Schools and Politics: Corollary to Labor, Capital, and the Public Good (5/30/11)

The long term historical assault on protections for the working man is corollary to the health of public schools and stems from the urge to aggrandize capital.

This does not mean that our schools (or our health care) flounder solely because of lack of funding. We get less health and less learning out of a given dollar than numerous other countries, by some significant margin. But to take these facts and turn them into an argument for “starving the beast”, as has been the Republican (and conservative) background strategy for years, amounts to saying we don’t really need good schools or health care. Fiscal conservatives would get my attention better if they were to demonstrate rational concern for the state of schools and health care and engage in dialogue with their legislative colleagues on substantive solutions. To obsess on cutting taxes simply does not address these issues in any kind of corrective manner.

In a reformation of health care, and a reformation of public education, both forums of the common good, it is difficult to see any entity that will leverage the decisive political will to move us in a viable direction. Too much of the public as a whole seems enthralled by the various red herrings trotted out by tea party and other false idols, and has trouble seeing where their own best interests lie, non millionaires as most of us are.

Ironically, the political will could come from enlightened business groups, who survey the problematic results in our schools and the rising, out of control costs for health care, recognize this status quo as inimical to their mercantile interests, and support some viable, pragmatic compromise on both issues that is also beneficial to the body politic.

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