The Tea Party Demands That Schools Not Teach All Men Have Inalienable Rights

A progressive mingling with Tea Partiers?  Guilty! I gritted what teeth I have left and headed for a local TP rally in honor of National School Choice Week, mainly because the featured speaker was going to be the individual who gave the party its national voice, Dick Armey. The event was scheduled for the evening of Groundhog Day, February 2nd.

Groundhog day was a little odd since the dates for National School Choice Week were actually January 22-28. The National School Choice Week website was still up post-event and I noticed the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) icon prominently displayed at the bottom of the page as a supporter. My guess is that ALEC’s support extended to major bucks.

The rally was held in a Chateau-like structure located in a public park. I felt like I should have arrived by ski-lift. Instead I wound my way around the park and backed my pickup into a space about a half-block away from the host building. The lot was already filling up 30 minutes before the official opening.

I had no sooner weaved my way to a stop when a scruffy, somewhat ill-kempt fellow approached my Dakota. He reminded me of those aggressive car salesmen that grab your door handle the minute you stop your engine. I rolled the window down as he greeting me and handed me a single sheet of paper with the heading ‘Preschools Are Using a Marxist’s Theories to Manufacture Collectivists’. I had no idea. The piece was written by one Chuck Roger with a snooty accent aigu over the ‘e’. Seems Ghuck is convinced our kids are being ruined by a long-dead psychologist named Lev Vygotsky, 77 years removed from this earth.

The other subject matter on the page displayed a website that listed 24 things that government schools dare not teach. Examples 1, 2 and 3 were staring back at me. The first ‘thing’ the schools DARE NOT TEACH was that all men were endowed with certain unalienable rights (I’ve compressed a bit). The second ‘thing’ the schools DARE NOT TEACH was that to secure these rights governments are instituted among men and finally, schools DARE NOT TEACH the meaning of liberty.

I’d like to give you the address of the website so you can read the entirety of these first 3 of these forbidden fruits and the remaining 21, but I DARE NOT!

I quickly thanked this poor wretch and headed in a fast walk to the Chateau.

When I took one step inside the door I felt an immediate thump on my lapel. A lady had affixed a decal on my sports coat like the one with your name on it at gatherings where most of the attendees are strangers. I never bothered to write my name.  Upon returning home, I discovered that for the night I had been a human billboard featuring the words ‘SCHOOL CHOICE is the RIGHT choice. So, for this one night, I was a decal-wearing school choicer.

The decal was far from the only school choice propaganda of the night. Tables lined the entire length of one wall, all stacked high with assorted literature, mostly glossy, colorful and expensive.

I quickly skipped over the dessert table, loaded with every high-fat cookie imaginable and its frosted first cousins. And these people want to repeal health care?

The first table piece I ran into was a cryptic single-page in black, white and orange that had Speak/Act in giant letters. The page referred repeatedly to the website of South Carolinians for Responsible Government. SCRG is most obsessed with Superintendent pay and further down the table, SCRG literature headlined Top Ten Overpaid Non-teaching “Educators” named names and showed pictures. Note to SCRG. If you’re competing with the private sector, you’re going to have to pay a fairly high wage to get good people. The average hospital CEO makes $450,000 as of last year. The top Superintendents listed don’t make half that, some far less.

The piece also described how far below the national average the district’s SAT scores were and how lousy GPA’s were and criticized shortfalls in graduation rates.

Let’s get something else straight. If a child comes from an impoverished background, teachers can have no more than a 15% impact on that youngster’s future. There are many other factors involved in the success or failure of these young people. That’s why many private schools cherry-pick the best students, giving an artificial picture of their SAT, GPA and graduation numbers. Given the odds, it’s extraordinary what public school teachers still manage to do for those unfortunate socio-economically challenged students.

Still further down, SCRG also offered a ten-page mini-tome breaking down the costs to the state and locals of every school district in South Carolina, plus a boatload of every educational expenditure extant. The distorted explanation of teacher job losses was  painful to read. If there are fewer teachers, it’s because they leave of their own accord. Firings? Maybe a few. Ignored is the fact that over the past two years public schools have lost over $750 million in state funding. Lemme see – what page was that on? Thousands of teachers were laid off, with salary freezes in the offing for those who remained.

In August of 2011, The South Carolina Superintendent of Education Mick Zais and his fellow birdbrain, Governor Nikki Haley, refused to go after $144 million in federal money from the federal Education Jobs Fund. It was money for school districts impacted by the economy and forced to lay off teachers. No other state, red or blue, was that ignorant or insensitive to the lives of school employees. Zais said the money would result in unwanted ‘federal intrusion’.

But the piece de resistance of the table top displays was a glossy, 33-page, full-color booklet with pictures of every member of the state General Assembly and their contact information. At least 500 copies had to be printed given the crowd estimates of 350-400.

And the final item, rather nice T-shirts (you can guess the screenprints) weren’t cheap either.

I’ve got a call in to a printer friend of mine. I’ll share his estimates in part two of my school choice visit. You’ll also hear what Armey and his sycophants had to say about your horrible public (government) schools after I sat down with three little kids.




21 Replies to “The Tea Party Demands That Schools Not Teach All Men Have Inalienable Rights”

  1. Good old Dick Armey. Himself victim to the fundies. I am going to be very interested to hear what his alternative is besides shut the government down, give it to the Koch and let the kids educate themselves

  2. Ah, the war on children. Do these morons not realize that when they retire from whatever it is that pays their exhorbitant salary, that they doctors they need, the teachers for their grnadchildren, the nursing home staff who will take care of them when they get dementia, all will have been uneducated because of their desire to not educate people? I shudder to think what kind of care they will receive, because when you demonize education, the elderly will be the first to suffer those efffects. Good luck, Dick. I hope karma comes soon. Don’t suppose any of your children are educators….nah, doesn’t pay well enough for an Armey brat.

  3. As ever, the Tea Party shows itself to be utterly hostile to the Enlightenment origins of our democracy; the Heritage Foundation, too, recently demanded an investigation into ‘bias’ in the Civil Rights division of the DOJ because THEY BELIEVE IN HUMAN RIGHTS!

    These skunks should be shunned and their stink should be stifled.

  4. Dennis, you decal-wearing infiltrator, you. Good on you, and I’d thank you for this report, but I DARE NOT!

    33-page glossy – I DARE NOT guess – KOCH BROTHERS Propaganda

  5. If there was ever any proof that the people someone once called the
    “Teafools” are certifiable, this more than amply proves it. They are reflexively against just about everything, and the only thing they seem to be for is their own “freedom” at the expense of everyone else’s. If they had their way, they would not only be short-changing others but themselves as well. They are truly steeped in self-deception and ignorance.

  6. A few years ago, I was outraged by an email I got from the (now gone) editor of the university newspaper, and the exchange was enlightening.

    He was a staunch Republican.

    He told me that if I couldn’t pay out-of-pocket for my education, I didn’t belong there. When I told him I’d returned to school because my health precluded the work I used to do, he then asked me what I did to cause my health to go bad!

    I then told him the story of my health and how it came to be, and the b*st*rd backed down a little. He actually apologized and said that in my case (and he indicated it was in his opinion an extreme rarity), maybe I deserved to go to school on student loans (and a Pell Grant) after all.

    So, they’re against the education of anyone but themselves and the rich.

  7. I’m so damned angry I can’t express it in this little box. Every day we’re presented with attacks from the Right on every front imaginable. What to teach, rewriting text books (Texas come to mind?) to suit their political agenda. Attacking women’s rights for health care; attacking workers rights to collective bargain; etc. These people are the same ones who shout “liberty” all over the place but when they subvert others liberties it’s what – okay? I pray to God that come November the normal people of this country come to their wits and vote Democrat or suffer the consequences.

  8. Excuse me, but since you haven’t done your homework and don’t understand the beliefs of the tea party, let me enlighten you. The title of this article is FALSE. Here’s why: The Tea Party believes that schools DO NOT TEACH those things in the first place. They not only DO NOT, but THEY DARE NOT because the allegedly Marxist, etc. run government won’t let them out of fear of how dangerous such notions as freedom, liberty, inalienable rights, etc are. Even an idiot knows that this talk is all lifted directly from the Declaration of Independence, and that it is a return to the principles embodied in it that the Tea Party touts as their articles of faith. So Dennis S., you are WRONG. Not only wrong, but failed to do your homework. For if you did, you would have understood that THEY DARE NOT TEACH is not a demand that they do not teach, but rather a rally cry denouncing the fact that, in their opinion, the schools are AFRAID to teach such ideals. “They dare not teach” is meant to be descriptive, and NOT PRESCRIPTIVE, as you so willfully mischaracterize it. That is what the Tea Party believes. Whether you agree or disagree with the Tea Party, you as a journalist, and really, as a voter, have a duty to at least find out what people believe before you go about blasting them. For this assignment you get an “F”. And as to everyone who believed you, people please don’t believe something merely because it sounds good or serves some purpose. Don’t be gullible sheep. Do not fall victim to negative propaganda. Inquiring minds want to know… the facts. A well informed public is a defense against tyrrany. Know thy enemy. He could turn out to be a friend.

  9. OMG the marxists are here along with the fascist tea party?

    The tea thugs tout one thing. Corporations and the theory of RWNJ discussion

    I would say you fell into a vat of silliness. Schools to teach all men are created equal. And its true right up till the 5th grade when parents like you turn them into little fascists

  10. Gotta’ just love how the “socialist” Scandinavian countries, Finland, Norway, Sweden and Denmark are absoulutely TROUNCING the USA education-wise.
    And at a fraction of the cost, to boot.
    Sure glad I live in Stockholm, Sweden.

  11. Hello all:

    I thought I’d take a moment to do a little housekeeping relative to a comment posted here.

    In part one of my February 3d piece entitled “The Tea Party demands that schools not teach all men have unalienable rights”, I was blasted by a contributor to the comment section as an idiot who was wrong and failed to do his homework. I was given an‘F’ for my pitiful efforts.

    Here is my Prince Myshkin rebuttal to the rebuttal. The Prince is the central character in ‘The Idiot’ (circa 1868) by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. Granted, Myshkin is somewhat intellectually stunted (just as I am apparently perceived to be by my detractor) because of his epilepsy. What should be noted here is that the author declared his Prince (idiot) as a man with ‘Christ-like spiritual attributes…certainly a man to be welcomed into the fold of today’s Tea Party.

    I did make the mistake of assuming that the obviously facetious reference from a one-page handout passed through my pickup window prior to a Tea Party School Choice function would be understood by all. The site’s overarching point contended that under federal government orders, school teachers would DARE NOT TEACH the constitutional imperative that all men are endowed with certain unalienable rights and to secure these rights governments are instituted among men and that pressured government school teachers DARE NOT TEACH these tenants and the meaning of liberty, amongst many other precious rights.

    I suspect the real problem may be that while public school teachers DO teach all about the constitution – they may ignore some of the more radical interpretations.

    Thank you for your kind attention. The second part of my Tea Party School Choice experience is coming up early this week.

    Dennis S.

  12. I certainly assumed you were interpreting “dare not” as “do not” rather than “better not” – and I think most of your readers with critical reasoning skills did as well.

  13. When I first saw Dick Armey on TV, in fact it was Hardball, and heard his talk, I never wanted to listen to him again.
    Both Armey and our gal, Joan Walsh, were guesting together with Chris Matthews a few years back and got into a heated argument to say the least. What made me even more mad was the fact that Chris Matthews did NOT come to Joan Walsh’s defense. He never said a word.
    Armey is one of the nastyiest men alive.

    Check out the video exchange b elow. By now it must be well known to some.

  14. Teachers would have more respect from a student if they were teaching something that empowered the child and we would all fare better in the long run. Schools do not teach things such as Liberty, Inalienable Rights and critical thinking because the status quo want obedient masses (see link below). In case you haven’t noticed, the government is taking our Rights so why would a government institution encourage an impressionable child to think they have Liberty and Inalienable Rights?

    So here we are, a nation divided by ‘Left’ and ‘Right’ and we’re losing our Rights, from both the ‘Left’ and ‘Right’. ‘We the People’ should be a United People of America and we can only do so if we remember the founding principals of Liberty and Rights.

    I don’t usually agree with today’s Tea-party, especially on education, but they have a point on this issue. There is nothing wrong with People wanting Individual Liberty to be reinforced by the institution that influences our children. I’m glad they see the importance! They could use some critical thinking skills to accomplish their goal but there is something wrong with making them out to be wrong for trying. I don’t expect education to improve in this area so I hope each American will see the importance, for ourselves and our children. It’s better than being a nation of sheep that gobble up any propaganda thrown in the air.
    ‘Think… Critical Thinking’
    Enlightening details ‘The Hidden Dark Agenda of Public Education’-

  15. I graduated in 1968. The schools do not teach liberty inalienable rights or anything else of that nature back then. They tell you what the Constitution was, they told you why we fought World War II And they tell you about our history. Of course you would agree with the tea party, for instance here in Tennessee they want slavery taken out of the history books. It didn’t happen. Were the last thing in this world I want is a school that teaches nothing more than we are number one and this is now your religion. It’s fine to teach what freedom is, it’s pretty tough to teach inalienable rights when you look around the world and see what’s going on. Especially since there are no such thing as unalienable rights.

    I don’t expect kids to come out of 12 grades in school being constitutional scholars. The tea party is also against science and other things that are taught. Be careful who you align yourself with

  16. Huh, I remember lots of lessons and classes throughout my 13 years of public education devoted to the importance of the declaration of independence and the constitution. In my 8th grade public school history class, we spent weeks on the original constitutional convention alone.

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