Ideology Meets Reality

Earlier this week the New York Times had a story about implementation of Bush’s big-deal Education Act. After all the talk about “failing schools” and freeing children from the grip of the socialist school systems, and national priorities, here’s what happened “In Baltimore, of 30,000 children eligible to transfer to better schools, 347 have applied to fill 194 slots, school officials said.”

In my opinion the “education crisis” is a good example of a phony issue, whipped up to support ideological objectives, and driven to the top of the national agenda by use of large amounts of money and the Republican marketing machine. The Republicans poured so many millions and millions of dollars into getting their message out that public schools are bad, pounded the public with message after message that “the public schools are failing.” It’s a relentless drumbeat, and this week’s smear story about the NEA “blaming America” is part of their strategy.

You’ve probably seen the polls that show that most people think the education system is failing, but at the same time most people think THEIR local schools are just fine. It’s those OTHER schools. EVERYONE knows that the schools are failing, but no one sees that in their OWN school districts. There MUST BE a problem, everyone says so, except not in the schools WE see, so it must be a problem in those OTHER schools. (It’s like the Social Security system. EVERYONE knows it won’t be there for them, even though the figures show that it’s solid. Or like how before the 1984 election the got everyone believing that Congress is bad, but not THEIR member of Congress.)

So Bush campaigned for President, playing on the belief the Republicans have created in the public mind about the terrible schools and how bad they are for the children and how so many parents are trying to escape, etc. It became the highest concern among those polled (except THEIR schools). He got his big-deal Education Act passed. Now they’re implementing it and what are they finding?

“In Baltimore, of 30,000 children eligible to transfer to better schools, 347 have applied to fill 194 slots, school officials said.”

Maybe the ideology got a little bit ahead of the reality?