Compulsory Schooling is Compulsory Schooling

I stumbled upon this while link-hopping earlier.  In a post entitled “The Intellectual Underpinnings of the Charter School Movement,” the blogger writes:

KIPP’s new bumper sticker slogan: Work Hard. Be Nice.

Translation: SHUT UP (work hard) AND DO WHAT YOU ARE TOLD (be nice).

My question is: How is this any different than the intellectual underpinnings of public schooling?  I realize the quote above isn’t saying it is, but I’ve seen plenty of leftish types go on about Charter schools as if they’re self-evidently worse than public schools (usually it’s that they’re less accountable), and I don’t get it.  It reminds me of the hand-wringing over “private” defense contractors.  They’re both funded by taxes and they’re both ultimately accountable to the government, not parents (PTA show meetings notwithstanding) and definitely not the students (you’re joking, right?), and the model for both is basically authoritarian.  Charter schools are just public schools by another name.

The Party of the Rich Versus the Party of the Super Duper Rich

This interview does a pretty good a job of illustrating the fundamentally conservative nature of liberalism (as represented by the donkey party) in this country, while at the same time attempting to portray conservatives (as represented by the elephant party) as a bunch of out-of-touch rich guys.  Excuse me, did I say “rich”?  I meant “very rich.”  No, scratch that: “super rich.”  Ah, fuck it, what I really mean is “very, very rich.”

Here, at least, is a mildly refreshing bit of honesty:

I’ve heard from people who worked in the White House that he doesn’t like rich people. I don’t actually think it’s true. I think he has a kind of Harvard Law School sense of kinship with these guys. He’s a member of the same technocratic elite. He could have taken that path. He has an admiration for those skills. But what he doesn’t have at all is a belief that the pure fact of having made a lot of money makes your views more valuable, or makes you more interesting or smarter than anyone else.

So what we have here is an exercise in hairsplitting, in which a distinction is being made between two subsets of the “technocratic elite”: straight-up businessmen and those who come from essentially the same background but who choose, instead of merely making money, to pursue more selfless, civic-minded endeavors, such as running for the job where you get to have kill lists and a fleet of lethal remote control airplanes for your own personal amusement.

This notion that there’s some great antagonism between Obama and the big money people is yet another iteration of the classic fairy tale about how the Democrats are the party of the little guy and the Republicans the party of Wall Street.  Except it seems to be losing traction.  Even a hack like Ezra Klein doesn’t really seem to believe it, as demonstrated by all the effort to impress upon us that Romney’s backers were more wealthy than Obama’s.  Who gives a shit?  If Obama and the Democrats were really perceived as a threat to the bankers, they would have been out collecting ballot access signatures with the Constitution Party instead of cruising to a second term.

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