In the latest round of school performance competition, America predictably got its butt kicked by a slew of nations (even Estonia did better than us), prompting journalist John Hechinger to go about asking why.
The answer he found was twofold. Shanghai, the overall #1 performer, had merit-based pay for teachers and classroom instruction that emphasized real-world preparedness. But apparently, the only way to achieve this is with an authoritarian government that suppresses teacher unions.
Says one beltway career pundit:
The U.S. can’t move as fast as China because of resistance from teachers unions and parents, says Russ Whitehurst, an education expert at the Brookings Institution, a Washington think tank. Yet Whitehurst, who served in the Education Dept. under President George W. Bush, doesn’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing. “Lots of people in education reform get themselves tied into knots in praise of the ability of an authoritarian regime to get things done,” he says. “What gets lost is the price associated with the ability to move forward without the need for democratic dialogue.”
Whitehurst and his friends assume that “democratic dialogue” would naturally result in bloated union pensions, gay history curriculum, and incompetent teachers who never get fired.
Observe the way progressives really think: they accused Wisconsin governor Scott Walker of trampling democracy because they truly, seriously, literally believe that their agenda is the only possible outcome of democracy.
The article goes on to quote a college professor warning that China’s approach saps “creativity” out of children, which is ostensibly the one thing America has going for it. And I guess you can’t really argue with that – those signs they held up as they marched into Madison like good little union puppets were quite creative.
Not one conservative was quoted in the entire piece. No one argued that maybe creativity should not be the focus of public education, or that democratic dialogue in Wisconsin proved what the public wants.
The media are here to give you the choice. Turn your children into math drones at the behest of a communistic government, or let them dance in strawberry fields with an overpaid union teacher. There is no middle ground.
But remember, these are the folks who insist in finding nuance almost everywhere else.