CSotD: No plan, no future, no problem

Matt Golding starts us off with this cheerful vision, and, while exaggeration is one of the main tools of political cartooning, this is less a case of exaggeration than it is of, as the phrase goes, “saying the silent part out loud.”

While he didn’t intend a two-part comic, Golding returned to the overall theme with this one, which elaborates on our unwillingness to invest in the global future, and, by drawing readers into that footnoted question, he forces them to answer the question.

To be fair to the petroleum companies and other climate deniers, he’s jumping the gun on that second-to-the-last panel, because apparently the Maui fires are only tangentially related to climate change, which is to say that climate change is a factor but not a cause.

However, as Golding’s fellow Aussie, First Dog on the Moon, points out, we also have a very limited interest in finding the facts of climate change, if it costs money and might disrupt other plans.

The odd thing down there is that not only is the government reluctant to look into, much less address, climate change, but they’re pushing to increase use of coal. I mean, why have it if you aren’t going to burn it, right?

Waste not, want not.

I’m not sure how wealth protects your children from climate change, though I suppose if you have a half dozen houses, they won’t all be swept away by catastrophe, and you can write off the ones that are.

Meanwhile, Michael Ramirez (Creators) makes the case that parents who care about their kids’ education should be able to turn their backs on failing schools, not only declining to send their own children there but getting tax credits so they don’t have to pay so much to improve them for the kids whose parents don’t care or who can’t afford to make other choices.

This approach as been popular since Brown v the Board of Education declared that communities could not set up two sets of schools, one for the kids they cared about and another for the kids they didn’t care about. Parents who felt strongly on the topic began sending their kids to private schools where they wouldn’t have to mingle with those other children.

But at least they didn’t claim a tax credit for abandoning those other children, or expect the larger community to pay them for their elitist attitude.

The fairness, such as it is, in the school choice movement is that they often set up a lottery for kids whose parents can’t afford private tuition, which sounds wonderfully decent of them.

But the net effect is to remove the hellraisers from those failing public schools, and I don’t mean the kids. I mean the active parents who used to belong to the PTA and come to board meetings and raise hell when they saw a school falling below its goals.

BTW, Ramirez also sees no value in teachers unions. Here’s a chilling response to that notion.

Drew Sheneman bemoans the well-established fact that, in the course of an eight or ten week summer vacation, a lot of kids forget what they learned the semester before, or, to be more accurate, what they were supposed to have learned the semester before.

It’s a reasonable argument in favor of year-round schools, but we’ve been on the agrarian calendar a long time and teachers have dealt with the issue for generations. Would a year-round calendar solve the problem?

Well, sure, with proper support.

I had an XGF who taught in LA’s year-round schools and she preferred it, with some quibbles. For teachers, it means you’re always either completing paperwork or initiating the next set in those two-week breaks. For families, it can be hard because the schools aren’t coordinated and each kid may have a different schedule of those breaks, so you have to multiple layers of childcare and you can forget ever taking a family vacation together.

And for taxpayers, it requires an investment in air-conditioning and additional infrastructure changes, which means money. Shutting down for the summer is cheaper.

And then, as Andy Marlette notes, there is the issue of what to teach. One of the important life skills that slaves learned was that sticking your head in the sand doesn’t make anything go away, but don’t try to sell that concept in Florida.

I was ten when JFK ran for president, and I saw quarters with red nail polish making a cardinal’s cap on George Washington. It was my first hint that people hated Catholics, but I am willing to believe that, had I been Black or Jewish, I’d have smartened up a lot sooner.

Hatred and bigotry will always exist. Refusing to offer instruction on the topic in schools is like thinking that kids will be better off if you don’t scare them by teaching them to look both ways before crossing the street.

Or maybe it’s just a way to pacify the crazies by normalizing their behavior, and by establishing a cult of personality to take the place of the Rule of Law.

Bill Day points out that DeStantis has fired Florida’s Ninth Judicial Circuit State Attorney to show that he could, despite her having been elected by 67% of the voters of that district.

The kids will learn. They’ll either learn to shut up and behave or they’ll learn to rise up and revolt, but if you studied history before they began changing it, you know which outcome is more likely.

Kirk Anderson poses the real challenge facing schools: How can you teach kids anything if you are not permitted to challenge official positions?

To be honest, I don’t know how many of these people I learned about in school, even high school. Copernicus and Galileo, certainly, plus Darwin. Friedan, Carson and King were part of current events, but we didn’t go into depth on them.

We learned about Jesus in Sunday School, or during “released time” on Wednesdays when Catholic kids trooped next door for an hour. Not the political Jesus of today, but the one in the Bible.

Still, as I scan that array, I see ideas we were made open to, even if we didn’t study them in depth until college.

I also think about people like Marva Collins and any number of prison educators who used classical literature to successfully reach people whom the system had abandoned.

And I think about a world in which people begrudge money spent on education but are willing to pay to build prisons.

Which, to me, is the meaning of “school choice.”

5 thoughts on “CSotD: No plan, no future, no problem

  1. Summer vacation isn’t a farm thing; harvests are in the spring and the fall. Schools were always year-round, with students making it whenever their parents could afford to let them go (at least, this is based on my reading Farmer Boy and the Wikipedia article about summer vacation).
    In the cities, however, when it got hotter in the summer with no place to go, schools closed for those months so people could cool off in the countryside.

  2. My mum homeschooled my younger sibs when she felt like the public school was no longer a good fit for her, but she never griped about paying taxes and always voted for any public school levy that came across—what she told me was that good public schools are good for your property values even if you don’t utilize them. She was also probably the last person I’ve known who was a conservative that still believed in the “public good” and felt like a good citizen has to make some sacrifices (like paying taxes or wearing a mask during a pandemic) for the good of their neighbors. She’d probably be branded a raging commie by what passes for conservatives these days.

  3. Your last paragraph there reminds me of ‘A Christmas Carol’

    “Are there no prisons? Are there no workhouses?”

    Why bother spending tons of money giving kids a proper education when you can put them behind bars or in a sweatshop? Surely that’s much better for the economy and those little brats might just be kept in line.

  4. The nuns and priests who taught me in grade school and high school in the forties and fifties weren’t into challenging anything. Well, they did challenge Darwin. We were told that we should say to those who talked about evolution (no one in my neighborhood) that their grandfathers might be monkeys but ours weren’t. We were told in material provided by either GE or GM, I forget which, that capitalism started among primitive societies when they realized that some people made better arrows than others, and that some people made better bread than others, and so on. They might have persuaded me, except for one misstep: they tried to convince me that thinking about girls all the time was wrong. The obvious absurdity of that made me question everything else.

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