Friday, January 30, 2004

CONTRA YGLESIAS. A day or so ago READINblogger Jeremy Osner invited me to visit a Matt Yglesias thread based on some David Bernstein twaddle I'd previously stripped. "I'll look at the Yglesias fracas later," I said at the time; "I don't like to drink before sundown."

(Pause. What an incestuous mass of linkage! Can I even go on? Yes.)

Well, I just looked at that comment thread, and the original post, and Holy Jesus, I'm so glad I'm drunk.

No Child Left Behind? This country has never had national educational standards, and Bush suddenly tied federal funding to adherence to "standards" to which not even the kinder of that edumacational paradise called Texas could adhere without massive relocation of the goalposts.

All it does is create a market for free-market educrats who will offer their services in pursuit of these unattainable goals for a fee. This is privatization by the back door; if Chris Whittle can't make free-market public education viable, the new idea, it would seem, is to open a new market for "standards" hucksters.

Oh, and it's good for something else: defunding even decent public school systems, as the Ohio example demonstrates. Perhaps these stolen dollars will fund the President's recent budgetary largesse elsewhere.

Matt, I'm sorry, this is bullshit of the highest order. That some of the big bucket called the "budget" gets poured into the little bucket that's called "education" doesn't make it a good thing. I tutor on weekends, and I have seen what gets basic knowledge into kids' heads: hard fucking work. And as much individual attention as good teachers can give each student. Not national syllabi devised by bureaucrats and related to underhanded cost-cutting schemes.

As a longtime Charles Goodell Republican, I beseech you, Matt, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken.

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