But I still shake my head at what passes for logic or thoughtful discourse when we approach the topic of education. So in a fit of snark, I pick these two unrelated and yet very similar vignettes…
Rand Paul on Letterman and a poorly named “Living Ark” classroom project in London.
First: A transcript from Rand Paul’s Letterman appearance via Fox…
David Letterman: The school system is bereft. It needs attention. It has fallen behind. We are embarrassingly trailing other nations in terms of public schools.
Rand Paul: Yes, we can agree. We can agree to the problem, but here’s the rub. In Washington, D.C., we spend $20,000 per pupil and we still have a crummy school system. It’s failing our kids; our kids are dropping out. Half of them are dropping out before they finish high school…their scores are abysmal…and we spend more and more money. So money’s not always the answer. You have to do something, but I think part of the problem is we’ve taken education from the local sphere and now we control it from Washington and I think that’s been a mistake.
Letterman: Well, something has gone haywire because it’s not working and I’m sure I agree with that argument but if we’re going to throw money at something, why not education? Let’s just see if it improves somehow.
Paul: Well, I think competition makes things better. You have to compete with other late-night comedians; I have to compete with other physicians. I think competition makes us better. Think if you didn’t have that guy, what’s his name, you have to compete with?
(fade to commercial break)
Letterman: You know, I think he’s wrong about some of these things. I just can’t tell you why.
Eco-campaigners who built a classroom powered by the sun believed they were paving the way for the future.
Instead they have been taught a valuable lesson – there is not enough sun in North London to sufficiently heat their building.
The much feted zero-carbon Living Ark classroom was opened three months ago to great fanfare…
…But there is snag – its solar panels only provide enough energy to power a few lightbulbs.
As a result the classroom is bitterly cold and uninhabitable for lessons…..
….[T]oday a local parent at the 419-pupil school said teachers weren’t allowing pupils into the classroom because it was too cold.
Oh, that’s not the funny part. Read on:
Headteacher Jill Hughes defended the project and said she hoped classes would be held in the classroom when the weather gets warmer.
She said: ‘We’re delighted to have the Living Ark – its a tremendous resource both for the school and the local community and is an important part of the Muswell Hill low carbon zone initiative.’
Letterman completely disregards that $20,000 per pupil in DC = crummy school system and continues to advocate throwing money at education to “see if it improves somehow.” Now THERE’S logic!
And the Headteacher is proud of an EMPTY (albeit very pretty) classroom and touts it as a “tremendous resource” and “hopes” it can be used….someday. (Psst: Ms. Hughes – if having a low carbon classroom was that important, you coulda’ saved a bunch of money by building a room out of cinderblocks and keeping it empty too. Ugly to be sure – but just as low carbon as your pretty Living Ark – which you should probably rename, BTW. Glad the original Ark like…actually worked and all….)
Facts, who needs ’em? I think these folks are wrong about these things…and I just told you why! Have YOU come across head shakingly silly discourse on education that you’d like to share?