Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Friday, May 11, 2007

France Deserves Better Than Seattle

I am compelled to apologize to France. A few years ago, I insulted Washington’s left side by suggesting that we expel Seattle and give the city to France. Given the harmonic confluence of anti-American attitudes exhibited by Seattle and France’s ruling class, it seemed like a marriage made in heaven. My suggestion drew a response from the Seattle Times’ editorial page and earned me a radio interview.

Seattlistas are a humorless, thin-skinned bunch. Oh well, I got that fifteen minutes that Andy Warhol promised me.
However, I seem to have underestimated the French and overestimated Seattle. By electing the unabashedly pro-American Nicolas Sarkozy as president of the republic last weekend, the French people demonstrated that they are more pro-American than the residents living around Puget Sound or possibly the Democratic Party.
Clearly I was wrong about the French back then. I made the mistake of assuming that the public posturing of French politicians accurately represented the majority of French opinion. I now have a renewed respect for the French people that I’ve not felt since I learned of the Marquis de Lafayette’s contribution to the American Revolution in a grade school history class.
In addition, my opinion of Washington’s left side has taken another dip. It would appear that the true 21st century cheese-eating surrender monkeys reside on the soggy side of the Cascades. Governor Christine Gregoire’s capitulation to her party’s desire to postpone the graduation requirement of the Washington Assessment of Student Learning consummated an unconditional surrender by the mildew belt Democrats to the teachers’ union and the Seattle Public School District. Without any real reform, the legislature postponed the WASL graduation requirement for 5 years. I will predict here and now that 5 years from now, the graduation requirements will be shoved another 5 years or more into the future.
"Our students cannot and will not be penalized because the state hasn't done its job in our education system to ensure that they have the math and science skills they need," the governor explained. "We're going to get it right ... We're not going to give up on any student in the state of Washington."
I cannot take issue with the governor’s declaration that the state, and in particular the Seattle Public School District, have not done their jobs. But what did the legislature and the governor propose that would force the schools to bring their performance up to the standard of the WASL?
Gregoire signed anti-“cyberbullying” legislation and funded college scholarships for low-income students who manage to maintain a “C” average and stay out of jail. Let college finish what high schools fail to do. Nothing required any accountability for the quality of work done by teachers.
And so Washington will excrete another 5 years worth of high school graduates whose diplomas will be essentially meaningless, all because the legislature could not stand up to teachers and educrats who have elevated political indoctrination and boosting self esteem above reading, writing and arithmetic. For all of the rhetoric about caring for the children, this surrender was less in the interests of the pupils than it was for the teachers who would ultimately be held accountable for the shoddy quality of their work.
On the other hand, the election of Sarkozy shows that the French people possess the spine to stand up to their nation’s social left. As the election wound down, France’s socialist presidential candidate Segolene Royal even threatened the French voters with civil unrest should they fail to elect her. Her supporters delivered on her threat too.
It’s noteworthy, even as it is barely remarked upon by our mainstream media, that even as Democrats insist that President Bush has destroyed our international reputation, both the Germans and the French have replaced anti-American incumbents with pro-American presidents.
All the Washington teachers’ union had to do was march around and chant slogans across the street from the State Superintendent of Public Instruction’s office to get their way. Although, there can be little doubt that the threat of withheld political contributions played a considerable role.
Washington’s left side Democrats did not simply surrender to the left, but volunteered to serve as the left’s sock puppet. Gregoire’s signing statement borrowed heavily from the teachers union’s rhetoric demanding the postponement.
Expelling Seattle still has its merits. But in light of current event, France deserves better.


Truth said...

Out of curiosity what would you have the state of Washington do about education?

I hear a lot of talk of problems, yet the WASL is one of the hardest standardized tests in the nation, it is an extremelly subjective test, and it penalizes students who know more than basic geometry. Yet despite this the only thing I hear coming from you is complaints, not solutions. And perhaps your solutions could be something other than the vauge "accountability" you talk so much about. Who would decide whether teachers are good or not? Students, administrators, the state, other teachers? There have been no other ideas that I have heard proposed, and yet it is the governor's fault for making the WASL the new make-or-break test for students to graduate from high school.

Furthermore, it is perhaps possible that there are still strong anti-American sentiments in both France and Germany (as well as in a good part of the world, for some reason lying to the United Nations does that). It may simply be that the citizens decided not to base their national elections solely on how a person feels towards America.

Tom Forbes said...

Michael, that's a great story! You get to speak for Lewiston, while the Trib's regular editorialists Fisher and Henderson would fit right in with the leftists at the Slimes.

Michael said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michael said...

Dear Truth,
I would hold school teachers and adminstrators accountable for their students' results.

If we did that, we would have less crap likethis.

Right now, teachers and administrators treat schools like a sandbox where they can play without any consequences.

Alternatively, I would give parents vouchers for private schools, so that teachers who want their kids to learn could enroll their children in schools that emphasis learning over indoctrination or building self-esteem.

Truth said...

Michael, that is a really bizzarre idea that Seattle district had, but it really has no relevence to teachers, and the administrators who started the program did so out of the best intentions, and will most likely be held responsible for any fallout which results from it.

Also, if you have a way to hold teachers accountable for how they teach I invite you to present it. However in my personal opinion it seems like very difficult thing to do because there is no single criteria or even a single group which can give a trully comprehensive evaluation of how teachers are doing.

As for vouchers I have mixed feelings. On the one hand there is clearly an incentive to allow parents to pull their children out of a public school if they don't think its working for their child and use get their tax money which would normally go to that school and use it instead to get a better education. The problem I see however is that what this situation leaves is even less money for public schools which are always underfunded by both parties, which leads more parents to pull their kids out of public schools. This likely would then continue until the only people left in public school are those whose parents cannot afford to put them in a private school, even with the vouchers. The public schools meanwhile have had so much funding pulled out of them that they are not able to offer their students courses such as chemistry, computer science, etc. because they don't have the money and then as a result those students don't have the same chance others do. Now I realize the government can't guarantee that all students will suceed, but the government (especially in Washington State) has the obligation to ensure that all students have the same opportunity to suceed, and that in part means that they have to provide all students with a school which is adequetly funded. I would have less of a problem however if there was a way to do both, for example allow parents to request vouchers thhrough some means and then grant those vouchers without taking money from public schools.