Teabaggers rally to make America even stupider.
From the WaPo (h/t David Axelrod from the neighborhood):
Tea party groups mobilizing against Common Core education overhaul
By Peter Wallsten and Lyndsey Layton,Published: May 30Tea party groups over the past few weeks have suddenly and successfully pressured Republican governors to reassess their support for a rare bipartisan initiative backed by President Obama to overhaul the nation’s public schools.Activists have donned matching T-shirts and packed buses bound for state legislative hearing rooms in Harrisburg, Pa., grilled Georgia education officials at a local Republican Party breakfast and deluged Michigan lawmakers with phone calls urging opposition to the Common Core State Standards.The burst of activity marks the newest front for the tea party movement, which has lacked a cohesive goal since it coalesced in 2010 in opposition to Obama’s health-care initiative.The movement has a renewed sense of purpose and energy following revelations that many of its groups were improperly targeted by the Internal Revenue Service, and members consider dismantling what some deride as “Obamacore” their newest cause. Unlike the health-care fight, though, organizers say the Common Core battle is winnable and could be a potential watershed moment.“This is the issue that could change things for the tea party movement,” said Lee Ann Burkholder, founder of the 9/12 Patriots in York, Pa., which drew 400 people — more than twice the usual turnout — to a recent meeting to discuss agitating against Common Core.Lawmakers have responded by introducing legislation that would at least temporarily block the standards in at least nine states, including two that have put the program on hold. The Republican governors of Indiana and Pennsylvania quickly agreed to pause Common Core, and Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R), a vocal supporter of the plan, is nevertheless expected to accept a budget agreement struck by GOP legislators that would withhold funding for the program pending further debate.Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal (R) — who, like the other targeted governors, is facing reelection next year — said, “We didn’t see it coming with the intensity that it is, apparently all across the country.” Deal has responded by signing an executive order “reaffirming state sovereignty” over education matters, but that hasn’t stopped conservatives from trying to undo the standards.The White House has promoted Common Core, written by governors and state education officials in both parties and largely funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, to create consistent math and reading standards from kindergarten through 12th grade. Academic standards vary widely among states, and that patchwork nature has been partly blamed for mediocre rankings of U.S. students in international comparisons.The standards do not dictate curriculum. Rather, states decide what to teach and how to prepare children for standardized tests based on Common Core....
For the last decade or more, across every partisan line you can imagine, there has been near-unanimity among business and trade organization, unions and long-range economic forecasters: the Boomer-retirement demographic bulge is going to leave the American economy dangerously understaffed and overstretched for years to come.
Worse yet, the jobs which Boomers held back when they were entering the labor force or growing their careers -- especially in sectors like technology and manufacturing -- are largely gone. Businesses today that depend on skilled labor rely on people who started their working life with a better basic high school education than most high-schoolers have today...and who then have spent a lifetime acquiring and refining their skills.
Worse still, just as they need fresh troops to show up -- well-trained and ready to work on complex, expensive equipment -- businesses owners all over the country have discovered that -- just like our roads and bridges -- reinvesting in and updating our educational infrastructure has also been something we have spent the last 30 years blowing off.
We don't want to spend the time or the money it would take to do the job right. We don't want to face the fact that, as opportunities for women and minorities, the free market has lured away millions of potentially excellent teachers who have understandably opted not to spend a fortune on acquiring multiple degrees in order to live lives of near-poverty...all while being told they are personally responsible for solving every social problem in America at the same time they are being shit on by wingnuts for being "union thugs".
The good news is, as bad as things are, they are fixable (buy me a beer sometime and I'll run down 20 good ideas for reforming education): with enough prioritized effort and money, within a decade we could have an America system of lifelong learning could be the envy of the world.
Or at every fucking crossroads we could instead opt to sprint as fast as possible in the direction of doing the stupidest possible thing at the worst possible time.