Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Is Obama Jesus? Are Longer School Years Good For Republicans Pushing Vouchers?

The conservative humor site PJTV is the home to some very slick and well produced political pieces, including work by Andrew Klaven and Steven Crowder. I've edited together two shortened segments to demonstrate how clever conservatives can be (based on right wing fictions), yet still oddly out of sink with reality.

In a elementary classroom setting, Klaven teaches us the similarities between Obama and Jesus, while Crowder plays a kids show host raking the public school system over the coals for rejecting vouchers. His puppet "children" are appalled of course. Crowder brings up the Danish voucher system which, like the Swedes, has characteristics adamantly opposed by the Republican Party. You might say, an inconvenient truth.

Some facts about Denmark schools: The state sets the laws regarding education. The government outlines the essential education policy. Federalization of education in 1989 gave the communities federally provided financial resources and gave them very few areas of decision-making under federal control. The federal government determines the length of compulsory education, the minimum requirements for obtaining diplomas, and pensions and other benefits of teachers.

That's just the opposite point of view posed by voucher advocates and privateers. According to the blog Alpha Shrugged:

First, envision a national teacher union, a national teacher contract, and a national right to strike. Think you can talk states like Texas and Nevada out of banning the right to strike to a NATIONAL teacher's union? Collaterally, of course, teacher salaries are established according to that national contract.

Fox News' John Stossel berated "a union-government" monopoly on public education, but glossed over this "little" detail in the Belgian not-so-fine print: all those "competetive" schools pay their teachers according to the national contract, not according to local desires or needs.

Understand that Belgian schools do not provide transportation. You can choose a school 20 miles from home, but even if you live within three miles, there will be no yellow bus ferrying your kids at the public's expense. A very dependable system of public transportation will, however, provide regular-traveler discounts. If turning your child over to public transportation isn't something you feel comfortable with, you're on your own.

I should mention that they aren't called "foreign languages" in Belgium: they're "modern languages." Belgium has three official languages, none of them "foreign": French, Dutch, and German.

Can you imagine English only advocates getting on board with idea "modern languages?"

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