Unless you’re living in a cave, by now you probably heard that we have a new Pope. Personally, I’m glad he arrived for no other reason than we no longer have the continuous coverage filling the news cycle. Yes, I understand the importance of the event, but I don’t think that it needed to dominate the news as it did. Hopefully there were no aliens (sorry, undocumented Americans) from outer space monitoring our airwaves, because if there were they are probably wondering why the Catholic Church is allowed to exist. From my informal, completely unscientific observations, had I known nothing of the church I would have thought that it’s reasons for existence are to promote sexual abuse of children, malice toward gays and repression of women. Apparently it wasn’t just me – The The Media Research Center did a study of the coverage and pretty much had the same observation.
I remembered some years back hearing about a study showing that sexual abuse is far more rampant in public schools than in the church, citing that The figures suggest “the physical sexual abuse of students in schools is likely more than 100 times the abuse by priests,” said Shakshaft, according to Education Week. We hear about teacher abuse scandals on a semi-regular basis, but the 100 times number seemed high. So I did that crazy, extremist action that is an anathema to the left when facing data that seems too convenient in supporting an assumption, I looked at the source report to validate the claims. In fact, the original report backed up my hunch.
To make a long story short, at the top of the report it mentions that the study doesn’t clearly differentiate between sexual abuse and sexual misconduct that makes its stats confusing at times. The report also doesn’t break out (at least I didn’t see it – didn’t have time to read all 156 pages) between public and private/parochial schools. Fair enough. Let’s say that the number is “only” 50 times greater, or double the rate reported by the Church, or even equal. How come we don’t see similar hand wringing whenever a new Secretary of Education is named? I’m going to guess that our public school system affects far more Americans than the Catholic Church does, so shouldn’t something of this magnitude be worthy of at least the similar coverage? I was curious myself, so I ran a few searches on Arne Duncan, our Secretary of Education since 2009. Searching on his name alone just turned up some bio info, and searching on “Arne Duncan Sex Scandals” revealed more information about Duncan. Just skimming the headlines in the results I learned that he supports gay marriage, is appalled about what happened at Penn State with Jerry Sandusky, and that he supports gun control. Strangely enough there were no results dedicated to tying Duncan to the rampant sexual abuse in our school system. What if today a mainstream news outlet were to cover the head of our DOE in the same sneering, condescending tone that it uses to report on the Pope. I’m envisioning a TV broadcast from a field reporter out of Southern California…
I am good at three things… I’ve already done one of those today, so what’s the other one gonna be? Huh?
Fresh off of the embarrassment of having to remove a quote from a mass murderer from the Department of Education’s web site, the embattled Arne Duncan continues to struggle as the head of an agency that fights to adapt to modern times and is mired in sexual abuse scandals. Despite frequent claims from educators that what they do is for the children, this is difficult to reconcile in the face of teachers guilty of sexual misconduct who can not be terminated from their lucrative contracts at a time that so many local municipalities struggle to make budgetary ends meet. For that matter, even as these scandals continue to plague our school system the only event that warranted comment from the Secretary seemed to be only because the Penn State Sandusky scandal was one of a magnitude that even his own office could no longer ignore.
The professional left that dominates education politics has effectively destroyed the state of California’s education system. By pushing the teaching of topics like Gay History rather than fundamentals like reading and math it should come as no surprise that California’s school systems rank 48th in reading and math in the United States. This is only further exacerbated by the power of the California Teachers’ unions, whose contracts are designed to protect based on seniority rather than merit, in effect protecting more senior teachers who will generally be more expensive to the system over younger, less senior and less costly members. Note that merit or ability to teach do not factor into these considerations. Even reasonable reforms to make a safer learning environment are blocked by these special interest heavyweights, as The Washington Examiner’s Conn Carroll reported,
“The CTA has fought every effort to reform how California teachers are paid and held accountable for their performance. The union resists even modest and reasonable changes as the proverbial camel’s nose under the tent. In 2012, CTA blocked a bill that would have made it easier to fire teachers accused of “serious and egregious” conduct involving sex abuse, drugs or violence toward children. Currently, teachers accused of such offenses are sent to “rubber rooms” where they are paid to do nothing, and can drag out an appeals process for years before being fired.”
California is not the only state where the unions and their political muscle have put their own needs ahead of the citizens they claim to serve. In 2010 Wisconsin teachers walked out on the children they were supposed to teach to cause $7.5 million in damages to the state capitol building as they protested cuts to their compensation packages that would have still left them better off than many of the state’s citizens working in the private sector as Governor Walker worked to reform unsustainable benefits that threatened to bankrupt his state.
More recently the town of Strongsville, Ohio found striking teachers using ugly bullying and intimidation tactics against the substitute teachers who sought to educate the children while the teachers fought to retain compensation packages that currently consume 90% of the district’s budget. Some of the strong arming has caused a backlash among residents, which leads to deeper questions facing the Secretary, and the Public Education system as a whole.
The Department of Education still refuses to denounce the unions that are desperately fighting reform, even as two out of three Americans stand behind School Choice for parents and children. Even in the Secretary’s own backyard, the forces opposed to School Choice were successful in forcing out a reformer in Michelle Rhee who had made a priority ofremoving incompetent teachers from schools in our nation’s capitol. In what some are calling the next Civil Rights movement, Duncan has not endorsed the Educational Rights movement. One wonders how an institution that is only thirty years old can hope to resist reform and to stay relevant in a shifting American culture. For KVWN, I’m Veronica Corningstone. Thanks for stopping by San Diego; back to you, Ron.
Anchorman: Thanks, Veronica. Say, how did you manage to embed hyperlinks into a TV broadcast?
Of course, why would we see a report like this when our press is pondering critical issues facing our nation, such as why the Pope’s views on gay marriage don’t match those of the New York Times’ editorial page?
Cross posted from Brother Bob’s Blog