Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Paige's Good Riddanc-- er, Farewell

I try to be open minded. Really, I do. So I sat down to read Rod Paige's farewell (to the Heritage Foundation-- we weren't off to a good start) earnestly trying to see his point of view. And I did. It was a good speech. I find myself having a very hard time disagreeing with the logic of charter schools, for example. But here's where he lost me:

Has [NCLB] caused some heartache? Of course, it has. Those who believe that "Some children just can't learn" also believe that "Some schools can't do anything wrong." Despite years and years of widely publicized failure, it adds up to "let's just continue the status quo" and being satisfied with the performance that we're getting now. It all adds up to what President Bush calls the "soft bigotry of low expectations."

I can tell you first hand that this exists. I believe that it is an attitude that is an offshoot of slavery and Jim Crow, nursed by well-meaning people and tolerated by some members of the civil rights establishment who should know better.

This is unforgivable. And low. And shameful. To suggest that people who don't agree with NCLB are somehow bigoted makes me sick. It's fine to say I'm stupid and wrong and all the rest-- but racist?!? C'mon. Just because someone disagrees with NCLB doesn't mean that they think nothing should be done to improve the educational system for minorities.

This is the type of stuff they had Armstrong Williams peddling, too: Listen up black people, anyone who opposes this law is against you and your race. It's bull shit, plain and simple. Bush said yesterday that no more commentators would be paid: "Our agenda ought to be able to stand on its own two feet." Yes, it should, but so far it can't. It should be able to stand without paying journalists and without branding opponents as Jim Crow apologists, but it can't. If it could, they wouldn't do it.

Oh, and Mr. Paige about that L-word you referred to in the beginning of your speech (legacy), yours is Armstrong Williams. Congratulations on a job well done. Everyone who follows this stuff know that you were a front man for NCLB with little input in writing it. Kress and Spellings handled most of that. But you handled the PR; that was your gig. And what a wonderful job you did. Enjoy that legacy, OK?


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