« Critical support | Main | If they're so dumb -- why are they rich? »

Bipartisan agreement on child abuse

By Michael J. Smith on Tuesday February 2, 2010 02:09 PM

My rabbi Doug Henwood has a good memory. He writes:

The difference between the parties


Education Secretary Duncan calls Hurricane Katrina good for New Orleans schools

Education Secretary Arne Duncan called Hurricane Katrina "the best thing that happened to the education system in New Orleans" because it forced the community to take steps to improve low-performing public schools, according to excerpts from a television interview made public Friday.


Wall Street Journal - December 5, 2005

The Promise of Vouchers
Milton Friedman

Most New Orleans schools are in ruins, as are the homes of the children who have attended them. The children are now scattered all over the country. This is a tragedy. It is also an opportunity to radically reform the educational system.

Comments (27)

Michael Hureaux:

Arne Duncan is a corporate -dick licking fascist scumbag no-nut shit-caked pile ridden butt hole weak soul rancid jelly roll dingleford basketball brained bonehead strung out on a steady diet of regurgitated doctor pepper, hung down, brung down whipped cur stool eating bimbo dildo- breath-d wamma be lacey curtain Irish passive aggressive fraud.

Al Schumann:

MH, if I ever become so spiritually impoverished that I can contemplate a career in neoliberal education "reform", I will recall that fine inventory and look for something more dignified, like grave robbery.

Save the Oocytes:

The ruling class often sees as opportunities things that others might not.

@ Michael Hureaux:
Oh, c'mon, man; tell us how you really feel.

But, seriously, folks... did anyone else here catch Duncan mouthing his platitudes about our childrens' future on Scarborough's program this morning? It was the first thing I heard as I woke up -- in fact, it was what woke me up. The sonofabitch was practically shouting through the whole damn' interview -- not simply speaking up, or "projecting", but fucking shouting, and yelling his talking points at me from the TV as I struggled to consciousness. I hadn't even sat up in bed yet -- let alone gotten out of bed -- and by the end of that segment, already felt as if I'd been grabbed by the shirt and smacked around (granted, I always feel that way after about ten minutes of Morning Joe, but, still...).

Actually, though I knew who the guy was and what his filthy-assed agenda is, this was the first time I'd actually heard him speak, and I didn't know whether to laugh, cry, or crawl back under the blanket and put a pillow over my head. I'm amazed that the guy was actually a Harvard grad, because he sounded like some goddamn' smash-mouthed Chicago Teamster punk -- which infuriated me even more, thinking of the bastard who wants to militarize and corporatize public education having a voice like a goddamn' shit-talking mobster. I was still half-asleep when I started hearing him, and was asking myself "who the hell is that goddamn' loud-assed muthafucka? Oh, wait...is that really Arne Duncan? Oh, sweet muthafuckin' Jeezus..."

Oh, and btw, in case y'all are wondering... no, I do not catch Morning Joe of my own free will; that's my DW's doing. She awakens in the morning to Joe Scarborough's fuming and blustering, and falls asleep to the sound of either Chris Matthews'* barking, or Rachel Maddow's chirping, or Ed Schultz's bellowing.

*or, as my buds and I like to call him, Chris Matthews, The Baby Eater.


MH: I respectfully agree.

What's worse, Duncan is a carpetbagger. The foundation-funded Third Way putzes who packaged and sold charter schools as the "solution" at least exerted a shred of middlebrow intellectual effort, however degraded. Duncan just jumped on the bandwagon after it left the station. I wonder if the putzes resent or delight in the fact that he is such a dunderheaded salesman.

Mike -- Here's my thumbnail of Chris Matthews.

"Hey, I was the smartest guy in my fraternity!"



public school policy i leave to altruistic hearts like mh

as far as i'm concerned
the "content "
of any universalage 2-6
pre school
is the only social issue in the big Ed
worth a flying fart

and maybe grades 1 thru 6
are of interest
to my anti authoritarian streak

7 on ????...hey its a fair
" unfair fight "
where the raw smurf has a will of" its "own
so let the dickensian
totalitarian games begin !!!!


my advice to kids

get the fuck out of school as soon as you can...

take the ged

ged out and
ged a job
or join a gang


i must say adult ed appeals to me greatly

community colleges seem

highs school with ash trays as a huck finnish friend once told me

ahh cancer stick heaven

those days are gone


education is the quintessence
of voluntary action

even if its simply a job qualifier

the rest is penal confinemenmt

for existing while under 18


super Al

robbing graves
specifically fresh graves
or as we in the trade call em
raw bars
can be hazardous to the waist line

it's a little like picking
wild blueberries
in maine

you tend to eat too much in the process


Save the Oocytes
on a less gothic level

the credit melt down was just such a golden opportunity

after that
the multi year oecd stag
became "a natural"

Phillip Allen:

MaƮtre Paine, that very risk of unwanted weight gain is why I prefer catching my meals alive. At least I get some exercise running the little darlings down. My prey and I both have an exciting game of tag, and I spare them the abysmal fate of being subjected to however many more years of edumacation they'd otherwise suffer -- not to mention the decades of smurfdom that waits those who successfully matriculate. Everybody wins!


"At least I get some exercise running the little darlings down"

how feline of you

at any rate god's work my friend god's work

malthus for a brighter soul with a more robust appetite

if i must kill for my feed
as a sessile being by preference
i prefer spider technology myself

to raptorism
or even active pursuit net throwing
let alone
cat like bursts
of charge and pounce

op --

As one who went to a pretty f'ing good K-6 pvt school and then one of the nation's best public school systems 7-12 (Montgomery County MD), I must say that the K-6 experience did more for me than the 7-12 experience. My personal experience is that public schools suck, even the "good" ones. They're conformity factories. My private K-6 experience is where I learned how to think for myself and trust my own intellectual abilities. My 7-12 experience taught me that it's dangerous to be somewhat smart and that I could succeed in society if I put a heavy squelch on my noggin's abilities.

I don't favor public schools, not until they are improved to resemble what my K-6 experience was like -- individual attention, individual needs-meeting, and teaching kids to be proud of their talents. The public schools I've been exposed to deal with those 3 areas in superficial, feel-good-but-do-little ways. They resemble, in my mind, the national fake dichotomy of Elephant vs Donkey...or, perhaps better, the image of "hope and change" promised by Obama, as compared to the reality implemented by Obama.


graves are like lobster traps
if lobster traps were like sumps for souls

@ C.F. Oxtrot:
While I support the idea of public schools in principle -- that is, the idea that every child deserves a crack at a decent education -- I'm totally disgusted with the reality of modern public schools: a training ground for obedient worker bees, a holding tank for kids with no big ideas, a place where the inquisitive and creative spirit in every child is brought to the surface -- and crushed to death.

I attended public schools and was quite proud of it, as it was back in the day when private schools were regarded by many as stuffy old places for the rich and snooty (I mean, jeez, they make you wear a uniform in those places, man!). My K-5 were pretty average and uneventful, aside from cementing my reputation as That Weird Kid, but 6th grade was excellent. That was when I really started getting into drawing and was getting really good at it, and I had a teacher who could tell I had some talent and took the time to nurture it and steer me to activities where I could develop it. I didn't "formally" decide to become an artist until my freshman year of high school, but 6th grade was when the light bulb first lit up in my head.

I got most of the hellishness of school out of the way in junior high, where I really found out how tough it was being That Weird Kid, and learned how to combat it by becoming the class smartass (and a better cartoonist).

Oddly enough, despite the social environment and all the standard-issue anxieties and teenage depression, high school was awesome for me: I got my first basic education in journalism, got my cartooning chops sharpened -- in my senior year, I nabbed a Quill And Scroll Society Award, the Pulitzer equivalent for high-school papers -- and finally realized that fuck, man, I can really do this shit for a living -- and actually got a gig doing editorial cartoons for the local weekly paper while still in school; there I was, eighteen and already a goddamn' celebrity, f'cripesake, like I was Pat Oliphant or something.

Still, I was damned lucky to be talented; otherwise, public school would've totally sucked for me.

Btw...if you're still out there and somehow reading this, Miss Jane Thomas, sixth-grade teacher at Woodlawn Elementary in Arlington, VA in 1968, thanks a bunch. It's not been easy between then and now, but I can't think of any better thing to be than an artist (except perhaps an astronaut, my original career choice). Thanks again, Miss Thomas.

Mike --

I should add that the jr high and sr high schools I attended were not the ones that made Montgomery County famous. I didn't go to Whitman or B-CC. I went to white trash Springbrook. Maybe that explains my feelings of disdain for public schooling. Let me offer an example. Setting: me, 11th grade, in the Guidance Counselor's office.

me: can you tell me how to organize my HS life for college?

Mrs Poretz: what do you want to study?

me: don't know, that's part of what I need help with.

Mrs Poretz: well, if you don't know what you want to study, I can't really help you.


Or how about jr high, 9th grade, geometry class... Mrs Nachmann regularly picks me to do proofs on the blackboard because I have a talent for them. Result: mocked by everyone, frequently and cruelly.

Public schools are idiot factories, in my view. Obviously I'm biased!


i must say
doctor johnson was probably closer to my idea of grades 5 thru 8
and after grade 8 ??

take a stage coach up to Cambridge
to become a parson or paper chaser
or just get where your goin anyway
and join the rat race

the flugbuckle story
of course only applies
to rare talent
and hell the monastery
or local squire's hall
can culitvate that
once its been recognized
private ed ??

precious care for a few prcious

only thing worse

home schooling
unless your tom jones
and get sent off

Michael Hureaux:

I went to public schools in Anchorage and Fairbanks Alaska during the early to mid 1960s and the early to mid 1970s, with a brief hiatus in New Mexico and El Paso Texas during my middle school years. I didn't think any of it was particularly awful or stifling, it all seemed like neutral port with the homelife my sisters and I had, which was an emotionally and physically manipulative grenade range. Much of what I see in the public schools is awful, but I know we're still sanctuary, or consistency, or even slack for many young folks. If that's all we offer in many instances, it's a hell of a lot.

Many of the kids I deal with come out of backgrounds very similar to my own, and many a hell of a lot worse. What public school represents for a lot of these young folks is safety, and some limited support with the academic tangle. We do what we can in some instances, in most, what we're forced to do, and this is increasingly the case with the rise of test culture, which absorbs most public school budgets these days. In ten short years, the test freaks have managed to define test scores as the key measure of academic success in the minds of most of the population. It's simply the worst thing that has happened to public education ever, and will contribute greatly to the demise of what's left of the more promising programs. I've seen it happen.

Ruling class pigfuckers in this country won't be happy until they've reduced all of cultural life to commodity exchange and thing fetishes. That's where they're taking public education, and in full throttle. That's called success. the rest of us call it hell, and we're getting out, one way or another.


Wankfest alert!!


"I know we're still sanctuary, or consistency, or even slack for many young folks"
i agree hugely

it's why i wish we had universal free
craddle to 6
pre school
and of course free 1-6 primary school

after that seems a kid might find
other places of refuge
i'm not myself
a hard knocks product

i'm a lemon out of privilege
the world of holden caulfield
and amory blaine
the world of defoe's
moll flanders
then the world
of samantha baker
and the king of the dip shits : geek

Speaking from the working-class commuter college world, I think many people get extremely valuable things from the process, starved and strangled as it is. Personally, I've also always loved school, starved and strangled as it is. I think the public is squarely there, too, malnourished and strangled as they are.

So, I've never quite understood the anarchist line on schooling here in the left. If we drop school after age 12 without a rather long and deep preceding stretch of societal overhaul, I can't imagine good things happening. Among other things, this idea is one of Newt Gingrich's favorites.

I'm also not convinced that radically expanding schooling isn't something that would be very nice and popular, too.

Up to a point, I rather trust the state, at least in comparison with our market-totalitarian overclass.

Michael Hureaux --

I always like your comments over at Chris Floyd's and I like your comment above about public school being a sanctuary of sorts, especially for those who have a tough home environment. I don't mean to discount that point when I criticize public schools. My criticism relates to how they served me, not whether some others might have a different take on the matter. In other words, I'm saying they could stand to have some improvements -- especially ones that relate to the problem you described (testing = paramount measure for "learning").

I am not against public schooling as a service to our society. What I am against is how it's being done. And if the Arne Duncans and Barack Obamas of the world get to remake public schooling as they want, they'll do it to ensure the system is nothing more than a profit vehicle -- and one that serves a dumbing-down purpose that makes leadership of the populace a very easy task.


"If we drop school after age 12 "
of course you're right here md
but not really really right
only plain better then fifty fifty right

i have no residual merit class notions
about the enlighening effects
of publically funded univrsal "opportunity "

translation into reality :

subsidize better off households
kids education

that's what free means mostly

to me putting socially mobilizable
resources into pre school
out weighs anything past 8th grade

once you show me free universal pre school
say from 2 1/2 up

then we can talk about middle to higher ed

Free pre-school, plus nationalization of all public school budgets, to remove the local tax as a basis for yupps to avoid their citizenship duties, plus a general 50 percent increase in said budget.


where do i sign up

Post a comment

Note also that comments with three or more links may be held for "moderation" -- a strange term to apply to the ghost in this blog's machine. Seems to be a hard-coded limitation of the blog software, unfortunately.


This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on Tuesday February 2, 2010 02:09 PM.

The previous post in this blog was Critical support.

The next post in this blog is If they're so dumb -- why are they rich?.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

Creative Commons License

This weblog is licensed under a Creative Commons License.
Powered by
Movable Type 3.31