QUACKERY!