That's why watching the Republican efforts to diminish public education produces some gut wrenching ambivalence. I don't want to watch it happen, but I can't help myself.
Let's begin locally. In South Dakota, Reverend Hickey invokes President Obama to claim that Republican Governor Daugaard's version of education reform must happen:
As the SDEA announces plans to take HB1234 to the voters this November, I remember listening to President Obama's State of the Union address last month thinking…. sounds like he would have voted for HB1234 in a heartbeat.After quoting Obama's State of the Union Speech, Hickey writes,
Obama said, instead of "defending the status quo, let's offer schools a deal"… 1. Incentives to attract and keep good teachers. (Applause.) 2. Reward the best teachers. (Applause.) 3. Grant schools flexibility. (Applause.) 4. Boot the bad teachers. (Applause.)
It's almost spooky how closely those comments parallel HB1234. Furthermore, he acknowledges tight budgets have forced states to cut teacher funding. Yet the narrative here in SD is that the funding was cut because Republicans hate teachers.Chamber of Commerce Republican David Owen joins Hickey, the social conservative extraordinaire, in praising the Obamagaard plan. Owen claims, "the governor deserves credit for trying to bring some reform to education that matches it up with things that succeed in the economy elsewhere . . . .” Owen goes on to condescendingly observe that teachers "are very, very upset at these reforms.” Apparently he doesn't believe teachers are capable of understanding him if he uses adverbs like "genuinely," "intensely," "passionately,"or "profoundly." Perhaps Mr. Owen doesn't believe teachers can be genuine, intense, or passionate, but I digress.
Meanwhile, at the national level, Jeff Bryant notes there is "growing evidence that the Obama administration's education policies will be a target of the right wing." He points out,
Now that ideas for education policy that were conceived primarily by right wing think tanks -- standards, NCLB, high-stakes testing -- are firmly in place, thanks in part to the cooperation of Democrats, they are now the exact points Republicans are using to attack Democrats.I wish that Republicans were undergoing a true conversion, but on this Saturday evening prior to Holy Week, the Republicans tactics bring to mind James 3:10-12,
10Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.
11Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter?
12Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh.