Friday, May 02, 2008

Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grade Teacher?

Today, my oldest came over after school, just like every other weekend and posed a question. Who started the war in Iraq? The answer is easy, I told him, George Bush. that's when he told me I was wrong, according to his teacher, Congress authorized the war in Iraq.
You see, his class is learning about government, which is an odd time to be learning about democracy, when it's been pretty much wiped out by the current administration, with it's signing statements and all. I informed my son, that no, Bush started the war in Iraq.
Congress approved a war resolution which gave Bush the authorization to start a war "if Saddam Hussein did not give up weapons of mass destruction, as required by UN resolutions". Since Saddam didn't have any weapon of mass destruction to give up, Bush had no resolution to start a war with them under the provisions as defined by Congress.
Bonus points: Who said "Giving peace a chance only gives Saddam Hussein more time to prepare for war on his terms, at a time of his choosing, in pursuit of ambitions that will only grow as his power to achieve them grows"?
Saddam didn't want a war with the US. He never attacked us, nor did he show any predisposition to do so. And since "we went to war in Iraq because of weapons of mass destruction" that didn't exist, why does John McCain feel we need to stay there for "100 years"?
So the Bush administration threatened, bullied and harassed UN members to get UN resolution 1441 passed. It then used that to get authorization from Congress to go to war over reasons they themselves knew were blatantly false. And even though it has destroyed the lives of thousand Americans, millions of Iraqis, helped destroy the US economy, as well as our standing in the international community, Bush, McCain, and the Republican party feel we should stay there so non-existent "terrorists" don't get their hands on Iraq's oil. (even though it's not about the oil, or maybe it is, since it's hard to understand what McCain means because even he's not sure what he's saying) Every American should be angered over the war, and if you're not, you're just plain dumb.


Anonymous said...

I firmly believe that it was Bush's intent to completely destroy public education for two reasons: 1) a dumb populace is more complaint, and, 2) getting government out of education (and every other service. For it is much better to pay incompetent private companies to do the same sad work that he has created in our education system.

Typical of this regime and the lengths they will go to ruin this nation.


Jennyjinx said...

Wow. Just wow.

My father-in-law argued with me about that once (he's a Bushie), but his contention was that the president didn't need congressional authorization to go to war. I'm thinking that may be true soon, but he was wrong. He googled it. I'm right.

I don't think I would have handled it well were my daughter come home with that kind of misinformation. Thankfully, she is smarter that a Republican, so I don't have to worry about her being brainwashed. :)

Tom Harper said...

I agree with the first commenter. An uneducated gullible public is a nice thing to have if you're an unprincipled thug who wants to "lead" the country. I keep thinking that the public will finally start seeing through all of these mudslinging political campaigns that are based only on soundbites and slogans. And it keeps not happening. If anything, it's getting worse.

Frederick said...

I'd have a stern face to face meeting with that teacher.

Snave said...

I'm with Frederick on that one.

I work in public schools as a speech therapist, and when I see a classroom teacher giving any kind of political or religious slant to a lesson I cringe. Most of the teachers are friends, and I usually approach it like "I heard your comment and I fear it could be construed by some students and parents as being liberal/conservative/religious/whatever." I know which teachers are conservatives, which ones are liberals, environmentalists, "wise use" land users, etc. I often wonder with the ones who tend to be really vocal how they are able to keep their views out of their lessons.

In the case of your fifth grader's teacher, Lew, I'd be in the room asking the teacher how he or she knows his or her lesson was opinion versus fact, and that presenting some things from a single angle = promoting a particular view, in this case especially. If your student doesn't like the teacher, I would be asking for a transfer to a different fifth grade, although it is probably getting pretty late in the school year for that.

A quick soapbox on No Child Left Behind: As for the Bushies wanting to privatize the public school system, I think that is definitely the real purpose of No Child Left Behind. The bar is set higher for schools every year, with a goal of 100% student achievement in all areas by something like 2012 or 2014. A noble goal, to be sure. The problem is, the system is set up so that achieving 100% in all areas is not possible. And if schools don't reach that impossible goal, they get penalized and ultimately shut down. NCLB paves the way for our tax dollars paying for kids to be educated in private religious schools, and for all schools to become privatized. In the next 4-6 years, if the number of schools "failing" under NCLB is plotted on a graph year by year it will start to look like an exponential curve. All the voucher/anti-public schools conservatives will crow about it, saying "See, we told you the schools were bad!"

Although there is a lot to be fixed in our public schools, I don't believe for a minute that trashing the public school system (by basically draining all the money out of it through financial penalties) and replacing it with "business" is in the best interests of our country.

How schools succeed or fail under NCLB is based on how many students pass tests. There is a lot more emphasis on memorization of facts and passing tests now, with a lot more testing and a lot less emphasis on learning critical thinking skills. MsJoanne is on the right track when she states that a dumb populace is more compliant. NCLB not only systematically defunds the public school system, it also dumbs our kids down even more than they already have been. We don't need no critical thinking!!

The NCLB problem is one reason I wouldn't mind if Clinton got elected... at least she SAYS she would end NCLB. I think NCLB at least needs to be overhauled, if not eliminated entirely.

Kathy said...

Wow! I have to agree with snave and Frederick about speaking to your son's teacher. I'd approach it by simply saying that your son came home with some information that you knew was incorrect and you wanted to bring that to his/her attention.

I'd also want to see his government textbook and see how it's written up in there. If they've slanted it, then shoot off a letter to Houghton Mifflin or whatever company it is and put them straight. Give me the company's name too and I'll write a letter and blog about it.