Tuesday, May 24, 2011

About starving the public education beast

One of the benefits of getting old is that when you hear someone say something oblique that sounds somewhat mean-spirited and foolish, frequently, it’s nothing new. No need to read between the lines, you’ve heard it before.

So, when surly conservatives attack public education, one way or another, I know what’s usually at the heart of it. They had their counterparts here in Virginia when I was growing up. Those counterparts saw nothing wrong with providing inadequate public schools for black children; they saw nothing wrong with preventing those black children from attending public schools built for white children.

When the Massive Resisters repeatedly hurled their “separate but equal” slogan at those who were working to integrate Virginia‘s public schools, the Resisters really weren’t so concerned with guaranteeing the “equal” part. But they were damn serious about demanding the “separate.”

While the public schools were shut down for years in Prince Edward County, to avoid court-ordered integration in the ‘60s, the white children in the county went to private academies. Those private schools popped up like mushrooms when the county chose to shutter its public schools. The black kids stayed at home, or they moved to live with relatives in places that still had public schools, equal or not.

When the enemies of public education of today go after the funding of public education, and they go after the teachers unions, etc., it’s easy for them … easy, because like the Massive Resisters in Prince Edward, their children are in private schools. Living inside the walls of gated communities in the tony suburbs, they don’t want their tax money paying for the education of children living in poor neighborhoods.

Basically, they are too stingy and short-sighted to be willing to pay a nickle for anything that benefits people they don‘t like -- people whose skin color, or religion, or accent is different from their own. They don't concern themselves with how that narrow thinking might play out down the road; as a rule, their ilk never has.

No, there’s nothing new about any of that. You see, one of the most frustrating things about getting old is -- oy vey -- that you’ve heard it all before.

1 comment:

F.T. Rea said...

In the eight years this blog has existed four obnoxious people have been banned from commenting here. One of them posted a comment here this morning. It was removed.