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"...we should take a close look at repealing compulsory education."
July 17, 2013 11:05 AM   Subscribe

Utah State Sen. Aaron Osmond (R-South Jordan) has introduced a proposal to abolish compulsory education for children in his home state.

Titled Accountability for Parents + Respect for Teachers, Osmond's proposal advocates a "freedom-based" approach, decrying parents' perceived withdrawal from the educational process: "As a result, our teachers and schools have been forced to become surrogate parents, expected to do everything from behavioral counseling, to providing adequate nutrition, to teaching sex education, as well as ensuring full college and career readiness." Although Utah Code § 53A-11-101.5 already specifies that education is not compulsory until a child has reached the age of 6 [PDF], Osmond seeks to do away with compulsory education altogether.

The proposal outlines four recommendations:
1. Restoring "the expectation that parents are primarily responsible for the educational success of their own children,"
2. "Shift[ing] the public mindset to recognize that education is a not an obligation, but an opportunity to be treasured and respected,"
3. Rolling back the requirement that children and teachers must be present in the classroom for at least 990 hours per year, and
4. Reiterating the belief that "if a parent decides to keep their child home or to go on a family vacation, it's the responsibility of that parent to ensure their child completes the assignments and stays current with their class."

Osmond also references Agency Based Education proponent Oak Norton and his 2012 ABE Conference talk, "Ending Compulsory Education: A Freedom-Based Argument" [PDF, YouTube]. Norton advances the idea that "we cannot provide government a legal power that trumps that parental right by way of compulsory education and truancy laws."

State School Board member Leslie Castle responded to Osmond's overture in an interview with Ogden's Standard-Examiner, observing that today's Utahns "live in a society where some children require help beyond the ability of their parents. Those students don't deserve to be punished, they don't deserve to be disqualified." Citing Utah's 92% opt-in rate for kindergarten as a prime example of citizens exercising a choice free of legal obligation, Osmond replied, "We have to shift the culture more than just the process." Speaking to Salt Lake City's Deseret News, Osmond admitted that the details of his proposal may need fine-tuning, but concluded, "What I'm hoping to accomplish with this bill is to restore the trust and respect and professionalism of teachers as a facility of learning and not as a social worker."

A University of Phoenix graduate, real estate entrepreneur, and former Microsoft executive, Osmond won his seat in 2011 in an election brought about by the resignation of State Sen. Chris Buttars. Since his election, Osmond has served as a member of the Utah Senate Education Standing Committee, the Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee, and the Public Education Appropriations Subcommittee, all of which work in concert to make budget recommendations to the state Legislature and govern appropriations and funding for all of Utah's charter schools and school districts.

In a comparison of public education spending levels across the United States, Utah currently ranks 50th in the nation, with a FY 2011 expenditure of $6,212 per student.
posted by divined by radio (188 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite

 
...

We are witnessing the ultimate here, people. Texas, Florida, Arozona - now your heads... THIS is how it is done.
posted by Artw at 11:09 AM on July 17, 2013 [10 favorites]


Contrast this with Malala Yousafzai's speech at the UN the other day, advocating for education for all children, girls and boys.

I know which of these two people I believe in.
posted by Celsius1414 at 11:09 AM on July 17, 2013 [92 favorites]


Odd how these guys object to anyone in government trying to "shift the culture" if it's someone trying to drag them out of the damned Stone Age.
posted by 1adam12 at 11:10 AM on July 17, 2013 [15 favorites]


The comments are hilarious...ly obviously plants.
posted by Rory Marinich at 11:11 AM on July 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


First, we need to restore the expectation that parents are primarily responsible for the educational success of their own children. That begins with restoring the parental right to decide if and when a child will go to public school. In a country founded on the principles of personal freedom and unalienable rights, no parent should be forced by the government to send their child to school under threat of fines and jail time.

Huh... how about that? There's logic for ya....

But public education is not free—it costs taxpayers billions each year.

Ohhhhhhhhhh. *raises hand* BINGO!
posted by RolandOfEld at 11:12 AM on July 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Is it called the FUCK-EM Act?
posted by The Card Cheat at 11:13 AM on July 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


I once had an African-American friend who had grown up in SLC, Utah.

When asked what Utah was like he would respond "It's 'Hate You' spelled backwards".

Pretty countryside though.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 11:13 AM on July 17, 2013 [53 favorites]


I have pretty wacky ideas about education, but the idea that it's horrible that schools give poor kids free meals? Erm.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 11:13 AM on July 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


It is clear that negative comments are being deleted. Some of the positive comments are rebuking negative commenters.
posted by adamrice at 11:13 AM on July 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


I'm missing your point, RolandOfEld.

I don't read those statements as exclusionary.
posted by cjorgensen at 11:13 AM on July 17, 2013


I guess one of the states thar dies hilarious/awful legislation could find a way to relegalise slavery... *maybe* they could beat this that way. I wouldn't say that was possible but as we can clearly see all bets are off.
posted by Artw at 11:14 AM on July 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Man when I refused to move to Utah with my old job I totally dodged a bullet, didn't I.

I refused because I like alcohol too much to have to drive hours to get some but still.
posted by winna at 11:16 AM on July 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


Is this wacky backwards legislation shit new or do we just hear about it more often lately? Can the Big Bootstraps lobby really be so powerful?
posted by bleep at 11:17 AM on July 17, 2013


In a country founded on the principles of personal freedom and unalienable rights, no parent should be forced by the government to send their child to school under threat of fines and jail time.

In a country founded on the principles of personal freedom and unalienable rights, no person should be forced by the government to not have a meth lab in the basement.

In a country founded on the principles of personal freedom and unalienable rights, no person should be forced by the government to obey the speed limit.

In a country founded on the principles of personal freedom and unalienable rights, no person should be forced by the government to ______.

Freedumb.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 11:18 AM on July 17, 2013 [21 favorites]


As a theoretically sane citizen here in Utah, I'd just like to say, "What the ever living fuck are these people smoking and may I have some, please?"
posted by zuhl at 11:18 AM on July 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


I adhere to the theory that they want to damage public education so that more people will be ignorant enough to fall for their bullshit.
posted by exogenous at 11:18 AM on July 17, 2013 [36 favorites]


..and thats when they moved from everyday villainy to cartoonish super-villainy
posted by The Whelk at 11:19 AM on July 17, 2013 [33 favorites]


In a country founded on the principles of personal freedom and unalienable rights, no person should be forced to continue a pregnancy against her will.

I'm not doing this right, am I?
posted by hydropsyche at 11:19 AM on July 17, 2013 [90 favorites]


Can the Big Bootstraps lobby really be so powerful?

Never underestimate the political power of middle aged people who hate paying taxes.
posted by banal evil at 11:20 AM on July 17, 2013 [10 favorites]


I don't read those statements as exclusionary.

I guess I may have missed the part of his bill that introduces real solutions (read:penalties) for parents that neglect/can't provide schooling. #4 posted by the OP makes mention of it a bit but I see this being a blatant "Fuck you, got mine" bill. Something like the following logic

Parents are responsible for kids educations, so they can defund schools even further (currently 50th in nation I see) while private schools cater/provide for those with money. -->
Kids are found to be behind/poorly educated and blame is laid at the feet of the [poor, low SES] parents.

Achievement unlocked: Confirmation of predispositions that the poor are to blame.
Achievement unlocked: Look at all the money we saved!


So, yea, I guess that approximates my train of thought here.
posted by RolandOfEld at 11:20 AM on July 17, 2013 [10 favorites]


2. "Shift[ing] the public mindset to recognize that education is a not an obligation, but an opportunity to be treasured and respected,"

I mean this is just such ugh expecting poor six year olds to pull themselves up by their bootstraps and if they really deserved education they'd educate themselves or some shit like that.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 11:20 AM on July 17, 2013 [5 favorites]


This is a solution to the cognitive dissonance brought on by advocating opportunity for everybody in the marketplace, and requiring a permanent underclass to keep your funders happy & solvent.
posted by Emperor SnooKloze at 11:21 AM on July 17, 2013 [4 favorites]


It's all the giant push to roll back progress made the last century. Voting rights act? pfft. Abortion rights? chipping away. Here is a bill disguised to start trapping women at home again, because damn it if the MAN of the family would be the stay at home parent in Utah.
Paramilitary guards at mining sites in Northern WI.

Mid term elections coming up folks, where the party nominally in power tends to do poorly. Last mid-terms we lost Fiengold.. who the fuck knows what America will look like in 30 years.
posted by edgeways at 11:21 AM on July 17, 2013 [6 favorites]


But public education is not free—it costs taxpayers billions each year.

And the cost to support people who can't manage to find decent employment because they have no education is zero?

Boy, the private prison industry in Utah must be excited about this piece of nuttery.
posted by nerdler at 11:21 AM on July 17, 2013 [25 favorites]


..and thats when they moved from everyday villainy to cartoonish super-villainy

Google "Bring Back Child Labor" and see how many hits you get.

Though I don't doubt that child labor is easier when the little plebes have nowhere to be but the streets because there's no school anymore. Working will make them productive citizens instead.
posted by emjaybee at 11:22 AM on July 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Without compulsory education, I'm pretty sure my father would have done everything he could to keep me from getting any.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 11:22 AM on July 17, 2013 [9 favorites]


from the Ogden Standard Examiner link, empahsis mine:

"State School Board member Leslie Castle said she agrees that schools have become burdened with nonacademic responsibilities, such as daily nutrition, basic health screenings and behavioral counseling. But the reality of Utah’s increasingly diverse population is that many children require those services, she said.

“We live in a society where some children require help beyond the ability of their parents. Those students don’t deserve to be punished, they don’t deserve to be disqualified.”

She said because of compulsory education, teachers and educators are typically the first to see evidence of trouble at home, from abuse to malnourishment. Without the requirement to attend school, or if nonacademic services were removed from the public education system, it would be necessary for the state to create some other form of publicly funded service to fill that role, Castle said.

“Right now, every single day, somebody is checking on these children in the state of Utah,” she said. “Somebody is seeing them, somebody is a watchful eye.”"


Looking at this guy's voting record, he's voted FOR having conceal carry withOUT a permit, for drug testing of welfare recipients, and for abstinence-only sex ed. But he also voted for making it illegal to smoke in a car with minors and making it illegal for minors to use cell phones while driving.

So, I just don't even. I like the last two at first glance, seem like good ideas, but I'm sure there's something horrible hidden in the language of the law. But all the rest just seem terrible right off. It's like he cares for kids but doesn't, all in one breath.
posted by sio42 at 11:24 AM on July 17, 2013 [9 favorites]


Boy, the private prison industry in Utah must be excited about this piece of nuttery.

Supporting the Are There No Workhouses? bill.
posted by Artw at 11:24 AM on July 17, 2013 [5 favorites]


Hey.. you know who else likes to deny kids education? the Taliban. Osmond is obviously a deep cover Taliban operative, and joking aside is certainly in a much better position to cause much more harm then a dozen Boston marathon bombers.
posted by edgeways at 11:25 AM on July 17, 2013 [5 favorites]


"the Whole People must take upon themselvs the Education of the Whole People and must be willing to bear the expences of it. there should not be a district of one Mile square without a school in it, not founded by a Charitable individual but maintained at the expence of the People themselv"

-John Adams, Sept. 10, 1785
posted by Flunkie at 11:27 AM on July 17, 2013 [91 favorites]


Can the Big Bootstraps lobby really be so powerful?

The game was rigged by the Republican supermajority in the early part of the aughts, and the crooked game religiously defended by an intractable minority party since then, so when the inevitable crash came, the ultra-wealthy recovered first. They have endlessly deep pockets, and believe (wrongly) that increasing wealth disparity and shrinking the middle class is the best way to secure their personal fortunes and political power.

The heavy use of social wedge issues means any revolt will likely be between one political faction against the other... and so they're making sure the heavily armed ones are on their side at the expense of public safety.

It's not a return to the gilded age. It's the establishment of an explicit aristocracy that's the goal.
posted by Slap*Happy at 11:27 AM on July 17, 2013 [15 favorites]


I'd like to propose a resolution to abolish Utah.

"My fellow Americans, I'm pleased to tell you today that I've signed legislation that will outlaw Utah forever. We begin bombing in five minutes."

Yes, yes, I know there's decent people Utah. Surely, somewhere. Just let me forget about that and indulge in the fantasy for a few minutes.
posted by entropicamericana at 11:27 AM on July 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


You know this making it harder and harder for me to travel to parts of the US for vacation.
posted by The Whelk at 11:29 AM on July 17, 2013 [4 favorites]


The American Right is getting closer and closer the the Taliban every day. The irony of all of the anti-Sharia laws being used either as vehicles for anti-woman, anti-GLBT, anti-secular, and anti-intellectual law; or to address a problem that doesn't exist, is of course completely lost on them.
posted by zombieflanders at 11:30 AM on July 17, 2013 [12 favorites]


"My fellow Americans, I'm pleased to tell you today that I've signed legislation that will outlaw Utah forever. We begin bombing in five minutes."

No, no, no! Don't bomb it!

Nature has gone to considerable trouble to arrange the rocks in that state in many very interesting ways....
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 11:30 AM on July 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


Rory Marinich: “The comments are hilarious...ly obviously plants.”
Too right. I especially enjoyed, "I think this would be great for public schools and families." I'm still holding my sides. I've seen the general ledger of a school system where more than 90% of the schools qualify for Title I funding. Everything is already on a knife's edge, and new measures to allow for even more charter schools are making things harder and harder. There's very little room for allowing a significant proportion of people to opt out of a community school system entirely.
posted by ob1quixote at 11:31 AM on July 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


The punchline in the first of the sanity-culled comments is priceless. Referring to the 5% of students who would not come to school under this plan:

The absent five percent will have to work with their parents to find the best option for them.

WAT

To quote the article from the equally infuriating topic posted to Metafilter yesterday:

I don’t want to live in any kind of dog-eat-dog Ayn Rand erotic fantasy. Human beings are worth more than that.
posted by mcstayinskool at 11:32 AM on July 17, 2013 [15 favorites]


Accountability for Parents + Respect for Teachers

Man, undead George Orwell just cannot stop throwing up...
posted by fikri at 11:33 AM on July 17, 2013 [5 favorites]


The American Right is getting closer and closer the the Taliban every day.

It IS pretty bizarre how we as a people just kind of ignore that there's a de facto theocratic state in the union.

I guess I should make a roadtrip to see Monument Valley before they start chopping off the heads of the infidels.
posted by entropicamericana at 11:35 AM on July 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


First, we need to restore the expectation that parents are primarily responsible for the educational success of their own children.

Starts off great.


That begins with restoring the parental right to decide if and when a child will go to public school.


Now we're in the batshitinsane idea territory.

They really hate the People, don't they?
posted by arcticseal at 11:35 AM on July 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


My understanding of the goals of this is that parents aren't always the best parents so if we punish their children then maybe the parents will realize that education is an opportunity to be treasured and respected? Uh, well then.
posted by kiltedtaco at 11:35 AM on July 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


To be fair, education does cause people to expect fairness, equality, and progress. No one really wants that.
posted by blue_beetle at 11:35 AM on July 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


There are a lot of examples - from history as well as currently, both in the US and abroad - of what societies that "rely" solely on parents to educate their children. We know what that looks like. What it looks like is not good - not good for the kids, not good for the parents, not good for the society.
posted by rtha at 11:35 AM on July 17, 2013 [4 favorites]


Ha Ha Ha: charter schools. You know what's behind (some) Charter schools? Oh My.... segregation.
posted by edgeways at 11:36 AM on July 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


They really hate the People, don't they?

Well, no, because they don't consider the coloreds, the weaker sex, the homos, and the lazy welfare queens to actually be people.
posted by zombieflanders at 11:37 AM on July 17, 2013 [11 favorites]


This is one of those ridiculous, entirely unsupported proposals that has no hope in hell of passing, right? Just red meat to his electorate? Please?
posted by GhostintheMachine at 11:38 AM on July 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Bring Back Child Labor's first Google hit, by the way, is not-unsurprisingly from the National Review Online. The author seems to be advocating for child labor because he got good service from the daughter in a family-owned Subway sandwich shop in the Gulf Coast. He also thinks the Gulf Coast has recovered from the Deepwater Horizon disaster, so clearly he's fucked in the head. I hope he took a nice long dip in the correxit-tainted water. I feel bad for his kids though.
posted by Cookiebastard at 11:38 AM on July 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Aaron Osmond - leader of the Utaliban
posted by jcworth at 11:39 AM on July 17, 2013 [5 favorites]


This kind of rouge reactionary nuttery from Republicans is pure gold for Democrats and something the Republican core is trying to clean up before 2016, but they can't stop it when local elections keep churning these wackos out. The main character in all this is the American voter.
posted by stbalbach at 11:39 AM on July 17, 2013




The funny thing too is that, unless Utah is really different from most states, parents can already pull their kid sout of school and home-school them. lot of folks do. Some for religious reasons, some for educational reasons. I know a lot of Mefites don't like home-schooling, but I will say I was and all my sisters as well (all for not religious reasons) and somehow we didn't turn into slavering a-social stalkers.

So.. given the options already out there I don't know what the asshole's point is.
posted by edgeways at 11:40 AM on July 17, 2013 [9 favorites]


WHAT
THE
FUCK,
UTAH?
posted by theora55 at 11:41 AM on July 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Democracy cannot succeed unless those who express their choice are prepared to choose wisely. The real safeguard of democracy, therefore, is education. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt

My question, Utah State Sen. Aaron Osmond, is why do you hate democracy?
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 11:47 AM on July 17, 2013 [4 favorites]


May I add an appropriate quote from “The Newsroom” here?

. Ideological purity
. Compromise as weakness
. A fundamentalist belief in scriptural literalism
. Denying science
. Unmoved by facts
. Undeterred by new information
. A hostile fear of progress
. A demonization of education
. A need to control women’s bodies
. Severe xenophobia
. Tribal mentality
. Intolerance of dissent
. A pathological hatred of the US government

They can call themselves the Tea Party. They can call themselves Conservatives. And they can even call themselves Republicans. Though Republican’s certainly shouldn’t. But we should call them what they are: The American Taliban.
posted by DanSachs at 11:47 AM on July 17, 2013 [25 favorites]


This whole thread is a mishmash of sneer. Isn't possible to show disdain with better ideas? Denial of obvious problems with any system isn't a solution.
posted by Mblue at 11:49 AM on July 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


I agree with one point that is mentioned as a driving force behind this proposal:

First, we need to restore the expectation that parents are primarily responsible for the educational success of their own children.

It seems like it would make more sense to make Parent-Teacher meetings mandatory, combined with compulsory employer cooperation akin to Jury Duty.

If you are opting in to the public education system, it shouldn't be an attitude of "oh, they got it..." which may arise due to apathy or inability to be involved.

The rest of it, however, reads like someone who doesn't understand that many of his wonderful ideas are already present, such as a parent opting to home school their child, and this:

Similarly, if a child consistently misbehaves, it’s the teacher’s right to send that child home to their parent until he or she is ready to respect and appreciate their opportunity to be educated.

Ummm... there's this little thing called suspension/being expelled....


Overall, this sounds like an naive proposal founded on a drunken conversation about the "good 'ol times" in which the participants realized they could serve some misguided nostalgic purpose and also that of (and more importantly) saving money.

Still, he's entitled to his opinion.
posted by Debaser626 at 11:50 AM on July 17, 2013


I wonder if being born into a fabuously wealthy family inclines one to think that paying for private education is no big deal. (His father is Virl Osmond, one of the non-singing brothers.)
posted by aught at 11:51 AM on July 17, 2013


This sounds like someone trying to move the Overton window to the right on education. Why they're doing it is a mystery to me, but probably has something to do with teachers unions and spending levels.
posted by fremen at 11:51 AM on July 17, 2013


1adam12: "Odd how these guys object to anyone in government trying to "shift the culture" if it's someone trying to drag them out of the damned Stone Age."

I for one am sick and tired of these liberal intellectuals in their ivory towers trying to corrupt our kids with their "bronze" tools. My father used stone, I've always used stone, and my boy would have used stone if he hadn't been eaten by a dire wolf as a toddler.
posted by brundlefly at 11:51 AM on July 17, 2013 [32 favorites]


It's funny - I tend to be most interested in an intellectual tradition which is skeptical of the enlightenment and the unified subject, tends to decry virtually everything that has actually been achieved in terms of social justice as being reformist (and therefore doomed to fail - which actually is the hazard of half-measures), etc.

And essentially I agree with all that.

But the things that have been happening lately make me realize how incredibly fragile the "enlightenment" consensus actually was. Politically-speaking, the entire post-structuralist critique actually relies on the pervasiveness and established nature of a sort of vulgar enlightenment - pretty much everyone believes that history is progressive, all men are sorta-kinda created equal even if we don't mean equal-equal, that you should not be able to formally own another human being, that certain things like universal education are such obvious social goods that they do not even require defending, that you should not die on the floor of the emergency room because you cannot afford cash up front, etc. We all basically assumed that if we attacked the flimsiness and incompleteness of reformist, vulgar enlightenment measures, everyone would still basically be operating on shared vulgar enlightenment values. (This is not what post-structuralism says; it's the political condition that made post-structuralist theory possible.)

But all those ideas were not powerful and pervasive after all. You start chipping away at the reformist measures and talking about how there really is no unified subject, biopower, etc etc and you discover all these people being empowered to stand up and shout that they don't believe in enlightenment values, that all men are not created equal, that yes there is no civil society and therefore we should get rid of schools, that it's perfectly good and healthy if people die on the floor because they're broke. It's just like how we saw that the pro-lifers didn't really just want to stop abortions, they wanted to take away birth control too. Fundamentally, this is all angled at re-establishing a formal, legally supported Jim Crow (as opposed to the sneaky Jim Crow we have now) and certainly some new form of debt peonage closely akin to slavery.

The funny thing too is that, unless Utah is really different from most states, parents can already pull their kid sout of school and home-school them. lot of folks do. Some for religious reasons, some for educational reasons. I know a lot of Mefites don't like home-schooling, but I will say I was and all my sisters as well (all for not religious reasons) and somehow we didn't turn into slavering a-social stalkers.

No, the point isn't that this dude is thinking of the homeschoolers; he's thinking of the various damaged families where the kids already aren't getting to school a lot of the time, and trying to figure out a way to say that the state does not have to educate them at all. He's probably trying to angle for some legal way of saying that the state doesn't have to provide for disabled kids either. His goal here is obviously that anyone who either finds it hard to get to school (because their family is poor or dysfunctional) or is cripplingly poorly served by the school that actually exists will just stay home and do without an education (possibly under the guise of "homeschooling" when it's known full-well that the parents in the situation can't actually provide the needed resources). And he knows full well that a lot of those people will be people of color and virtually all of them will be poor. He can't actually say "I don't want to bother educating black people, and I don't really like it when they have educations anyway", but he can strive for a legal measure which will prevent as many people of color as possible from accessing education.

And I add that the more desperate and illiterate workers you have, the more downward wage pressure there is. All these people would probably point to employment fears as a reason not to let in immigrants, but they'll be happy to raise up a homegrown reserve labor army of the uneducated and starving.
posted by Frowner at 11:52 AM on July 17, 2013 [62 favorites]


This whole thread is a mishmash of sneer. Isn't possible to show disdain with better ideas? Denial of obvious problems with any system isn't a solution.

Getting rid of a system altogether under the false pretense of helping people isn't a solution either.

It's like lobotomizing yourself because you have a hard time keeping in shape.
posted by Celsius1414 at 11:53 AM on July 17, 2013 [10 favorites]


Dear America, your 19th century role play is getting out of control, at least put on some bustles or top hats when you're doing this shit
posted by The Whelk at 11:53 AM on July 17, 2013 [25 favorites]


There's so much dog-whistle bullshit in this bill that I'm amazed non-conservatives can even hear him when he talks.
posted by dry white toast at 11:54 AM on July 17, 2013 [6 favorites]


Osmond, eh...

Aaron Osmond (43) is the oldest son of Virl and Chris Osmond of the famous Osmond Family of Utah

So before you go judging all of Utah because of this, just remember that one bad apple don't spoil the whole bunch...
posted by TedW at 11:55 AM on July 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


It seems like it would make more sense to make Parent-Teacher meetings mandatory, combined with compulsory employer cooperation akin to Jury Duty.

How about improving the lives of parents so they can afford the time to be involved with their children's education? How about giving people living wages, universal healthcare, and a helping hand should they suffer financial difficulties?
posted by RonButNotStupid at 11:55 AM on July 17, 2013 [6 favorites]


So.. given the options already out there I don't know what the asshole's point is.

To kick "problem children" from "problem families" out of school - it's to create and perpetuate an uneducated underclass. Generational poverty as a policy goal.
posted by Slap*Happy at 11:58 AM on July 17, 2013 [16 favorites]


This whole thread is a mishmash of sneer. Isn't possible to show disdain with better ideas? Denial of obvious problems with any system isn't a solution.

And that's because no one with any political power is actually interested in the "obvious problems" - kids struggling in school, broke schools, kids who don't have enough to eat, etc. People are interested in pretending that they care about the "obvious problem" while using it as leverage for their own distasteful political agendas. This whole conversation is meaningless without acknowledging that political conditions in which it happens.

For instance, consider welfare "reform" - oh, there sure was a problem with welfare, living on welfare is no kind of life. But frankly, it's even less of a kind of life when you take away welfare. The people who were anti-welfare had no fucking interest in the "problem" of welfare, they just used it as a decoy so that they could attack poor folks*. (Remember how much resistance there was to tracking the fates of all those who were kicked off welfare? If ending welfare was such an awesome idea, surely it would have been even better to show how successful it was by showing the ex-recipients bootstrapping their way into success, right? But the folks who were anti-welfare knew that this would never happen and they didn't want hard numbers floating around.)

*Honestly, I wonder how many percentage points of economic downturn since the late nineties are because that money isn't being spent in the old way and we've lost the multiplier effect? And how much is because there's more desperate people looking for work, pushing wages down?
posted by Frowner at 11:59 AM on July 17, 2013 [20 favorites]


From a certain perspective a proposal like this can make perfect sense. A compulsory educational regime brings with it a lot of overhead, administrative and legal issues, funding problems, and other things.

So it can work, although I'm sure the senator is mindful that several other changes to government policy will be needed to harmonize with it.

The prerequisites for a workable implementation of this policy are income equality, increased worker productivity, and equality of opportunity. Let's talk about them one at a time.

Income equality means income distributions are relatively flat. Part of this is necessary to help ensure equality of opportunity as education becomes more fee-for-service and free-market. It also helps ensure that almost all households can meet basic needs without sacrificing their children's education. A basic guaranteed income may be helpful here, and has the benefits from a conservative perspective of not discouraging work, of helping moot a great deal of other workplace legislation dealing with interpersonal relations (as the employer no longer has as much leverage over workers' livelihoods), and of making it easier to maintain long-term educational plans even in the face of job changes, industry shifts, and financial crashes.

Increased productivity grants workers free time by shortening the work week. Less hard-working parents are freed to engage in educational and other interactions with their children. At a more basic level, the greater presence of parents at home provides a stabler environment for the child and, because of that, reduces distractions. Take over all industries, increased productivity also means more children can be taught by the same number of professional teachers and tutors, or that fewer of them will be needed for existing numbers of pupils.

Equality of opportunity encompasses rather a lot, and so may be the most difficult. This point, judged against contemporary American society, means a large reduction in measures of non-meritocratic rewards, large reductions in demographic housing, economic, and cultural clustering, and a large relative decrease in the importance of existing social and professional networks to securing financing and gaining admissions. It would also include a rectification of certain disproportionalities in criminal penalties and an adjustment of prosecutorial discretion.

Really all these factors are interdependent, as one can see, eg, that income equality may both flow from and shore up equality of opportunity. Equality of opportunity also entails softening of barriers that may stem from perceptions of particular work-type value and social status.

I have not completely thought through this exercise, although it does seem to me the proposed educational policy could work well with these other concomitant changes. I suppose it comes down to which kind of regime voters would prefer.

I think it's natural to assume the full scope of needed policy changes will be put before the public. Certainly if I can touch on these issues in ten minutes then a group of educated and professional legislators and staffers can more fully describe the alterations and their ramifications, and in clear language.
posted by adoarns at 12:00 PM on July 17, 2013


Getting rid of a system altogether under the false pretense of helping people isn't a solution

I didn't imply it was. The lack of acknowledgement that a problem exists is what I implied.
posted by Mblue at 12:00 PM on July 17, 2013


I didn't imply it was. The lack of acknowledgement that a problem exists is what I implied.

What problem? Who isn't acknowledging it? Strawman? Yup.
posted by Slap*Happy at 12:03 PM on July 17, 2013 [6 favorites]


The people who were anti-welfare had no fucking interest in the "problem" of welfare, they just used it as a decoy so that they could attack poor folks

To borrow from another recent comment of mine, you have to remember we're talking about people who believe that poor people in America during the second decade of the 21st century owning a refrigerator, television, stove and oven, microwave, and air-conditioning are living lives of decadent luxury they don't really deserve.
posted by zombieflanders at 12:05 PM on July 17, 2013 [12 favorites]


This is all well and good, but to really make it sing we need to give a tax credit per child not entered into the public education system. That's how to build a permanent underclass.
posted by Navelgazer at 12:08 PM on July 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


What problem? Who isn't acknowledging it? Strawman? Yup.

Not to mention a lovely little mixture of a goalpost fallacy and anti-intellectual pseudo-populism. ("You liberals think you're so smart; tell me how to fix this problem this instant! You say it's complicated? Well, then clearly my proposal is beyond reproach until you've submitted yours." Etc. etc.)
posted by fifthrider at 12:09 PM on July 17, 2013 [7 favorites]


I wonder which nuthouse think tank came up with this idea? There's no way something as Machiavellian as this sprang fully-formed from this guy's head. I really wish the cowards would just come straight out and push for the elimination of public education, instead of trotting-out these thinly-veiled Trojan horses.
posted by Thorzdad at 12:10 PM on July 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Frowner: "No, the point isn't that this dude is thinking of the homeschoolers; he's thinking of the various damaged families where the kids already aren't getting to school a lot of the time, and trying to figure out a way to say that the state does not have to educate them at all. He's probably trying to angle for some legal way of saying that the state doesn't have to provide for disabled kids either. His goal here is obviously that anyone who either finds it hard to get to school (because their family is poor or dysfunctional) or is cripplingly poorly served by the school that actually exists will just stay home and do without an education (possibly under the guise of "homeschooling" when it's known full-well that the parents in the situation can't actually provide the needed resources). And he knows full well that a lot of those people will be people of color and virtually all of them will be poor. He can't actually say "I don't want to bother educating black people, and I don't really like it when they have educations anyway", but he can strive for a legal measure which will prevent as many people of color as possible from accessing education."

This could not have been said better.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 12:11 PM on July 17, 2013 [5 favorites]


Complaining that there's no reliable way to improve the school results of low-income/underprivileged youth while refusing to address poverty is like saying there's no reliable way to stop an avalanche from halfway down the mountain.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 12:13 PM on July 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


What problem? Who isn't acknowledging it? Strawman? Yup.

Or misdirection. We could trade language and argue about definitions, but that would be threadjacking, so I'll concede first. Have at it.
posted by Mblue at 12:13 PM on July 17, 2013


How about improving the lives of parents so they can afford the time to be involved with their children's education? How about giving people living wages, universal healthcare, and a helping hand should they suffer financial difficulties?

I totally agree, in a perfect world... But mandatory involvement would still be a good place to start.

I know working class and above parents who have the living wages and healthcare I believe you are speaking of, but just aren't as involved in their children's education and school life, simply because it's considered the job of the teachers and administrators, and home life is for fun, play time.
posted by Debaser626 at 12:14 PM on July 17, 2013


Conservatives, deathly afraid of the "educated elite" boogeyman, seek to create it.
posted by jason_steakums at 12:18 PM on July 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Compulsory public education is a cornerstone of our democracy. As Madison says in Federalist #10:
By a faction, I understand a number of citizens, whether amounting to a majority or a minority of the whole, who are united and actuated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adversed to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community.

There are two methods of curing the mischiefs of faction: the one, by removing its causes; the other, by controlling its effects.
Madison notes the impossibility of removing the causes of faction, but a compulsory school where diverse children learn together is, I think, one important way in which we control the effects of factionalism, even as troubled and in need of reform (and more funding) as public education is in many places in the US today.
posted by audi alteram partem at 12:21 PM on July 17, 2013 [5 favorites]


What a sack of shit. More evidence that the entire point of conservatism is finding more ways to be selfish.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 12:25 PM on July 17, 2013 [6 favorites]


...but a compulsory school where diverse children learn together is, I think, one important way in which we control the effects of factionalism...

IT'S THE LIBRUL INDOCTRINTASHUN CAMPS
posted by fifthrider at 12:25 PM on July 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Since this is "austerity" (education is a large part of state-level government spending) in one of its more devious forms, I guess it's time to introduce the sad reality that austerity is--and I only wish I was exaggerating--killing babies, encouraging child abuse, and helping children get poisoned by lead.

I would say Jesus wept, but I imagine even he is running low on tears by now.
posted by zombieflanders at 12:27 PM on July 17, 2013 [5 favorites]


Zombieflanders, as Max Von Sydow so well said the words of Woody Allen in Hannah and her Sisters: "If Jesus came back and saw what's going on in his name, he'd never stop throwing up."
posted by mephron at 12:30 PM on July 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


It's about time someone... Wait what?
posted by sp160n at 12:31 PM on July 17, 2013


Soon we'll ALL finally be free from the horrors of education, healthcare, living wages, inalienable rights, trust, empathy, trees, clean air, potable drinking water, infrastructure, public transportation, democracy, the commons...the future is bright indeed!
posted by nikoniko at 12:32 PM on July 17, 2013 [10 favorites]


In a country founded on the principles of personal freedom and unalienable rights, no parent should be forced by the government to send their child daughter to school under threat of fines and jail time.

Be interesting to know what proportion of the 8% who don't get sent to kindergarten are girls.
posted by jamjam at 12:35 PM on July 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


At this point, maybe the only way to really get away from these terrible policy decisions is to let them happen. Sure, let's make them happen at the state level and then 5 years later when Utah is at the bottom of the rankings of education we can say "welp, there go those Republicans breaking everything again." It'll be horseshit for the people living there, but culturally the US isn't so diffuse that moving states is as hard as, say, going from France to Germany. Of course it will be hard and brutal on the poor, but we need to play the long game here. If this means that progressives in the next presidential election will point to this moron and say "This. This right here is what will happen if you elect right wing reactionaries. We can't have these dangerous, terrible, broken ideas allowed on the national stage. Because they're dumb. And they don't work." then the White House will stay safe for decades.

Hopefully in a few years normal people will start moving out of these right wing havens and the "silent majority" will start eating it's own.
posted by ishrinkmajeans at 12:36 PM on July 17, 2013


Perhaps Utah should just stop beating around the bush and get on with the process of relinquishing statehood entirely and going back to being a U.S. administered territory.
posted by Naberius at 12:37 PM on July 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


This whole thread is a mishmash of sneer. Isn't possible to show disdain with better ideas? Denial of obvious problems with any system isn't a solution.

I didn't imply it was. The lack of acknowledgement that a problem exists is what I implied.


Republicans have a history of conflating social problems (e.g., poverty) with the programs designed to deal in some way with those problems (e.g., welfare). So when a Republican says that there's a problem relating to something like education, that usually means they're trying to defund a publicly-funded social good that helps poor/marginalized people.

This is why coyly hinting at "a problem" and suggesting that others should agree that "a problem" exists comes across as disingenuous and vexing. Whatever you think the problem is, just come out and say it. It seems suspicious when someone tries to forge a consensus without stating their position.
posted by clockzero at 12:39 PM on July 17, 2013 [22 favorites]


Isn't possible to show disdain with better ideas?

we already have a better idea - it's called free mandatory public education - and in spite of its flaws, history has already demonstrated that it is superior to mass ignorance and illiteracy and much preferable to barbarism

which, if you haven't heard, is something civilizations are supposed to fight against
posted by pyramid termite at 12:40 PM on July 17, 2013 [15 favorites]


Of course it will be hard and brutal on the poor, but we need to play the long game here.

Speak for yourself.

Some of us are the poor. It will be hard and brutal for us.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 12:41 PM on July 17, 2013 [13 favorites]


I'm pretty well-versed in the nonsense that Republicans try to pull in their various and sundry attempts to further the pursuit and embrace of a permanent underclass, but this one made my blood run cold. I can't put my thoughts together enough to try to be wise, informational, or pithy. I'm just sad.

So as much as I'd like to spout some generalized outrage, instead, I'll make a list of what my compulsory public school education gave me (besides, y'know, an education):
*** FREE FOOD ***
* a place to escape, however temporarily, a remotely-located rural household headed by psychologically and physically abusive parents who did not, for the duration of my educational career, give a single flying fuck whether or not I went to school, ever
* exposure to other kids and their families, which helped me realize that the situation I was living in was not exactly standard-issue
* counselors and teachers who repeatedly stepped up and called CPS on my behalf after I felt comfortable and protected enough to tell them what was going on
* the ability to be perceived, however inaccurately, as "smart"/"precocious" -- my first grade teacher recommended that I should be skipped ahead directly to third grade, my elementary school let me do it even though my parents never signed the permission slip, and while third grade wasn't challenging either, advancing like that did indeed appear to give my future teachers the impression that I should not be underestimated or dismissed just because I was poor
* as long as school was in session, I always knew where my next meal was coming from
* books, so many wonderful books I would have never been able to read if I was stuck at home
* confidence that I could take on the world armed only with my reading comprehension skills
* did I mention the free food? because when your shitty parents are legally compelled to make sure you go to school, and you know you can get there because the school bus picks you up and takes you there, you can rest safe in the knowledge that you will get at least one meal per day, gratis, and it is such a relief

No matter how untenable or ridiculous proposals like "let's get rid of compulsory education" sound at face value, I find the practice of shining a light on these tactics and the people who work to advance them to be of the utmost importance. They're trying to eliminate the most basic foundations of society and in doing so, they are banking on citizens of other states ignoring small-time machinations like this in hopes that their sad little Galtian revolutions will have taken hold and begun to flourish before the rest of us even started paying attention. We need to work to make sure that doesn't happen.
posted by divined by radio at 12:42 PM on July 17, 2013 [100 favorites]


And there will be lots of hemming and lots of hawing and eventually they'll arrive at a compromise. The most patently offensive parts of the bill will disappear but the shorter school year will remain and slashing free lunches will remain. And the next year, when someone tries to get additional funding to public schools to undo the damage, it will be seen as a fringe socialist effort, and even people on the left will say, "Yes, that would be nice, but we have a bigger fight to fight over here. Look, they're slashing (public transportation/state parks/the police force). And that issue will result in another compromise - enough stripped out to make the left happy, but the real goal of cutting spending stays intact.

And this is how public infrastructure dies. Good job with it, Utah. But California beat you at it when we basically made it illegal to raise taxes.
posted by roll truck roll at 12:49 PM on July 17, 2013 [9 favorites]


At this point, maybe the only way to really get away from these terrible policy decisions is to let them happen.

This is like saying that the best way to deal with a determined military foe is to allow them to invade, which will make the populace so angry that they'll rise up and repel them. After they've been conquered and subjugated.

The problem is that legislation like this is designed with the long game in mind, too, and the game here is the downstream effects of destroying the public school system. Allowing this to happen will strengthen the coalitions which come up with this stuff, not weaken them.

Also, and I can't quite believe this needs to be pointed out, but I think that supporting bad legislation is maybe not the best way to defeat it. I mean, there's contrarianism, and then there's out-and-out perversity.
posted by clockzero at 12:49 PM on July 17, 2013 [16 favorites]


I think the most important part was the part that has largely been over looked, his statement that "parental rights" include the right to deny a child education.

Conservatism is, at heart, about establishing and maintaining a social hierarchy; in government, in business and outside society, and most especially in the home. That last being true line in the sand territory. The idea that children might have rights and legitimate interests of their own, and that parental (by which they typically mean "paternal") rights over children are not absolute is deeply repugnant to conservatives.

We see this reflected in the nearly unthinking terror and hatred held for Child Protective Services among conservatives (visit any conservative leaning discussion board and you will find this hatred/fear of CPS everywhere you look), even (and perhaps especially) among conservatives who either have no children of their own, or are in a position where a visit from CPS is all but impossible. The root of this is a deep philosophic belief that parental rights are *absolute*, that there is no significant difference between "my child" and "my car".

The idea of children having rights of their own is simply incomprehensible. You'll note that there has been an upsurge in talk among conservatives in the idea that liberals believe children are the property of the state because liberals endorese the idea that children may have interests and rights of their own. To the conservative this is taken to mean that liberals advocate for children to be property of the state, because to the conservative the idea that children are property is so deeply rooted.

I'd argue that it is the desire of this person to see parental (which is to say, father's) rights made absolute that inspired this, that it intersects with a desire for lower taxes is nice, but not central.

It is exactly for the purpose of removing non-parental supervision and monitoring of children that this is proposed. He doesn't want teachers seeing signs of abuse or neglect, as that infringes on the absolute right of parents (fathers) to do as they wish with their children with no limits at all. From his POV teachers finding abuse is a bug, not a feature.
posted by sotonohito at 12:50 PM on July 17, 2013 [24 favorites]


Are you having trouble understanding why this is happening? I'll give you a hint:

WAR IS PEACE
FREEDOM IS SLAVERY
IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH
posted by double block and bleed at 12:50 PM on July 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


Can't you homeschool in Utah?
If not, I'd opine that this is what it is actually about.
If so, then they already have freedom in education, no?
posted by Bovine Love at 12:52 PM on July 17, 2013


Within 50 years we will see children under the age of 16 working again. It will be called something like "Vocational schooling" and they will learn stuuf on the job, but still, working.
posted by marienbad at 12:56 PM on July 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


This whole thread is a mishmash of sneer. Isn't possible to show disdain with better ideas?

Not dismantling universal education is a better idea than dismantling it.
posted by Artw at 12:59 PM on July 17, 2013 [13 favorites]


Everyone else has pointed out the obvious reasons (taxes, keepin' down the poors and nonwhites, etc.) for this kind of thing.

But as with the ALEC-sponsored war on uteruses, the real motivations...as in, what kind of hatred do you have to feel for those lower down the ladder than you to invest all this time and energy in doing this...continue to elude me.

Passively hating the poor, I get--you don't know any of them, you think they're lazy, you're ignorant and shallow, whatever. You ignore them or exploit them, but mostly prefer not to think of them.

But this active war on anything and everything that helps the 99%, even when the result is a less-profitable, less-safe society, by people who will never ever run out of resources, requires a depth of hatred and energy and organized attack that drives one to break the Godwin rule. Is it actually that there are only a few people driving it, but they have so much money that they are able to make a huge impact? But it's gone on for decades now.

What is it about a poor child receiving a mediocre school lunch--or a woman getting a discount on the birth control pills that allow her not to have too many kids-- that makes a person of extreme wealth so fucking angry?
posted by emjaybee at 1:02 PM on July 17, 2013 [18 favorites]


At this point, maybe the only way to really get away from these terrible policy decisions is to let them happen.

No. No, that is not the only way.

Other ways include: talking, arguing, calling, testifying, voting, volunteering. These ways do not require the sacrificing of children and poor people on the altar of See I Told You So.
posted by rtha at 1:03 PM on July 17, 2013 [22 favorites]


Just to offer a slightly less rosy view of the compulsory public school: It was more of a prison with a library for me. Dumb administrators, authoritarian teachers and arbitrary rules. When you're not interested in acing every test, therefore not really part of the "gifted" clique, you are not such a priority, and it's a different experience.

However, I still think it was better than the alternative (no education (or breakfast) at all). Just like welfare, I'd love to not need it at all, and it has drawbacks, but the reality of the human condition requires it. Homeschooling is not an alternative for most, even if their parent(s) didn't suck.

What amazes me is that these people are so detached from other human beings that they think this is a reasonable proposal. I can understand if someone doesn't quite clue into others perspectives -- maybe you're rich and don't totally understand what poor people go though. Fine. But this is actively punitive. I guess I shouldn't be surprised, but I guess I still maintain a bit of naiveté and humanity continually disappoints.
posted by smidgen at 1:05 PM on July 17, 2013


If you want my perspective as a conservative who agreed with his proposal:

He is just trying to reverse the horrible anti-human idea of the last century that the government is there to provide for people and to take care of people. When a government can state that these are valid goals, it leads to onerous taxes, onerous regulations, and the government being involved in every aspect of our lives.

Conservatives such as myself don't want to oppress people. We do not consider the lack of government services to be oppression. We simply want a government that sticks to the basic purposes of a government - military to deter threats to the country, police to deter threats to individuals, criminal laws and courts, diplomats, and a few other small things. When government goes beyond that, it becomes oppressive.

I've really come to see how deluded liberals are, calling conservatives selfish and insane, for wanting limited government. I will never understand the thirst for collectivism that you all seem to have. It is hellish to me.
posted by JasonM at 1:05 PM on July 17, 2013 [3 favorites]



What is it about a poor child receiving a mediocre school lunch--or a woman getting a discount on the birth control pills that allow her not to have too many kids-- that makes a person of extreme wealth so fucking angry?


It's not really about the rich being angry, they just want more money, it's about getting the lower classes to fight amongst themselves - that school lunch is going to the "wrong" person, who doesn't deserve it.

Jay Gould: "I can hire one-half of the working class to kill the other half."
posted by The Whelk at 1:06 PM on July 17, 2013 [6 favorites]


But don't you see that your opinion is based on untested ideals, not facts on the ground? That the "compulsory" part of the public schooling has a reason to exist?
posted by smidgen at 1:07 PM on July 17, 2013


When a government can state that these are valid goals, it leads to onerous taxes, onerous regulations, and the government being involved in every aspect of our lives.

But the government isn't involved in every aspect of our lives.

We simply want a government that sticks to the basic purposes of a government

One of the basic purposes of government is providing education.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 1:07 PM on July 17, 2013 [20 favorites]


He is just trying to reverse the horrible anti-human idea of the last century that the government is there to provide for people and to take care of people.

Yes, that is what Goverment is for. There is literally no other reason for it to exist. Weirdly most humans see taking care of people as a good thing.
posted by Artw at 1:11 PM on July 17, 2013 [17 favorites]


Republicans seriously just want to repeal the twentieth century, don't they?
posted by edheil at 1:12 PM on July 17, 2013 [6 favorites]


Or to clarify, I don't think he idea that something is compulsory can be detached from what that thing is. The draft is different from public school is different from social security tax is different from a speed limit. These may have some relation, but it's just not as simple as "government bad".
posted by smidgen at 1:13 PM on July 17, 2013


Won't someone actually think about the children? Jesus on a pogo stick, what a crazy, cruel idea.
posted by jetlagaddict at 1:15 PM on July 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


I've really come to see how deluded liberals are, calling conservatives selfish and insane, for wanting limited government.

The implementation of limited government, as you are defining it, will significantly limit the opportunities for certain classes of the population (example: children of very bad parents) beyond what they already are. This is done largely to lighten the tax burden on those which are capable and competent. We define this as selfish.
posted by Bovine Love at 1:15 PM on July 17, 2013 [25 favorites]


He is just trying to reverse the horrible anti-human idea of the last century that the government is there to provide for people and to take care of people.

This is strident, unbearable tendentious gibberish.

When government goes beyond that, it becomes oppressive.

But government is not the only, nor the biggest source of oppression. Corporations oppress people when they buy off politicians and advance their own pecuniary interests (through monopolies, etc.) at the expense of citizens' well-being. Churches oppress people when they make a point of marginalizing those who are different from the majority; hell, the majority oppresses minorities all the damn time.

The problem with conservatives like you is that you pretend that you're against oppression, but you can't imagine it emanating from anything besides the federal government. That's why you're deluded and wrong.
posted by clockzero at 1:16 PM on July 17, 2013 [31 favorites]


I've really come to see how deluded liberals are, calling conservatives selfish and insane, for wanting limited government. I will never understand the thirst for collectivism that you all seem to have. It is hellish to me.

If I hadn't gone to a public school with a free lunch program, I would have gone hungry in the years after my father died--and my mother worked two jobs. I was 8. 8. I was a child. For me, starving, and forcing children to starve, seems far more hellish.

If you've never been poor, you'll probably never understand. But taking care of other people who need help and support is a good thing. A good thing.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 1:16 PM on July 17, 2013 [40 favorites]


I've really come to see how deluded liberals are, calling conservatives selfish and insane, for wanting limited government. I will never understand the thirst for collectivism that you all seem to have. It is hellish to me.

As a progressive, I don't think conservatives en masse are selfish or insane. I think their policies are mistaken and that those mistakes, if enacted in policy, exact human costs. Government that promotes the general welfare isn't collectivism. It is the people's safeguard against private interests that, when given leave, create hellish conditions like child labor.
posted by audi alteram partem at 1:16 PM on July 17, 2013 [10 favorites]


We simply want a government that sticks to the basic purposes of a government
The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;
--Article I, Section 8, Clause 1 of the United States Constitution

Providing for the general welfare is one of the basic purposes of government.
posted by Gelatin at 1:18 PM on July 17, 2013 [42 favorites]


I'm not really sure how my going-to-college-while-working-in-a-bar mom would've dealt with having a kid without compulsory education taking care of me for a set number of hours a day.
posted by The Whelk at 1:18 PM on July 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


That begins with restoring the parental right to decide if and when a child will go to public school.

Here's how you know this bill isn't at all about what Osmond is saying here: these rights already exist in the state.

Parents in Utah can send kids to a growing array of private and charter schools.

Parents in Utah can homeschool. I know people who do both.

What people in Utah cannot currently do is :

(a) completely fail to select an education option for their children
(b) completely avoid paying education-related taxes.

Making it possible to shirk these two responsibilities seems like the only specific things that Osmond's legislation could possibly accomplish.

Along with the general advancement of a no-public-commons philosophy, of course.

The fortunate thing is that as many crazy conservatives as there are in the state, there are also a lot of people who are enthusiastic and supportive of public education -- there may be a ton of ideologues who see public schools as socialism, but there's at least as many who participate in PTAs and see teachers and administrators as their partners and neighbors. You can see this in the outcome of the 2007 Utah referendum on school vouchers -- it lost by 25%. The funny thing about this is that the policy seemed almost sound enough. The supporters of vouchers might have even been able to win the day if their sheer contempt for public schools and especially for public school teachers hadn't come through and made people distrust the whole thing.

Hopefully this kind of talk will have a less successful and shorter career than even that referendum. And may the same be true for Osmond vs the rep he replaced.

Oh, and I'll say something else that's lazy and stereotypical, but someday I'd like to have some idea why real estate people in Utah are often special kinds of self-entitled assleeches when it comes to public policy. As soon as someone says "real estate entrepreneur", 95% of the time I don't need to know anything else to know heir politics are ideological and imbalanced, and it's amazing to me how often these people think of themselves as self-made from a career that usually relies on macro-fortunes in a market for a public commodity that's private, reasonably peaceful, and orderly only with a heavy dose of statism.
posted by weston at 1:18 PM on July 17, 2013 [10 favorites]


I've really come to see how deluded liberals are, calling conservatives selfish and insane, for wanting limited government. I will never understand the thirst for collectivism that you all seem to have. It is hellish to me.

Your oligarchic overlords don't want limited government - they want it to bail them out of their financial boondoggles, fight their wars for them, control uppity women, and keep the poor in line.

As usual, "limited government" is code for limiting the risks for the rich and keeping everyone else under control.
posted by Celsius1414 at 1:19 PM on July 17, 2013 [6 favorites]


We simply want a government that sticks to the basic purposes of a government

I don't know about Utah, but it's written right into the Washington State constitution: "It is the paramount duty of the state to make ample provision for the education of all children residing within its borders, without distinction or preference on account of race, color, caste, or sex."
posted by hades at 1:23 PM on July 17, 2013 [8 favorites]


I don't know about Utah,

Oh hey look!

Article X, Section 1. [Free nonsectarian schools.]

The Legislature shall provide for the establishment and maintenance of the state's education systems including: (a) a public education system, which shall be open to all children of the state; and (b) a higher education system. Both systems shall be free from sectarian control.
posted by rtha at 1:27 PM on July 17, 2013 [15 favorites]


I've really come to see how deluded liberals are, calling conservatives selfish and insane, for wanting limited government.

nature abhors a vacuum - if a democratically elected government doesn't run the show, someone else will

they will not be kind, responsive, representative or constructive

they will also not be YOU, they will be the people who use your half-baked philosophy to control everyone and everything they can

but they will tell you this is "freedom" and you will believe it, because they will give you a choice as to how you are enslaved and let you work your way up to better grades of slavery

they will not only buy your body, they will buy your mind and your soul and your ideals and you will love them for it, because they will do lip-service to your anti-collectivism
posted by pyramid termite at 1:27 PM on July 17, 2013 [10 favorites]


Providing for the general welfare is one of the basic purposes of government.

To be fair, it sounds like he's defining the Constitution as the Bill of Rights as it applies to white, land-owning males, as God originally intended. None of this piffling revisionist bullshit like abolishing slavery or granting any other people the right to vote or providing equal protection under the law. Fucking pinkos messin' it up for the rest of us.
posted by zombieflanders at 1:31 PM on July 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


I would also point out that we've already experimented with government that was closer to the conservative ideal, and it didn't work out so well.
posted by Gelatin at 1:33 PM on July 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


If you're going to start from the point of view that any government action is basically interference, and thus destruction of freedom, then having the government perform any action is going to require a cost/benefit analysis of some kind. You're willing to accept a gain to offset some amount of freedom loss through government interference.

That includes things like "military to deter threats to the country, police to deter threats to individuals, criminal laws and courts, diplomats, and a few other small things". So you've already decided it's OK to compromise your freedom for these things.

Saying "basic purposes" or "limited government" are empty terms. They don't say anything about what cost/benefit analysis you used to determine the set of things you find acceptable or even what you consider "basic" or "limited".

So the question just circles back around to what's your cost-benefit analysis and why education wouldn't cut the mustard in that analysis. What freedom is such a great loss here that it's not counter-balanced by the gains in freedom and prosperity made possible by compulsory education?
posted by delicious-luncheon at 1:35 PM on July 17, 2013 [22 favorites]


The rich just want a government limited enough to control.
posted by The Whelk at 1:37 PM on July 17, 2013 [7 favorites]


Of course this is in Utah. I'm sure it's a lot easier to keep your child bride out of the public eye if she's not expected at school, and isn't educated at all. It's like HomeSchooling++.
posted by Xyanthilous P. Harrierstick at 1:49 PM on July 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


I'm of two minds about this.

On the one hand, I have some barely literate cousins who would probably be completely illiterate if school weren't compulsory. They were raised to believe that "school's for sissies" and by the time they were teenagers, their mom was pretty much writing them notes to stay home every day- she didn't xare at all if they skipped; she and their father actively encouraged it.

On the other hand, public school systems tend to be so fucked up and damaging.

Anyways. I wonder if a) this man who is so concerned that parents should have total responsibility of all aspects of their childrens' care is also pro-choice

b) he is in favour of putting children back in the work force

c) he has actually thought through the logical conclusions to his stated beliefs, or just has a disjointed jumble of various opinions that have never been adequately examined.
posted by windykites at 2:07 PM on July 17, 2013


public school systems tend to be so fucked up and damaging.

The broke, underfunded ones are.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 2:10 PM on July 17, 2013 [11 favorites]


Wait wait if these poor, innocent children aren't forced to go to school then nobody will bother to inflict evil autism-causing vaccines on them it all makes sense now
posted by windykites at 2:14 PM on July 17, 2013


I went to public school in a decent system. It wasn't perfect, but I had some really good teachers and got a good basic education. My siblings were all C-D students and my parents were busy and not really into book stuff, so I doubt I would have learned about algebra, Beowulf, or metamorphic rocks without the kind attention of trained professionals, to name a few things. I went to a good college and got a degree, the first person in my immediate family to do so.

Without school, I'm not confident that would have happened.
posted by emjaybee at 2:15 PM on July 17, 2013 [4 favorites]


Apropos of very little except that I am always disheartened by the "let's knock the whole damn state because some of the people who live there are hateful or weird" thing, I would like to note my longstanding unabashed love of the phenomenally beautiful state of Utah.

Since the moment I set foot in Hurricane, almost half a lifetime ago, it instantly became my favorite place on earth, and I've desperately wanted to live there ever since. I still keep up with the local news in case I eventually get the chance, which is how this story came to my attention.
Nothing in the world has ever made me feel as awestruck, humble, and grateful to be alive as walking up to the entrance intending to traverse the peaks and canyons of Zion National Park and, later, flying home over Monument Valley and the Valley of the Gods. It's an overwhelming place, in the best possible way. (So much this.)

I know how much I flinch when people began to dismiss my own wonderful home state of Wisconsin following the takeover of our state government by vocal proponents of the Tea Party, so to all of my similarly situated Utahns out there: I hear you, I'm with you! Keep fighting the good fight!
posted by divined by radio at 2:17 PM on July 17, 2013 [11 favorites]


Apropos of very little except that I am always disheartened by the "let's knock the whole damn state because some of the people who live there are hateful or weird" thing, I would like to note my longstanding unabashed love of the phenomenally beautiful state of Utah.

As with Wisconsin, Texas, or any other state, it's not the state we're knocking, it's the people who run the government and/or control institutional power there.
posted by zombieflanders at 2:21 PM on July 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


...the closer we are to Idiocracy.
posted by Mental Wimp at 2:28 PM on July 17, 2013


Small limited government... unless it's your bedroom, and your doctor.

There literally are few to no politicians who actually believe in limited government. It is a lie they say when talking about certain things, when talking about other things government intrusion is a-ok. Government intrusion is bad.. unless you are homosexual, government intrusion is bad... unless you need an abortion(and in some cases contraception), government intrusion is bad... unless you are praying in Arabic on a plane... limited government is good ... unless we are talking military spending... limited government is good... unless we need more prisons. It is just different priorities.

If you truly hate the OMG collectivism I hope to hell you are not driving on our roads, you commie, you better not have a library card. you better not be in a rural area using the internet. I trust you are only going to take exactly what you paid into Soc Security and not a cent more. Are you set to do with an extremely scaled back Judicial system, ready to pay for your own fire company? Got a big family to take care of you when you are old?

Because essentially what the most ardent supporters of so called limited government are saying to everyone who is not wealthy or privileged is "I'm ok, you on te other hand can fuck the hell right off". Which I hope you are not a Christian, because that goes against it all.

I invite every single libertarian to pack up and move on to Somalia or the Western Sahara. Live your dream of no government intrusion, provide for yourself without fear Uncle Sam will lend a hand if you stumble. Please please also feel free to self-identify yourself wherever you go as well. Just don't shout in a shark attack, I'll be too busy trying to make up for your slack elsewhere.
posted by edgeways at 2:30 PM on July 17, 2013 [23 favorites]


Gotcha, zombieflanders -- my comment was all but entirely inspired by the "Of course this is in Utah" jab here, which gave me a sad in the same way that the "Of course this is in Texas" brigade did when SB5 came onto the scene.

On an unrelated note, I'd like to point out that my education past elementary school was relentlessly hellish, a hilarious non-stop shitshow of epic proportions that led to me being forced to drop out on the last day of my senior year, so I'm definitely not trying to rally the troops to cheerlead for all public schools everywhere forever and ever amen. I just think it's obscene and shameful that there are people in the world who desperately want to exchange the health, intelligence, and well-being of my fellow humans for some notional increment of "freedom." The myopia, it burns!
posted by divined by radio at 2:37 PM on July 17, 2013


Windykites: public school systems tend to be so fucked up and damaging.

MisantropicPainforest: "The broke, underfunded ones are."

I went to a well-funded middle-class suburban school system. I was consistently at the top of my class. And I love, love, love to learn, but school was hell. The experience has left me convinced that despite its purported purpose, compulsory schooling has less to do with the cultivation of kind, thoughtful, successful individuals than it claims. If anything, I learned despite the educational system, and at my most cynical, schools look like government funded day-care intended to inculcate a blind deference to authority and work habits appropriate for modern corporate capitalism.

Just my 2c.
posted by Wemmick at 2:44 PM on July 17, 2013 [4 favorites]



(a) completely fail to select an education option for their children
(b) completely avoid paying education-related taxes.


This nails it. "Compulsory" is a red herring.

I mostly feel sorry for folks whose conception of their own freedom and autonomy is primarily economic. I think they're the only people I'd be comfortable calling "pathetic". Maybe if their parents hadn't been so acquisitive and boring, their own schooling would have been better-funded and -executed and wouldn't have sucked so much and they'd be able to conceive of more interesting goals than excess wealth.

(I really hope not to spawn in the near future, but I'm happy to pay all kinds of educational taxes. I wish way more tax revenue was spent on education; swap the Departments of Education and Dystopian "Defensive" Measures in the pie chart, please. I wouldn't send any kids to a public school like the [comparatively good, minimally NCLB-addled, apparently] one I went to, but it's sufficiently important to everyone that strangers be educated that we should all be willing to spend money -- which is only ours in a shockingly abstract sense anyway, and only tangentially a facet of our in-principle freedom -- on massive improvement to the educational infrastrcuture.)
posted by kengraham at 2:50 PM on July 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


My public school experiences were fairly mixed, and as an adult my educational philosophies are closest to the Summerhill/Sudbury/anarchist free school models. But I realize that the kids that typically have access to alternative education models are also pretty wealthy (maybe that's why I didn't) and that the alternative to going to public school for most kids is not spending time in supportive and nurturing environments which foster natural creativity but rather intellectually and often literally impoverished homes where adults are in the workforce for most of the day, where they don't have books or art supplies or access to healthy food or even trees and some grass. So I'm not really sure what the answer is.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 2:50 PM on July 17, 2013 [4 favorites]


The US is wealthy. Very wealthy. Our public schools should be resourced and have outcomes as good as the best private schools in the land. Good education for the populace is an investment, not an expense. This forty-year drive by the wing-nut right to defund public education is the most misguided ideological witchhunt they've ever devised.

I just can't wrap my head around what they want the US to look like. Dickensian London?
posted by Mental Wimp at 2:59 PM on July 17, 2013 [12 favorites]


School may be badly done in many places, but compulsory school has raised the literacy (and numeracy) level in this country by an incredible amount. Even a poor teacher has given you a great gift if they've managed to teach you to read and do math. A bad school from which you learn those things is still better than no school at all.

Anyone who wants to simply discard this great achievement has, right off the bat, demonstrated their ignorance of history and/or hostility to even the most basic principles of equality. To be illiterate is to be locked out of any chance, however slim, of social mobility in this country. It is to be locked out of almost every kind of self-learning, political discourse, or self-improvement. It is to be even more vulnerable to abuse and predation by those who know you depend on them to tell you what you can't research for yourself.

There's a reason slaves were often forbidden to learn to read and write.
posted by emjaybee at 3:01 PM on July 17, 2013 [22 favorites]


Hey now... he's just trying to build the base.
posted by prepmonkey at 3:06 PM on July 17, 2013


Nature has gone to considerable trouble to arrange the rocks in that state in many very interesting ways....

my mom used to refer to formations like standing rock as "Brigham's Penis"
posted by Dr. Twist at 3:15 PM on July 17, 2013


My late, lamented Uncle Paul said something to me I will never forget. He said, "When you're talking to a rich man whose idea of the right thing just so happens to put more money in his pockets, you can be pretty sure you're talking to an asshole."
posted by DirtyOldTown at 3:24 PM on July 17, 2013 [23 favorites]


kengraham: "I mostly feel sorry for folks whose conception of their own freedom and autonomy is primarily economic."

I'm not sure if I've been living under a rock, but lately I keep encountering "libertarians" who would be in favor of monarchy as long as it led to a laissez faire economy. As in, they literally say that. Democracy is "mob rule" and sometimes you need a strong arm to keep things "free".

It find it mind boggling that someone would define "freedom" so shallowly.
posted by brundlefly at 3:46 PM on July 17, 2013 [5 favorites]


Sure, let's make them happen at the state level and then 5 years later when Utah is at the bottom of the rankings of education we can say "welp, there go those Republicans breaking everything again."

But what about the predominantly Republican states that already are at the bottom of the rankings? The bottom of the educational rankings in the US tends to be Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, and maybe Arkansas or Tennessee. All red states. And yet nobody in the mainstream seems to be taking the tack that Republicans can't be tasked with managing anything in government. In fact, despite the well documented "bottom of the rankings" position of red states in almost anything people consider an important public good (education, literacy, infant mortality, obesity, high tech jobs, etc), a solid 50% of the country actively wants them to run the government at the federal level.

We don't need to disenfranchise a whole generation of kids to "prove" that Republican policies are failures.
posted by Sara C. at 4:02 PM on July 17, 2013 [10 favorites]


What I don't get about any of this is how, if this bill were passed, Utah would have a workforce at all within 20 years. I mean it's all well and good to create a permanent underclass, but there is the small question of the state economy.

I can't think of any industry big enough to float a state the size of Utah that would be able to use an illiterate workforce full of people who lack even the discipline to report to the same place at the same time every day.

Other states with dismal education rankings (despite mandatory schooling, I'm talking about states where public education sucks, but it does exist) have a hard time attracting business. Has Utah not thought this through to that extent?

I usually criticize the fact that the school system is mostly for training up workers, but in this case I think it's an active good in preserving at least some bare minimum level of compulsory schooling for all children.
posted by Sara C. at 4:09 PM on July 17, 2013 [6 favorites]


1. Restoring "the expectation that parents are primarily responsible for the educational success of their own children,"

We currently have an expectation that parents are responsible for feeding their children.
I therefore modestly propose that we cut food stamps and the school lunch program.
posted by sebastienbailard at 4:35 PM on July 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


Too late, that's a national push now.
posted by edgeways at 4:36 PM on July 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


We currently have an expectation that parents are responsible for feeding their children.
I therefore modestly propose that we cut food stamps and the school lunch program.


Oh, don't worry, the US House of Representatives is already on the case.
posted by zombieflanders at 4:37 PM on July 17, 2013


I'm not sure if I've been living under a rock, but lately I keep encountering "libertarians" who would be in favor of monarchy as long as it led to a laissez faire economy. As in, they literally say that. Democracy is "mob rule" and sometimes you need a strong arm to keep things "free".

Check out Democracy: The God That Failed. It's a daffy book, from a libertarian perspective, about how democracy is inferior to both anarcho-capitalism and monarchy.
posted by Sticherbeast at 4:51 PM on July 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


Is not one of the goals is for each State to be a laboratory, a place where things can be tried?

And is not part of trying also failing? Doesn't engineering have a chance to advance with every failure?

Let them try this. And out of the expected failure may the Military spend the kind of stupid money they do on weapon systems on a system for remedial education. Because the role of uneducated bullet sponge doesn't seem to be a short lived military career path anymore.

Perhaps this anticipated failure will provide the path to getting, say, the graduation rate up in, say, the public schools of Milwaukee WI. At least someone in Milwaukee is thinking about trying something different.

Go ahead Utah. Agree to this bold plan. Perhaps real education reform can occur from your bold failure.
posted by rough ashlar at 5:43 PM on July 17, 2013


but lately I keep encountering "libertarians" who would be in favor of monarchy as long as it led to a laissez faire economy.

Perhaps all they did was read the title of Good to be King and gave the topic no more thought?

(and with The Daily Bell now dead, them thar 'tarians need to go someplace...perhaps they'll come here?)
posted by rough ashlar at 5:47 PM on July 17, 2013


Is not one of the goals is for each State to be a laboratory, a place where things can be tried?


Within limits. There are certain ideas that do not pass muster, regardless of the states-as-laboratories idea.

I am not willing to sacrifice a generation of children on the altar of "part of trying is also failing."
posted by ambrosia at 5:53 PM on July 17, 2013 [5 favorites]


I am not willing to sacrifice a generation of children

Ahh yes, the "think of the children" argument.

There are so many ways the state (and more than a few parents) already fail children. 60% don't feel going to school and graduating matters in Milwaukee. Mandating going isn't helping in that situation. Other nations have apprenticeships. And the trend is to replace factory workers with robots - how many robot repairmen are going to be needed? Even farm labour of thinning plants and weeding now have the 1st robots doing that labour.

So what is the employment plan for the untrainable? Only so many ditches need digging and sanitation workers are needed. What is the social plan for the result of Utah's proposed grand scheme - because the 'thinking of the children' hasn't got a plan of meaningful work for the untrainable thus far.
posted by rough ashlar at 6:11 PM on July 17, 2013


Awesome. "Shit ain't perfect now so it doesn't matter if we fuck it up even more." What a policy.
posted by rtha at 6:51 PM on July 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Mandating going isn't helping in that situation.

It will help when business owners take their shit elsewhere going "we need people that can read, write and have a well rounded liberal arts education at a high school level".
posted by Talez at 6:55 PM on July 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Won't someone think of the children" is a common jokey response to things but unfortunately there are situations like this when the children literally aren't being thought of when it's critically important that they must be thought of. Just because it's a joke doesn't mean it's never an appropriate thing to say.
posted by bleep at 7:06 PM on July 17, 2013 [6 favorites]


I will never understand the thirst for collectivism that you all seem to have. It is hellish to me.

I will never understand the thirst for groupthink that you all seem to have. It is hellish to me.
posted by fuse theorem at 7:39 PM on July 17, 2013


Yeah, I think compulsory K-12 education is really the prime situation where we ought to be thinking of the children.
posted by Sara C. at 7:58 PM on July 17, 2013 [4 favorites]


Conservatives such as myself don't want to oppress people. We do not consider the lack of government services to be oppression. We simply want a government that sticks to the basic purposes of a government - military to deter threats to the country, police to deter threats to individuals, criminal laws and courts, diplomats, and a few other small things. When government goes beyond that, it becomes oppressive.

I've really come to see how deluded liberals are, calling conservatives selfish and insane, for wanting limited government. I will never understand the thirst for collectivism that you all seem to have. It is hellish to me.


I want our kids to get the same schooling as kids in the Scandinavian social democracies.

I think that some parent, say a black woman, the first in her family to go to university, with a kid in an underfunded and undermanned school, whose people have actually been fucking oppressed, would look at what you wrote, and would roll her eyes just a tiny little bit.

Go look at other countries, and then go look at our schools, and then, only then, speak to us of hell and oppression.
posted by sebastienbailard at 7:58 PM on July 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


We simply want a government that sticks to the basic purposes of a government

You say that until the economy dries up because nobody is actually qualified to have a job.

Education as a privilege for the elite died out during the industrial revolution.

The problem isn't that conservatives are selfish (though they are) it's also that they have delusions of being members of the antebellum planter elite.
posted by Sara C. at 8:16 PM on July 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


So what is the employment plan for the untrainable?

Universal healthcare.

Realistic parental leave.

Make sure poor children have their material needs met, whether through "welfare" or the (compulsory) public school system, whatever works better and sounds less like socialism to you.

Public schools the best they can possibly be.

College tuitions that are affordable or easily subsidized by non-usurious loans.

The employment plan will resolve itself when the "untrainable" turn out to not be so untrainable after all.
posted by Sara C. at 8:20 PM on July 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


This really reminds me of this one time in high school, when I was sent (unwillingly) to a summer program run by a a conservative organization, and in a discussion session one of the other students argued that we don't need public schools because there are private schools and homeschooling, and these will be sufficient because all parents love their children.

Of course, the fact that she was like 16 years old and not an elected official is a bit of a difference between the two situations.
posted by naoko at 8:38 PM on July 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah, this whole thing is so much like something one of the more ignorant religious/conservative kids would have floated in 9th grade civics class.
posted by Sara C. at 8:40 PM on July 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


marienbad: “Within 50 years we will see children under the age of 16 working again. It will be called something like "Vocational schooling" and they will learn stuuf on the job, but still, working.”
Thank God I'll be dead.
posted by ob1quixote at 9:29 PM on July 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


For whatever reason, some of the talk here reminded me of this piece from Real Time with Bill Maher: Real Time Interviews NJ Tea Partiers Who Can't Name Which Government Programs Should Be Cut
posted by ob1quixote at 10:45 PM on July 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Utah already ranks 50th out of 50 states in teacher/staff pay, at $5,150 per student per year. The US average is $8,650, and New York is first at $15,800. If you normalize by the average wage in the state, Utah is even worse at the equivalent of $4,650, in a class by itself behind Colorado, which pays a normalized $6,350.

Oddly, Wyoming is fourth place, in raw dollars or normalized ($13,200, $11,905). It's the only Western state that funds its schools better than the U.S. average.

I should probably post my full analysis somewhere, if anyone cares.
--
This is based on U.S. Government data from 2011, which is the most recent year for which I could get complete data.
posted by Hello Dad, I'm in Jail at 3:27 AM on July 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oddly, Wyoming is fourth place, in raw dollars or normalized ($13,200, $11,905). It's the only Western state that funds its schools better than the U.S. average.

Wyoming is an odd case because it has such a small population (smallest in the U.S. I believe, and second only to Alaska in low population density) but also has so much money from mining and oil. Another pseudo-progressive factoid about Wyoming is that they were the first state to give women the vote (my relatives who live there dryly comment that that was a bid to bring in wives for miners) and elect a woman governor.
posted by aught at 5:48 AM on July 18, 2013


Republicans seriously just want to repeal the twentieth century, don't they?

Corey Robin says in The Reactionary Mind that part of the conservative worldview is the idea that the Left has been in charge since the French Revolution, if not the Reformation, and consequently that the world has been going to hell in a handbasket since then.
posted by acb at 7:16 AM on July 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


Republicans seriously just want to repeal the twentieth century, don't they?

More and more, Republicans seem like they want to regress to the Middle Ages. Medieval Americans, my brother calls them.
posted by Mental Wimp at 7:52 AM on July 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


"THE COMMONWEALTH REQUIRES THE EDUCATION OF THE PEOPLE AS THE SAFEGUARD OF ORDER AND LIBERTY"

-Etched in stone on the side of the Boston Public Library.
posted by OldReliable at 8:10 AM on July 18, 2013 [8 favorites]


I for one am sick and tired of these liberal intellectuals in their ivory towers trying to corrupt our kids with their "bronze" tools. My father used stone, I've always used stone, and my boy would have used stone if he hadn't been eaten by a dire wolf as a toddler.

Don't be afraid of bronze! Bronze is brilliant!
posted by gern at 8:49 AM on July 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


Maybe my control-F is broken, but why is no one asking the most important question: How is this guy related to Donny and Marie?
posted by Mchelly at 9:08 AM on July 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Corey Robin says in The Reactionary Mind that part of the conservative worldview is the idea that the Left has been in charge since the French Revolution, if not the Reformation, and consequently that the world has been going to hell in a handbasket since then.

Sweet Jesus. I'm sure all of our worldviews are to some extent predicated on factual inaccuracies, but this means that there are people who either base their worldviews on five-minute-Wikipediation-refutable ideas or on definitions of the word "Left" broad enough to include, uhm, every person who's ever held power and been called "right-wing". It would be interesting to pick a random US-backed Latin American dictator of recent history, for example, and ask someone they murdered to what extent the "Left" was in charge.

(On the other hand (even if you could query a dead person), these folks, if USese, wouldn't think to do that since, being products of US schools, they might not be able to pick a random US-backed Latin American dictator.)
posted by kengraham at 9:12 AM on July 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


How is this guy related to Donny and Marie?

Marie's a little bit country, Donny's a little bit rock and roll, Aaron is a little bit Carmina Burana while a city burns in the background as fire demons feast on the living and the dead.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:22 AM on July 18, 2013 [8 favorites]


> Aaron is a little bit Carmina Burana while a city burns in the background as fire demons feast on the living and the dead.

If Aaron Osmond thinks Carmina Burana is absolutely dead on right for that kind of thing, that makes him dead on right about something. (Considering how Carmina Burana-ish the Schwarzenegger Conan sound track is, I'm guessing John Milius and Basil Poledouris have noticed too.) ESTUANS INTERIUS IRA VEHEMENTI!fhtagn
posted by jfuller at 10:01 AM on July 18, 2013


marienbad: "Within 50 years we will see children under the age of 16 working again."

In at least some states, the minimum age of employment is 14, but the restrictions on when and how much they can work are quite strict.

smidgen: "Just to offer a slightly less rosy view of the compulsory public school: It was more of a prison with a library for me. Dumb administrators, authoritarian teachers and arbitrary rules. When you're not interested in acing every test, therefore not really part of the "gifted" clique, you are not such a priority, and it's a different experience. "

This is so variable between and even within individual schools that making generalizations is bound to fail. Personally, I got plenty of attention both when I was acing every test and when I decided that school work was for boobs and found myself not present even when I was present. When I decided to quit high school, precisely zero of the teachers or administrators had ever seen me do good work, but they almost all, even the ones I hated and that seemed not to like me much at all, tried to convince me to stay in school. Went out of their way in their attempts, even.

Granted, a kid who is nothing but trouble (or likely in many places, of the wrong race) rather than just passively ignoring everything said to him/her will probably not get that sort of effort made. These days those are the sort of kids that get arrested and expelled, thanks to the wonder of "resource officers." (aka cops there mainly to arrest kids..cops arrest, it's what they do) Back when I was in school, they actually had to call the police, who took time to arrive, so rarely did kids get thrown in jail for something they did at school short of severely beating or stabbing someone or maybe selling drugs at school.
posted by wierdo at 10:16 AM on July 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


It would be interesting to pick a random US-backed Latin American dictator of recent history, for example, and ask someone they murdered to what extent the "Left" was in charge.

Well, in the eyes of the conservatives Robin mentioned, right-wing revanchist movements such as the various US-backed dictatorships in Latin America would be brave attempts to right wrongs, restoring hierarchies and chains of fealty (such as those that bound peasants in Latin America to land and its owners at the start of this century).

I have actually met a Hobbesian conservative who contended that the greatest tragedy in history was that the Catholic Church no longer wielded the absolute power it did in the Middle Ages. Because back then, you see, power trickled down from Leviathan, and when everyone obeyed their master, all was right with the world.
posted by acb at 11:17 AM on July 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


I grew up wealthy (comparatively speaking) in Washington, DC...the child of two Reagan conservatives who worked in government and the conservative private sector. The family fell apart in the early 90s and with much of the money gone so too went the conservative worldview...but I certainly spent my teenage years as a conservative before spending part of my college years as a Libertarian. I tend to be a thorough person, and I did the reading. Nowadays I think my views align most closely with democratic socialism...but I certainly understand the conservative and libertarian viewpoint, having spent a good deal of time in those circles...

When I was younger, I felt very strongly that conservatives were the Reasonable ones and the Realists. The ones with the data and the evidence. Their policies might seem harsh, but the underlying data suggested a counter-intuitive benefit that Liberal people were simply too emotionally clouded or uneducated to fully comprehend. (This counter-intuitive benefit of seemingly harsh policies seems to be the very bedrock of most libertarian ideologies).

It now seems almost self-evident that nothing could be further from the truth when one actually takes the time to examine the effects of conservative policy in reality. You can read Rothbard, Rand, von Mises, Hayek / Chicago School, Friedman etc. all you want but if you actually study the history of reality...and not steep in the vacuum of theory...the numbers tell a different story.


He is just trying to reverse the horrible anti-human idea of the last century that the government is there to provide for people and to take care of people. When a government can state that these are valid goals, it leads to onerous taxes, onerous regulations, and the government being involved in every aspect of our lives.


I understand the real concern of government creep...but the fatal assumption in your thought process is that the government is somehow SEPARATE from the people. That they are a monolithic entity that somehow came into being at some late stage. In the United States, for most of its history, the government IS the people. Granted this point can be debated now that our government is arguably owned by corporations and lobbyists and does not necessarily cater to those without extraordinary means.

Conservatives such as myself don't want to oppress people. We do not consider the lack of government services to be oppression. We simply want a government that sticks to the basic purposes of a government - military to deter threats to the country, police to deter threats to individuals, criminal laws and courts, diplomats, and a few other small things. When government goes beyond that, it becomes oppressive.

These basic purposes of government were not the basic purposes of government as defined by our countries founders - but the purposes of government as defined and grafted on by largely Libertarian ideologues post WWII. Furthermore, reducing government to these bare minimals *might* work IF our country had a baseline income equality. While well-off white folks who are moderately self-reliant (but who still rely on government far more than they realize through benefit of roads, the EPA, the FDA, Federal Grants that have spurred the growth of technology they use and of infrastructure they take advantage of, a baseline educated populace, and countless municipal services, etc.) might do ok once the government was stripped down, you still have the reality that a vast segment of the population, quite possibly a majority of the population would not be able to get by without the services you and your cohort wish to see eliminated (we have a Gini Coefficient of 47.7 for chrissake!).

Services that, by the way, were democratically enabled solutions to problems that society realized were problems in the past (See FDA, EPA, USDA and history in general). I understand you consider this to be a 'culture of dependency' which is fine...but unless conservatives have a solution for how you transition to a bare-bones government without exacerbating income inequality and potentially leading to a poor and revolutionary underclass...I'm not sure how we can take them seriously.

I've really come to see how deluded liberals are, calling conservatives selfish and insane, for wanting limited government. I will never understand the thirst for collectivism that you all seem to have. It is hellish to me.

Please stop using the term "collectivism" if you want to be taken seriously. It stinks of tired batshit Ayn Rand drivel. No one in serious progressive circles is advocating soviet-style collective ownership of the means of production or unbending priority of 'the group' over 'the individual.' To suggest otherwise is hyperbolic and should be kept in the college common-room. Homo sapiens sapiens is an ape, and by definition is a "social species" in that we form groups. To deny that there are times when group policies need to be considered over individual desires is what is insane, and why conservatives seem insane (George Washington mandated his entire continental army get inoculated for smallpox...it was not a choice, and was an example, albeit a poor one, of a 'collectivist' decision that benefited all individuals involved...even if they bitched and moaned about it like conservatives do today) . The trick is in deciding *when* to prioritize the group over the individual and to act in such a way as to keep an eye on that government creep you are so worried about - and our country has had a history of doing a pretty good job over this.

At any rate, this Utah thing is a sad assault on the, now liberal, concept of "the common good." To not do a cost-benefit analysis and see how a more educated populace, even poorly educated, is *worth the cost* of the alternative...is why we call you insane. Because that is a dedication to ideological purity over empirical reason. It is not a good-faith effort to find a solution to actual problems through an honest look at the data and possible compromise. And that is fucking insane. That is fucking insane LIKE A FOX.
posted by jnnla at 12:59 PM on July 18, 2013 [15 favorites]


This dovetails nicely with that whole "keep the girls barefoot and pregnant". Much easier to marry them off to an older guy who already has a couple of other wives when they've been denied even a cursory amount of education.
posted by kjs3 at 1:10 PM on July 18, 2013


We simply want a government that sticks to the basic purposes of a government - military to deter threats to the country, police to deter threats to individuals, criminal laws and courts, diplomats, and a few other small things. When government goes beyond that, it becomes oppressive.

It's like that philosophy joke: conclusion is the place you stop when you're tired of thinking. So, just a few services, such as military, you say? How about we don't stop there and instead, continue thinking.

If your military is armed - conservatively - with spears, and comes up against machine guns it would not be able to defend your country, and thus fail in its primary function. You will need modern weapons. The military that tends to be victorious relies heavily on superior technology - it has always been so. The U.S. military is not the biggest in manpower, but it has the most sophisticated technology.

How do you propose to continue dominating in technology, without a well-funded and broad educational system, one that draws upon the entire talent pool of the society? Do you think instead that the best way to accomplish that is to actually abolish compulsory education? Do you understand what happens when you can only draw upon a small class of wealthy people who can afford an education for all your science and technology needs for your military? We've tried that in the days of gentlemen knights as a military force, and it has not stood the test of time. A few knights amidst an illiterate population of paupers does not make for a powerful military.

Do you understand that you cannot develop technology exclusively for the military without actually investing in basic science? Do you know why so much of our basic science is funded by the military? Do you understand that it applies to all science, including biology and medicine (bio-weapons and defense)? Do you understand that most basic science is not and cannot be done by private industry and needs government involvement? Why do you think that we emphasized science and education in the 50's and 60's when we were in competition with the Soviets and feared being left behind? Do you realize that to this day we are deriving the benefits of those investments in education by THE GOVERNMENT?

You cannot have a powerful military without a top notch educational system. You cannot have a top notch educational system without compulsory education.

And how do you get a top notch educational system? You need vast infrastructure and funding of the kind that only a well-functioning economy can provide. You pay for a successful military with enormous investments. And how can you have a well-functioning economy without high levels of education? Educational levels are directly correlated with economic success, and have been for all of history, while illiteracy levels have always dragged the economy down and prevented progress.

And how do you get a successful economy? In addition to an educated populace with as small a percentage of illiterates as you can manage, you need a well-functioning judicial system, but you also need a very strong regulatory regimen - where the government is indispensable - if you don't have that, take a look at what laissez-fair did for the economy during the Great Crash and Great Depression (and various re-runs such as 2008).

To have a good economy you need a healthy citizenry. This means your water, and air cannot be poisoned, and for that you need the government to regulate that, because the Koch brothers won't. If you want your medicines to work, you can't rely on Pfizer et al, you need the government. Or you're welcome to radioactive creams and snakeoil - which do you think would work out best?

And what about vast investments in infrastructure such as roads? And... and... and...

And if you continue thinking, you will realize that you simply cannot have a modern complex society without being completely enmeshed with the government, of the people by the people. Including having a military that is able to defend against competitors who would love for your society to devolve into the libertarian/conservative fantasy you advocate so that they can gobble it up with minimum of effort.

Alas, the world is complicated. "The Government" is not some foreign entity which we can blame for all our perceived problems and the solution is to exorcise it. The Government is us. Any bureaucracy can malfunction, every system will have flaws - the answer is not to throw out the baby with the bathwater and the bathtub and the bathroom and the house, and the city and the country and go back to living in caves. The answer is to address that particular problem through reform - identify the problem, THINK, solve. I leave it as an exercise for you to figure out where being "deluded" fits into this.
posted by VikingSword at 1:40 PM on July 18, 2013 [17 favorites]


the horrible anti-human idea of the last century that the government is there to provide for people and to take care of people

You forgot to mention that it's anti-life, anti-mind, and the domain of whim-worshiping muscle mystics (and maybe sycophants and products of incest)
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 2:11 PM on July 18, 2013


vikingsword, your comments about the role of education in the Cold war seem very to the point. How will we fare compared to China and India, who have prioritized education for exactly the reasons you mention?

I keep encountering "libertarians" who would be in favor of monarchy as long as it led to a laissez faire economy. As in, they literally say that. Democracy is "mob rule" and sometimes you need a strong arm to keep things "free".

This is Canada's "Conservative" (Reform) government in a nutshell. Our Prime Minister is a Chicago School economist who has said we won't recognize Canada when he's done with it, but their most consistent output has been adding the word "Royal" to various military things and trying to get us to relive the glories of 1812. Since pretty much everything they do is couched in Libertarian populist rhetoric, it's beyond weird to see them slavering at the feet of the British monarchy, in spite of how chuffed Phillip feels about the whole thing.
posted by sneebler at 3:38 PM on July 18, 2013


And how do you get a top notch educational system?...And how do you get a successful economy?...To have a good economy you need a healthy citizenry...And what about vast investments in infrastructure such as roads? And... and... and...

You, sir, have not heard of the magic invisible hand of the marketplace, which by means of *something, something* can solve all the ills of society, save military and police.
posted by Mental Wimp at 4:51 PM on July 18, 2013


Weirdly, for as wildly hit-and-miss as they are, a Whitest Kids sketch from 2009 put forth one of the more succinct arguments against this kind of "scrap the system, every man is an island" stuff with a silly demonstration of unintended consequences and how government grows to meet needs.
posted by jason_steakums at 5:39 PM on July 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


And yet there is a meme collision starting at 17:57 and at 18:12 hits its peak when mandatory schooling is blamed for the establishing of control over the free man. Ought to be some head exploding cognitive dissidence for some of his supporters.
posted by rough ashlar at 1:31 PM on July 22, 2013


And yet there is a meme collision starting at 17:57 and at 18:12 hits its peak...

Whoa! That comments section is a veritable madhouse of wing-nuttery.
posted by Mental Wimp at 2:04 PM on July 22, 2013


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