Yesterday I committed a grave error of judgment.
I listened in to a live stream of the Kansas legislative session.
The debate was over a controversial bill that would prohibit Common Core standards from being used in this state. Not that the legislators have anything to replace these standards with. But they firmly insist that Common Core is “federally mandated” (it’s not) and therefore they are adamant that it’s evil. Now, I don’t have strong feelings about Common Core one way or another. But somehow it does not surprise me that Kansas legislators are dead-set against any teaching standards that encourage critical thinking.
There was strong citizen backlash against this particular bill, because it went so far as to say that NO standards proposed by Common Core would be taught in Kansas schools (good-bye to algebra, science, history, and English!) AND it would make it nearly impossible for high schools to offer Adanced Placement and International Baccalaureate classes, which are largely based on certain Common Core standards.
But it wasn’t just the extremely poorly-conceived bill that made me so sick to my stomach as I listened to the legislative debate.
No, it was the clown who was reading and attempting to explain the bill. I looked up a picture of him. This is his campaign photo.
Okay, not really. But seriously, this guy made Jed Clampett look like a Harvard Ph.D.
Among his pronouncements, in his backwoods drawl:
“Now, I’m not an edjoocashun expert. Nobody on this committee is.” Really? I’m astonished! But that begs the question: Why, then, are you fucking with education?
“We were voted in by the tea party in 2012, and we’re here to make sure their concerns are protected.” Yes, by all means let’s hold the state hostage to a group of backwards, unducated boobs who have never even heard of AP or IB classes.
As he read, I couldn’t miss the withering irony of Senator Jed Clampett mispronouncing the word “academics.” uh-CAD-uh-miks. Right-o.
The surprisingly happy end to this story is that the bill was defeated later in the day. Kansas parents are starting to rise up, participating in protests and email campaigns to push back against this type of insanity.
But we all know that Senator Jed and the rest of his hillbillies will return before you can say “CE-ment pond,” with another zany episode designed to show the world just how backwards Kansas politicians are.