What’s that old adage? …
“A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.”
Well, the truth is still hopping around on one leg because the lies about public education have had a helluva head start.
A half century head start.
This is the cover of The Saturday Evening Post … a December 1960 issue. Fifty-seven years ago. And the troublesome headline shouts:
“A Five Nation Survey by the Gallup Poll: Is European Education Better Than Ours?”
This was the era when America was about to blast into space … and land on the moon. The eve of monumental social legislation … and stunning creativity in music, film, and theatre. The decade that would bless this country with unprecedented prosperity … and an astounding moment of social introspection.
But this old headline moans that our schools pale in comparison to those of Europe. Forgetting that it was American ingenuity and innovative genius that saved Europe from Nazi devastation just fifteen years earlier.
But then we went dumb. Just like that!
Get the feeling that this hyperbolic nonsense is generational?
This same sort of doom bubbled up again in the late Eighties and early Nineties … when America had the most prosperous economy in the history of the world. When life-spans were extended by decades … and sensational innovations slipped into our everyday lives.
Then it happened again … not-so-long ago … when Bill Gates and Arne Duncan bullied-up … and pummeled public education as a dismal failure in need of an unprecedented overhaul. They insisted we were too oblivious … that we we’re miserable also-rans to Finland and Korea in bubble-tests … and looking like international embarrassments.
And that became the tiresome screed of those determined to tear every school apart … rather than see to the struggling challenges of some. Because they saw only failure … and none of the excellence.
What’s so stunning is that so many of us are still here … and that our miserable, failing nation remains the most desired destination on the planet.
All of which begs certain questions that are never … not ever! … answered by the doomsday crowd.
Perhaps one of these lauded geniuses might jump in … and explain some of these observations.
How has America maintained its premier economic circumstance when it’s populated by such uneducated dolts?
Why is this nation ground zero for such stunning medical innovations?
What makes American universities the most desired in the world?
And can anyone explain how this society achieved the highest standard of living the world has ever known?
Help me out here, will ya?
How is it that our military is the most technologically advanced … and the most respected?
And our agricultural output the envy of the world?
What part of our failure allows us to be the first to offer emergency services when disaster strikes around the globe?
And what of the doctors, engineers, EMT professionals … and the awesome array of rescue apparatus we send as well?
That’s a lot of very dumb folks doing some very miraculous things … with lots of ingenious equipment.
How do dumb people pull it off?
Now, to our schools.
Something’s wrong, alright.
Our schools don’t behave according to
these failing observations.
Public school faculties are some of the most credentialed on the planet … and those schools lay the foundations that’ve made America the most prolific Nobel prize-producing nation of all-time.
No country has ever been as inventive as America.
America leads in medical inventions and innovations … in computer technologies … and space ventures … as well as cutting edge developments in every walk of life.
And America is the financial epicenter of the world. For decades.
Those dumb Americans have to be the
luckiest simpletons the world has ever seen, right?
These inferior public schools have produced world-renowned playwrights, artists, actors, musicians, vocalists, and authors. This society values the arts, shines in athletics, and educates the largest and most diverse population on earth.
And we hold our doors open for the rest of the world.
And folks rush here. Why?
Why do so many other societies mimic us? I don’t get it. What’s in it for them?
These dreadful public schools have given us brilliant engineers, gifted architects, and futuristic urban planners. Bridge builders, skyscraper geniuses, and visionary civil engineers. They’ve nurtured ship designers, probing astronauts, and energy searchers … and the vessels they require to plow the seas, zip around space … and drill into the deep bottom of the ocean.
And we accidentally put men on the moon … and took a close-up peek at Pluto, too. Let’s hope those mistakes don’t happen again.
Pretty embarrassing stuff, eh?
I hate to mention our political maturity, but I have to.
I know we’re supposed to be very basic thinkers according to the smart critics … but what explains this historical, non-violent political experience in America? Even in a politically charged moment such as today, we don’t lop off the noggins of lousy rulers … and we don’t have a coup every other full moon.
Then there are the dozens of other countries that have modeled themselves after our political foundations.
What do they know about us that we don’t?
We’d better call ‘em straight away … and tell them we’re not worth emulating. Whisper that we’re splendid failures … because Bill Gates said we were.
And to think everyone wants to be like us. What a goofy world!