The Lies the Rabid Right Tells About Our Remarkable Teachers

      I am so sick of the constant, nasty, and mean spirited attacks on our hard working, well educated and dedicated teachers by the Rabid Right in their effort to steal our tax money and hand it over to religious schools. The Rabid Right make claims that any half-witted reporter should be competent enough to rebut in their sleep. With the media controlled, however, by the same imbeciles that are pushing for that theft by mislabeling it a "voucher program", you won't see those reporters doing anything but paying half-hearted lip service to any conflicting facts. Let's look at just a few of these lies and offer the reality that should be reported but which has not been offered.

      I am deeply in debt to Frosty Troy, the editor of the Oklahoma Observer, for the vast majority of information I am about to impart.

      First, the insane claim that somehow, abolishing school prayers has led to a dramatic decrease in test scores across the nation.

      The reality is that, first, no law or court decision or any other act by the government has "abolished" school prayers. The US Supreme Court has only held that the school administration cannot lead nor require prayer.

      Secondly, the three major tests of educational achievement, the SAT, ACT and National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), have shown steady gains over the last two decades.  The math and science portions of the SAT are at a 25 year high and the ACT shows an across the board improvement over the last decade.  Finally, the Third International Mathematics and Service Study shows fourth graders are outperforming their peers in most other countries.

      Our old, full of himself buddy, Pat Robertson, claims that parents are abandoning public schools for Christian schools because of the aforementioned ban on school-led prayers.

      The reality is that public school enrollment was at an all-time high in 1997-1998 for K-12 of 46,353,000 students. ( 1 )

      Lamar Alexander, Reagan's Education Secretary (and the little weasel who tried very hard to eliminate the Dept. of Education during the Reagan Administration), wants you to believe that the US spends more per pupil but receives less education than any other country in the world.

      The reality is that the US in ninth among industrialized nations in spending per public school pupil. Perhaps if we spent more, then we would receive even more.( 2 )

      Doctor Laura, that mean spirited homophobe know it all from talk radio, wants you to believe that our teachers are less educated than ever before and that this leads to a poor education for our students.

      The reality is that today's teachers are more highly educated and more experienced than ever before.  In fact, nearly all hold a minimum of a bachelor's degree and 45% hold a master's degree.  Half of all teachers have 15 years of educating your children and 38% have taught for over two decades.  Our teachers are, in fact, more educated and have more experience than private or parochial teachers. ( 3 )

      I hate even soiling my keyboard by typing this bozo's name but ... Rush Limbaugh (yuck ... spit ... hack ... gag) has claimed that the teacher's unions have ruined our schools through greed.

      The reality is that today's teachers must spend an average of $400 out of their own pockets every year to meet classroom needs.  The reality is that, although most contracts call for a maximum of 36-40 hours of work per week, the average teacher works 49.3 hours every single week.  Finally, the reality is that America's public school teachers are among the lowest paid in the entire industrialized world.  ( 4 )

      The Rabid Right claims that Americans are ready to end the public school "monopoly" in favor of vouchers

      First, the reality is that, except in Wisconsin where it has been shown that 40% of the children taking advantage of the state's voucher program have never spent one day in a public school (meaning that you and I are giving Welfare to the wealthy once again by subsidizing the education of their children), voucher programs are repeatedly being voted down by America's voters (see California's and Michigan's overwhelming defeats of such proposals on the November 2000 ballot).  Next, a Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup Poll shows that the majority of parents believe that their children are receiving an education that prepares their children for jobs of the future.  ( 5 )

      The Rabid Right tries to claim that parochial and private schools offer the same education for far less money, citing a claim by the Conference of Catholic Bishops study.

      The reality is that, while the numbers look good for that argument - $5,800 per pupil in public schools as opposed to $3,200 in a Catholic school - the facts in the matter expose why.  First, the teachers receive vastly lower salaries and little or no benefits in Catholic schools (including the vast majority of parochial and private schools), the public schools are mandated to take all children who enroll, they must meet strict standards in special education and vocational education and bilingual education and compensatory education and alternative education as well as provide food services and transportation and counseling and health services and on and on.  If private and parochial schools were mandated to also take every child and to adhere to all of these mandates, the differences would disappear, if not reverse. ( 6 )

      William Bennett, who we spoke lowly of in an earlier article, claims that our public schools have failed our children.

      The reality is the dropout rate is at an all-time low - 11% - that college attendances is now 67% and that graduation rates are breaking long cherished records.  ( 7 )

      Jerry Falwell and his ilk claim that public schools are a violent, godless place.

      The reality is that the most publicized acts of school violence were committed by avid church going children.  The reality is that the most common crime on campus is theft, not violence, and that fewer than 1% of the 1997 child homicides happened on the way to, during, or on the way home from public schools.  The reality is that a child is far safer at a public school than at home. ( 8 )

      I could go on and on, exposing the Rabid Right's lies and distortions regarding our nation's public school teachers and the public school system, itself.  The reality is really pretty simple to understand, though.  America's teachers are among the world's most dedicated, professional, and caring people.  Our public schools, while admittedly in need of vast infusions of money in order to repair and update the buildings and to acquire the supplies that teachers now pay for themselves and to increase their wages and benefits, are among the finest that the world has to offer.

      The only reason, and I mean THE ONLY REASON, that the Rabid Right is so bound and determined to debase our public schools and our public school teachers is in order to steal your tax dollars and transfer that wealth from the public school system to the religious school system in hopes of indoctrinating this generation into some fanciful beliefs in myth, magic and miracles.  We must never allow that destruction of the separation of church and state to happen nor should we risk the rational minds of our children by exposing them to the fables that is religion.  Public schools prepare our children for the real world and do a magnificent job of it.  Religious schools prepare their children for a lifetime of obedience to an invisible world where only blind submission to supposedly sacred rules are allowed and science and scientific thought ignored or ridiculed.  If you think the world is a miserable place now, see how nasty it will be if rational minds ever submit to the ghastly specter of any religion to ruling this nation.  Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Libya and all the rest of the secular states aren't anomalies, they're examples.  It is only our current system of a free and unfettered education from dedicated, free thinking professionals that stands between America and a future exactly like these repressive religious regimes.   

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