This article was written well ahead of scheduled publishing in order to accommodate my travel plans.
Today is Halloween. It is a day of ghosts, goblins and scary stuff. I want to bring you something really scary: what public education will look like if the Republicans are successful in taking over the system.
The extreme right has taken over the Republican Party. They know they cannot win a contest of ideas so they must poison the well of knowledge. Their biggest opponents are the truth and the ability to do critical thinking. This is why they are putting so much effort into taking over public education. For decades they have had their indoctrination centers but that still left too many children in public schools. Particularly in Texas they have long waged a battle over textbook content realizing that it is not economically feasible for the scholastic book publishing industry to tailor textbooks for each individual state and with the buying power of Texas they can simultaneously lock up a lot of other markets. Much like religions, they realize if you brainwash them young you probably have them forever. Do you think it is just a coincidence that most of the state with the poorest public education systems are red states? This has been going on for decades, even before the recent hard right turn. George W. Bush was governor of Texas and his brother Jeb was governor of Florida.
A few years ago, the right was up in arms fighting common core. The real threat was that common core put an emphasis on developing critical thinking skills. The GOP doesn’t want thinkers; it wants blind followers who do what they are told to do. Today the battle is over right wing mythology’s understanding of critical race theory, or as the real world calls it: teaching the truth in history.
Let’s take an incomplete but equally scary and humorous look at what Republican Education would look like.
Recent American History:
The crowd for Donald Trump’s 2017 inauguration was the largest inaugural crowd ever, period. In the Wizard of Oz you were told to pay no attention to the man behind the curtain; here you are told to disregard clear photographic evidence to the contrary.
Donald Trump won the 2020 presidential election in a landslide. In this right wing myth you are asked to disregard both arithmetic and over 60 court decisions to the contrary. 2+2 is only 4 if the dear leader says so.
Early American History:
Slavery will be expunged from all textbooks and discussions because it made white people look bad. We all know the slaves were happy and well treated, heck they were always depicted singing.
Climate change is a hoax. The fact that the sea level and temperatures are rising is just an illusion. Maybe it’s a big Hillary led conspiracy from the basement of a pizza parlor.
The COVID pandemic never happened; it was all faked by greedy left wing hospital administrators. I guess the 700,000+ (and rising) domestic deaths we really just disgruntled Rays fans that died of heart attacks because their team failed to win the World Series in both 2020 and 2021.
Instead of reading books students will be forced to listen to Donald Trump and Kevin McCarthy’s statements. If you complain you will be given the impossible task of being told to diagram their sentences. If you try to challenge them with the truth the right wing will simply ban and burn books like other fascist regimes in history.
Trump had the greatest economy ever. Disregard the numbers which, even at its apex, prove that the Trump economy was never number one. Couple that with the fact that about $8 trillion in tax breaks (almost exclusively for the very wealthy) and several relief packages that increased the national debt by about 50% were necessary to keep the economy from collapsing under Trump.
I could go on but you get the point by now. America has a great – but not the global best – public education system but it will only stay that way if we are diligent in its defense.
I had fun writing this article but living in that world would be anything but!
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