Talking Point

I can’t begin to comprehend how one can be on the Left and not go nuts over the fact that tomorrow kids of wealthy parents will all be in school, like they’ve been at least since August, and the kids who aren’t wealthy will not. I used to be on the Left, and this kind of injustice used to really get us going. The stats on school dropout rates among black and Hispanic kids are horrid. The stats on depression and suicides among disadvantaged kids are worse.

But when I bring that up, people to the left of me politically invariably respond that “it’s a Republican talking point.” They say I changed but I can’t remember a point in my life where I would have reacted less intensely to this injustice.

I’m not the one who changed.

11 thoughts on “Talking Point

  1. ” how one can be on the Left and not go nuts”

    I don’t think the left in the US has ever gotten over the collapse of communism (and dismantling of the USSR). I remember at the time it was profoundly disorienting.
    Since then for most people ‘left’ has simply turned into a simple brand – which made it easy for corporate interests to coopt it and turn it into a consumer experience…
    And again, the weaponized covid policies the dems used to unseat Trump have petrified into place and won’t move easily…

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  2. People on the left in the USA are more inclined to be very fearful of the virus and so probably don’t see it as an injustice in the first place. It seems likely to me that many on the left would view students returning to school as being an act of foolishness/irresponsibility rather than any kind of privilege.

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  3. “People on the left in the USA are more inclined to be very fearful of the virus and so probably don’t see it as an injustice in the first place.”

    I agree with JustGeorge. Many of my relatives have even opted their children out of in person school so they can be heroes who are saving the world from the virus. They refuse to acknowledge the real statistics. For instance, people tell me I’m nuts for reading, “Corona False Alarm?” by Dr. Sucharit Bhakdi and Dr. Karina Reiss. It’s chalk full of details that would convince the reader this is all a charade.

    Since my child is in public school, I’d like to comment on the education he is receiving. It’s crap. He has special behavioral proclivities and is in a “special needs” class. It is really glorified babysitting. If I could afford a private school, he would be there in a heartbeat. I teach him at home by reading history to him, and literature and by taking him out into nature to “study” the world as I see it–innately beautiful and filled with wonder. We also go to church and read our bibles and pray. It’s the best I can do. But the public school system is a sham. And I’m in a relatively good district.

    I work in the financial industry as an administrative assistant and one of the most difficult things for me has been working with wealthy people who have every amenity. None of their children go to public school. They are all smart and play sports and go to ivy league colleges. I have relinquished my desire to envy them because we have a happy life. But the educational injustice is real. I’m not even sure how you fix it?

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    1. It’s absolutely true that it’s nothing but glorified babysitting. Of course, even that is better than Zoom school. The kids with engaged, loving, healthy parents like yourself will be fine. But many kids don’t have such parents. Many kids live in chaotic situations and school is their only chance to be in an orderly world where the adults are at least sober.

      In terms of how to improve things I have some suggestions. We have a program at my department that prepares future teacher. In order to get state licenture, we have to follow state mandates. The state mandates constantly change in the direction of having fewer students in the discipline and more courses in wokeness. I’m observing this in real time and there’s nothing I can do. We are forced by the state to cut the actual material we teach to the bone to make more space for the teaching of slogans. The result is piss-poor quality of education in public schools.

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      1. And unless we get cadres of people to change the laws or make the individual state school districts amend these practices, we are screwed. I have attended school board meetings and fought a few sticky issues I didn’t agree with. It was months-long and exhausting work. And I guess we thought we were convincing the school board members, but in reality–unless they were already inclined to agree with our perspective, nothing I did would have made a difference.

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    2. @ Margaret W.: “But the educational injustice is real. I’m not even sure how you fix it?”

      I’m not an expert, but in my experience and according to my knowledge dealing with wealthy parents, private schools exist primarily for reasons of networking. Wealthy parents (and those who aren’t wealthy but who wish they were, who are generally in hock ime) send their children there so that they make friends with others of that kind, so that when they grow into adults, they can do business together/vouch for each other etc.

      It is true that the education is overall better which I suppose can make a child seem very smart compared to one who receives a poorer education, but the difference can be easily overcome when the child who received a poor education becomes an adult in a relatively short time of autodidactic study. I had that experience personally.

      Lately some prominent wealthy people have been making some noise that they don’t care where their children study or what they study in college, so long as they attend different networking events, go to certain clubs/camps, have certain mentors, and otherwise do what is needed to build the kind of network that makes success easier as an adult.

      So, if I were to answer the question as to how to give a child the same kinds of benefits that a private school child has while sending them to public schools, I would say something like “by reading to and tutoring them at home so that they learn how to think logically/reason/research as they acquire a useful body of knowledge/facts, while finding out where to send them so that they can make the kinds of childhood friends that become adult assets later”. That way they should receive everything that the more privileged child receives, albeit differently.

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      1. All I want from a school is to entertain my kid and let her engage with other kids while I work. This is literally the extent of my expectations. My only questions when I visited my daughter’s future school were, “where’s the playground? How much time do the kids spend there? What are the play structures like? Show me the gym. Are there any screens in the classroom? Thanks.” Nothing else interests me. What she needs to learn in terms of actual knowledge, I’ll teach that myself.

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  4. All large organized mainstream groups, no matter how they’re sorted, are like this– whether it’s a political party, a church, a charity, a civic club, or a bowling league… doesn’t matter. There are a few people who really believe in the stated mission of the organization. And then there are the other 80%+ who are there for the social scene and the group identity. When times are good, you hardly notice. When you’re one of the handful with actual convictions, it’s really jarring when a challenge comes along, and you find out just how many of your compatriots don’t share your convictions, but do whatever gets them their neighbors’ nod of approval. What’s truly frightening is seeing how easy that social instinct is to manipulate.

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