I usually watch Lawrence O’Donnell before going to sleep. He has a somnambulant effect on me. Most of what he says is interesting, sometimes sophomoric, but always spoken in an angry tone. His work with getting desks into schools in Malawi with the U.N. is altruistic and fine. The other night, however, he did not make me drowsy, he made me really angry.
L.O. blamed the current lack of uncivility in discourse in both the current primary season and within the country, on our educational system. I do not know how he knows this. He demeaned our system of public schools by calling them failed. His cocksure vision of what’s going on in schools in the United States brings into question his views on a plethora of other things.
This general view of schooling in our country is echoed by other non-thinkers in our current batch of critics and circus clowns. Their information is so lacking evenhandedness that I am shocked that there has not been a widespread response from educators. Our education system is not failing; it is our uneven system of funding schools and the raging poverty in many of our metro and rural schools.
The studies of the relationship between poverty and success in schools are many and convincing. Having worked in those kinds of places for a good part of my life and even today, displayed to me why these children are not making it. You may also want to check who takes the international tests in Singapore, Iceland, Shanghai and others. Public schools take everyone.
Right, you are going to say that so and so crawled out of his/her circumstances and overcame their background and went on to invent the …, or discovered a cure for …, or was elected to . . . Yes, there are those who have done such things. However, they are not the norm, nor do they represent a statistically significant part of any study. Kids living in poverty do not do well in school. Some do not do well in life in general.
The current primary season shows just how wrong Mr. O’Donnell is. Of the six candidates left on both sides of the aisles, four of them went to public schools. Care to guess who went to private schools? How about Mr.Trump and Mr. Cruz. The others went to public schools.
Civilized discourse is not a reflection of our educational system. It is a direct result of upbringing and the world brought into our living room.