OK, let's be clear, it's not ALL of Utah, but rather, Utah State Senator Chris Buttars has a cunning plan that he thinks will help their budget crisis. And possibly solve some of those pesky Evolutionists' designs on their yow'uns' hearts and minds.
Education is always the first to fall under the ax when budgets come around, but Buttars' plan has the added bonus to continuing a decided slide by a slice of the GOP to really hating an educated populace. Not just on the issue of Intelligent Design--which is such a disingenuous pile of malarkey to piggy-back religious teaching into science classes that it makes Baby Jeebus cry--but now he wants to turn out generations of ill educated, or barely educated kids who will have difficulty getting into accredited colleges and universities, for the saving of some dollars from the State budget.
Because, education, is all about numbers. It is all about how many kids you can turn out the doors, and not the quality of the education, nor the promise that we have fulfilled our duty to the next generation. Amirite?
Buttars is claiming that it is about the hard choices that need to be made. In this case, he proposes to gut education in his state, jeopardize the accreditation of their schools, and tout this dumbing down of a generation as a victory. What bothers me about this mess, is that it is a facile sort of argument. It is a smug sort of reaction that typifies a good many on the Reactionary Right. That you can be educated "enough." It is a world view that views education not as a journey, not as on going process, but rather, a set of discrete goals that can be completed, and then it is done.
It is, short sighted and reactionary, and bothers me down to my core, because these short sighted idiots like to call themselves Conservative, when they haven't got the wit to realize that their reactionism is exactly the opposite of what considered Conservative thought is. I point Ted Olson's defense of gay marriage on what are principled Conservative grounds. That we even have to bring up reasons for gay marriage bothers me, because Buttars and others like him have dragged the GOP into opposing rights for our citizens, and undermining the very concept of our republic. Which, when you look at the Republican Party name, one might think that the defense of the Republic and the Constitution might come first...
The drive for the bottom continues from the Reactionary Right. It comes from a lowest common denominator sort of lack of cohesive ideology, that stems from a lack of understanding of the Constitutional principles that the nation was founded on, and instead is substituting homily and barely understood interpretations of religious teachings that only back prejudice. What bothers me about idiots like this, is that they care more about appearances. The appearance of fairness, lip service to fiscal responsibility, and the investiture to the illusion of personal responsibility.
Mind you, I don't like State Senator Buttars' politics. He uses children as a bludgeon, he likes to disguise his own prejudice as "questions" of policy, and he shills for a cause that wants to substitute religious dogma--and only a few ministries' interpretations at that--for science. He represents the slow rot that has infected my party for some time. But now, he moves away from the social issues where he has made a home for so long in trying to promote his religious views onto public policy, and is now looking to strip Utah's sons and daughters of an education--which plays well to a certain base that fears the future, and fears being left behind, and fears change--and wants to call it a "reasonable" plan.
It resembles the short sightedness that the State Reps and Senators have here in Arizona to make up the shortfall in the current budget. The fire-sale of public properties, to be rented back to the State is a wonderful example of robbing Peter to pay Paul. The State will make some money in the below market rate sales of property, and then have to pay rent on a continuing basis--shackling the State to their new landlords. Brilliant. We have for today, so we won't for tomorrow. And this is the measure o what some call Conservative thought? A grasshopper reactionism that only worries about conditions today, and figures that someone else will take care of tomorrow? Similarly, Buttars' proposal would save money today, but, with the lowering of the educational bar, there will be less kids heading out of state for college, more folks who will be locked into the state to look for work in a market that will be increasingly competitive with a greater pool of less and less qualified applicants.
Education isn't about enough. It isn't about numbers. It boils down quality, and to inspiring a life long search for knowledge. And it saddens me when reactionaries try to forget the lessons that so many struggled for.
The true teacher defends his pupils against his own personal influence. He inspires self-distrust. He guides their eyes from himself to the spirit that quickens him. He will have no disciple.
--Amos Bronson Alcott
Crossposted to The Motley Moose