Fisking Slate over Public Schools

I took a break from working on Monster Hunter Nemesis to check Facebook, and of course I found a link to something so astoundingly dumb that it demanded an immediate fisking. It is such a jaw dropping level of stupid that my first thought was that it was a brilliant piece of satire by a free market libertarian who really hates collective do gooders, but the article is from Slate, and I don’t think anybody over there is clever enough to pull off something like that.

The article itself is your typical white guilt liberal pontificating on topics they don’t quite grasp and lecturing everyone about how to live in a manner that best assuages their white liberal guilt.  This article is dumb, even by Slate standards, and that is saying something, but there is some value to be taken from it as it is an excellent look into the thought process of ass kissing statists. If it was satire by somebody who has run into all of these same arguments before (I’ve seen all of these points pop up in various school choice arguments, only I’ve never seen them bundled so completely) then high five. Good work. If this author actually believes this tripe, then I’m amazed she figured out how to turn on her computer to type it.

As usual the original article is in italics. My comments are in bold.

If You Send Your Kid to Private School, You Are a Bad Person

A Manifesto

No kidding. It is actually subtitled “A Manifesto”. We’re off to a great start.

By Allison Benedikt

You are a bad person if you send your children to private school. Not bad like murderer bad—

Wait… Are we talking actual bad murderer bad, or murderers that liberals have the hots for bad, like Che Guevara? Or murderers that liberals don’t like to own up to like Kermit Gosnell bad? Because you know, liberals are into nuance and stuff.

but bad like ruining-one-of-our-nation’s-most-essential-institutions-in-order-to-get-what’s-best-for-your-kid bad.

So using a lot of unnecessary hyphens bad.

So, pretty bad.

Apparently. But please, Allison, educate us poor knuckle draggers why we should put the future of failing liberal institutions based on outdated philosophies dating back to the industrial revolution over the welfare of our children.

I am not an education policy wonk: I’m just judgmental.

Well you’re a liberal, so that goes without saying.

But it seems to me that if every single parent sent every single child to public school, public schools would improve.

And I can’t wait to hear how you figured this part out. Especially since everybody is always whining about overcrowded classrooms, so when a kid gets pulled out and sent to private school, you just freed up more public school resources, and *gasp* the parent paying for private school is still paying taxes which pay for the dumpy public school… but hey, I’m getting ahead of myself.

This would not happen immediately. It could take generations. Your children and grandchildren might get mediocre educations in the meantime, but it will be worth it, for the eventual common good.

Wait… Let me get this right… I need to needlessly screw up my children and grandchildren’s chances in the hope that maybe, just maybe, our shitty public schools might be decent in forty or fifty years. And this is the high note she picked to open her essay with. Holy shit.

Yes, comrades, sacrifice your offspring for the common good… Sure, that sounds bug nuts to most parents who don’t routinely put cigarette butts out on their children’s skin, but don’t worry, folks. Allison is just getting warmed up.

(Yes, rich people might cluster. But rich people will always find a way to game the system:

That’s correct, Allison. The reason people like me are “rich” is because we “game the system”. If by “game the system” you mean that I see to the well-being of myself and my family rather than meddling in other people’s business with utopian nonsense, then I totally agree.

That shouldn’t be an argument against an all-in approach to public education any more than it is a case against single-payer health care.)

Well, obviously Allison is in favor of single-payer health care (in the same essay where she talks about another government run system being hopelessly broken) because this time it will totally be better.

So, how would this work exactly? It’s simple!

A magical leprechaun will ride a unicorn down a rainbow and shoot awesome free healthcare out of its ass? Oh wait, we’ve moved back to the subject of how she wants to screw over decent parents again. Sorry.

Everyone needs to be invested in our public schools in order for them to get better. Not just lip-service investment, or property tax investment, but real flesh-and-blood-offspring investment.

Uh… What about all of the people who went to crappy public schools or whose kids already were in crappy public schools who fled to the private sector, or who would if they could afford to? And I can only imagine how much you despise those wretched home schoolers. Oh yeah, they’re murderer bad too, but not groovy Che murderer bad, just to be clear.

Your local school stinks but you don’t send your child there?

Hell lady, I actually MOVED because of how mediocre the local schools were. I could see they were sucking the life out of my children. I’ve got brilliant, imaginative kids with genius level IQs, and they were sullenly getting terrible grades and hating education because they were trapped in a dreary prison cell of a room dominated by mentally imbalanced rage monkeys and pill popping zombies, all under the supervision of a lazy ass, phoning it in until she could retire, teacher’s union parasite who thought the best way to deal with gifted kids was to give them tons and tons of useless brain dead busy work.

And that crappy school was fantastic compared to the junior gladiatorial academy I got to attend in California.

Then its badness is just something you deplore in the abstract.

Liberals are totally against deploring things in the abstract! (except global warming obviously, or other people’s healthcare, or other people’s wages, or other people’s business, or other people’s choices).

Your local school stinks and you do send your child there? I bet you are going to do everything within your power to make it better.

Yes, because caring parents have proven so capable of taking on entrenched teacher’s unions. I forgot that to liberals, everything in the world can be solved if you just CARE HARD ENOUGH, unless of course you care against something that favors democrats, because then you can go screw yourself. 

And parents have a lot of power. In many underresourced schools, it’s the aggressive PTAs that raise the money for enrichment programs

Wait… If I’m going to have to pay for this out of my own pocket after I’ve already been taxed for it, why don’t I pay for something actually GOOD instead?

and willful parents who get in the administration’s face when a teacher is falling down on the job.

BWA HA HA HAW! Snort. Yes, folks, that’s a liberal lecturing us on how easy it is to fix union employees when they screw up. 

Everyone, all in. (By the way: Banning private schools isn’t the answer. We need a moral adjustment, not a legislative one.)

Sure… Because you meddling busybodies have such an amazing track record of never ever legislating against things based on your feelings.

There are a lot of reasons why bad people send their kids to private school. Yes, some do it for prestige or out of loyalty to a long-standing family tradition or because they want their children to eventually work at Slate.

Oh horseshit, lady. I’ve seen more profound writing on the placemats at Denny’s.

But many others go private for religious reasons, or because their kids have behavioral or learning issues, or simply because the public school in their district is not so hot.

Sounds good to me.

None of these are compelling reasons.

I missed the part of the Constitution where it said that my freedom was limited to things that brain damaged collectivists found compelling.

Or, rather, the compelling ones (behavioral or learning issues, wanting a not-subpar school for your child) are exactly why we should all opt in, not out.

Did you actually just write that none of those were compelling except for the ones that are? (and remember kids, you need a super good education to write for Slate!)


I believe in public education, but my district school really isn’t good! you might say.


Yes. I did just say that.


I understand.


No. You don’t. If you did understand you wouldn’t be trying to guilt trip caring parents for doing what was best for the interests of their children.


You want the best for your child, but your child doesn’t need it.


Liberal Slate links to the liberal NYT to prove a liberal point. If there’s a stat in there provided by the DNC it is like Ouroboros eating its tail.


If you can afford private school (even if affording means scrimping and saving, or taking out loans),


Because apparently scrimping and saving are bad words now. (except us “rich” folks who “game the system” that consider that kind of thing normal behavior) And taking out loans is bad, unless you are taking out a loan to pay for your Gender Studies degree from a university because then the government should like totally bail you out.


chances are that your spawn will be perfectly fine at a crappy public school.


Unless they get shot by gang bangers in one of those gun free zones you guys love so much.


She will have support at home (that’s you!) and all the advantages that go along with being a person whose family can pay for and cares about superior education—the exact kind of family that can help your crappy public school become less crappy.


Funny. I can also choose to send my kid to a good school where she’s not miserable all day, AND still have all this awesome stuff at home too!


She may not learn as much or be as challenged, but take a deep breath and live with that.


How about you take a deep breath and live with the fact that your existing system is a complete train wreck and people who love their children don’t want to participate in your continuing failure?


Oh, but she’s gifted? Well, then, she’ll really be fine.


No. Actually she wasn’t. But what do I know? I’m just the loving and involved parent. It takes a village of white guilt suffering elitist liberals to tell us how to live.

I went K–12 to a terrible public school.

I went K-8 in a public school that probably made yours look like Harvard. My graduating class had 20 kids. Half of us could speak English. Of those, half could read. My town was half illegal immigrant. Our principal was a drunk. We had a handful of decent teachers but most sucked. Because I was bored out of my mind and unruly, my 4th grade teacher declared that I was retarded and recommended that I be medicated. Nope, turned out I was gifted and just bored out of my mind, but she was too lazy and apathetic to even try. She became principal after the drunk retired.   

My high school didn’t offer AP classes, and in four years, I only had to read one book.

The Good Earth? My condolences. And also, bullshit. I don’t care if you went to the Central Detroit Penal Academy for Gifted Drive-By Shooters, there would have been more than one book on the curriculum.

There wasn’t even soccer.

Only a liberal would cite a lack of soccer as a hardship.

This is not a humblebrag!

Yes it is, you pretentious liar. White guilt liberals always do this thing where they have to cite their suffering to show solidarity. Look at me! I’m a victim too! I understand your plight!  Sure, your kids in the hood can’t read, and they’re getting shot at by gangbangers, and they’re getting beaten on the bus, and they have to put up with coke heads and rapists, and they’re pregnant at 14, but I understand because my white suburban school didn’t have FUCKING SOCCER!

And since I’m a right winger, I don’t “humblebrag”. I straight up brag about my achievements and I OWN THEM. I had a shitty education. I had a poor upbringing.  The high light of my high school education was getting my face beaten in by four gang bangers because I was in the wrong place at the wrong time and looked at somebody funny. Despite being a product of shitty to mediocre public schools, I worked my ass off. I’ve gone through multiple careers and tried and failed and then tried again. I grew up with a functionally illiterate father but I’m a bestselling novelist.

I’m not a whiny ass victim, so of course I brag because I’ve lived the American dream and succeeded. Now I’m going to continue the American Dream and GIVE MY KIDS A SHOT AT A BETTER LIFE THAN I WAS GIVEN. That’s sort of the idea. My grandparents immigrated here so they could have a better life than their parents, and my parents had a better life than their parents, and I’ve had a better life than my parents, because we’ve all started out standing on the shoulders of those that came before us, and now I’m blessed to help my kids. I did that hard stuff so now my kids don’t have to. They have a head start and I’m excited to see what they accomplish with their lives. That’s how the American Dream works.

Allison, you’ve got the American Dream exactly ass backwards. Your kids shouldn’t suffer to assuage your pathetic hang ups. It is your duty to suffer in order to give your kids more opportunities, you selfish imbecile.

I left home woefully unprepared for college,

By how woefully unprepared you were to write this essay, I’m not surprised.

and without that preparation, I left college without having learned much there either.

Yeah, you certainly sound like a winner. An ignorant drop out? Why yes. That’s exactly who I want to take parenting advice from!

You know all those important novels that everyone’s read? I haven’t.

And even though you’ve been out of school for how long, you’ve been too busy watching episodes of Honey Boo Boo and laughing at how obviously dumb all the rednecks must be in flyover country, that you’ve been too damned lazy and apathetic to read any books during that period. I’ve written more books than you’ve read.   

I know nothing about poetry, very little about art, and please don’t quiz me on the dates of the Civil War.

Holy shit, Allison! They’ve got the internet on computers now! I’m assuming you typed this screed on a computer. Fucking go to Wikipedia already! (Though I guess that would explain why so many modern democrats don’t know that they were the slavery party…)

I’m not proud of my ignorance.

Of course you’re not, which is why you just bragged about it in a self-righteous essay while you told people smarter than you about how they should live their lives.

But guess what the horrible result is? I’m doing fine.

Bitch please. You write for Slate because you couldn’t master a fry cooker.

I’m not saying it’s a good thing that I got a lame education.

Oh, I’m sorry. Is that not what I just read? When Slate’s editor gets back from working his shift at Starbucks you may want to talk to him about message clarity.

I’m saying that I survived it, and so will your child,

Unless they get beaten to death by the local drug dealers, or they get hooked on drugs, or they get shot by a gang, or they get raped in the bathroom, or they drop out because their school absolutely sucks, or they graduate totally ignorant and unemployable and go on to utterly fail at life, because oh, I’m sorry, Allison the fucking suburbanite is on the internet lecturing people who deal with actual shitty public schools in inner city hell holes about how they should just suck it up like she did. I mean come on, she didn’t even have soccer.

who must endure having no AP calculus so that in 25 years there will be AP calculus for all.

You don’t read books, you don’t know when the Civil War happened, and you write for Slate. I’m not taking any bets on your mad calculus skillz.

By the way: My parents didn’t send me to this shoddy school because they believed in public ed. They sent me there because that’s where we lived, and they weren’t too worried about it. (Can you imagine?)

Seeing how apathetic and lazy you are about your profound ignorance, yes, I can imagine that rather easily.  

Take two things from this on your quest to become a better person: 1) Your child will probably do just fine without “the best,” so don’t freak out too much, but 2) do freak out a little more than my parents did—enough to get involved.

You’re like a fortune cookie, only with more self-loathing.

Also remember that there’s more to education than what’s taught. As rotten as my school’s English, history, science, social studies, math, art, music, and language programs were, going to school with poor kids and rich kids, black kids and brown kids, smart kids and not-so-smart ones, kids with superconservative Christian parents and other upper-middle-class Jews like me was its own education and life preparation.

She’s an upper-middle class suburbanite. This is my shocked face. But don’t worry. She went to school with people who looked different. Yay! Sure, she’s dumber than pencil shavings, but diversity! 

Reading Walt Whitman in ninth grade changed the way you see the world? Well, getting drunk before basketball games with kids who lived at the trailer park near my house did the same for me. In fact it’s part of the reason I feel so strongly about public schools.

What the fucking fuck? That’s your best defense of public school? Getting wasted at the trailer park? Okay, that does explain a lot, but why didn’t you just skip that whole go to class part and cook meth all day instead? At least then you would have learned some basic chemistry. “Well class, today we’re going to learn how to huff paint so that you can have well rounded life experiences.”

Many of my (morally bankrupt) colleagues send their children to private schools.

Let’s see, you want to sacrifice your children’s well-being for political correctness, and you’re a spoiled, ignorant, stuck up suburbanite trying to display street cred solidarity with people who are actually suffering, and you’re calling your colleagues morally bankrupt?

I asked them to tell me why. Here is the response that most stuck with me: “In our upper-middle-class world, it is hard not to pay for something if you can and you think it will be good for your kid.”

Nobody ever told you that. Nobody actually talks like that outside of anonymous Slate, Salon, or Mother Jones straw man quotes. But then again, I don’t hang out with a bunch of white guilt ridden pseudo-journalists so maybe you guys do, but just in case you need a future quote, let me rephrase that response into Normal American for you: “They’re my kids and I’ll do what I think is best for them, so fuck off, you nosy busybody.”

I get it: You want an exceptional arts program and computer animation and maybe even Mandarin. You want a cohesive educational philosophy. You want creativity, not teaching to the test. You want great outdoor space and small classrooms and personal attention. You know who else wants those things? Everyone.

Why don’t you go ask some parents in Washington DC what they wanted before Obama screwed them over on school choice? It probably wouldn’t be arts and computers and Mandarin. It would be I don’t want my daughter pregnant and hooked on crack at 12.

Whatever you think your children need—deserve—from their school experience,

They need—deserve—you to pull your head out of your ass and allow people to exercise their personal freedom in how they live their lives.

 assume that the parents at the nearby public housing complex want the same.

Good. I’m all in favor of school choice.

No, don’t just assume it. Do something about it. Send your kids to school with their kids.

Oh look. It’s the soft racism of the left again. People in “public housing complex” don’t want what’s best for their kids, so it is up to suburbanites like Allison (or her poor kids, if she actually has any) to fall on the sword to lift them up. Oh whatever would we do without you, noble majestic liberal?

Use the energy you have otherwise directed at fighting to get your daughter a slot at the competitive private school to fight for more computers at the public school. Use your connections to power and money and innovation to make your local school—the one you are now sending your child to—better.

Do you sleep in a helmet?

Don’t just acknowledge your liberal guilt—listen to it.

Sorry, since I’m not a fucking idiot I don’t have any liberal guilt. If you actually admit to having liberal guilt, it is because you suck and are a complete failure at life. Cowboy up. Take responsibility for yourself and your family and quit listening to rudderless losers like Allison.  

So after reading all of that dreck, if you want to watch something actually interesting about the issues of failing schools, check out Waiting for Superman.

My schedule at SLC Comic Con
I have a new book out today: INTO THE STORM

155 thoughts on “Fisking Slate over Public Schools”

  1. 1. I completely agree with you Larry. I had the privilege of going to a truly excellent private school in the late ’70s. We actually got to use a computer. After that, it was back to public schools. What a nightmare that was. I was smart enough to see that the “honors” classes in middle and high school were nothing but kids having to do more work. So, I chose to take regular classes. I wish I could have stuck with private schools longer.
    2. I didn’t see anything either way, but I’m betting this woman does not have children of her own. I’ve found that even among ardent liberals, when you have children, a lot of this whatever it takes for diversity goes by the wayside. They may not send their kids to private school, but they damn well move to where their kids can get the best education they can in the city/town they can afford to live in.

  2. Did I miss the part where she said she actually HAD kids? I’m half betting that she doesn’t. She sounds like one of those pre-kids adults who knows all about child rearing and has “great” parenting advice.

  3. Typical white guilt liberalism. We can’t left everyone up with higher standards, so we have to drag them all down to the gutter instead.

    That article reads like a parody, but I don’t think Allison is smart enough or self-aware enough to actually write parody. The mind boggles. Or, it would if this wasn’t the same crap we got fed day in and day out by the liberal establishment.

  4. I made an honest effort of reading the comments over at Slate. So far, I haven’t seen anyone supporting her idiocy. Ten bucks says she posts an article whining about how mean conservatives were being to her for daring to speak truth to power.

    1. If she does write an article whining about the reaction to “speaking truth to power”, please let us know, as I want to remind her that speaking truth to power never gets a standing ovation.

  5. Ok, I am going to jump the gun and early on she mentions real flesh & blood investment. I thought liberals want us to abort our children for the good of mother gaia.

  6. Ironic that the author of that piece doesn’t realize that her very arguments show how very wrong she is.

    And all that “involved parent”? I have to use much of that effort to correct crap the schools are “teaching.”

    Case in point:

    On one of her report cards one of the subjects was social studies and the particular topic was something like “understands that governments are needed to provide services…”


    So I asked my daughter what they were teaching her about government. She went into an example of a street sweeper and how it needs to be paid for by tax dollars.

    This is her “take away” about the purpose of government?


    So we had a little chat. I explained to here that the people who created our country wrote down what they thought was the purpose of government and it went something like this:

    “We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these rights are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

    We spent some time going over what that meant and then I went into some examples: Police, catching “bad guys” who would harm others and, in so doing, deprive them of their rights. This is a good and proper function of government. Courts, allowing people an avenue to resolve disputes without turning them into feuds and shootouts (she came in with “or dagger fights”–that’s my girl). Proper function of government. The military, defending against attacks on America and Americans which would deprive us of our rights. Proper function of government.

    Some other things that people want government to do? Not so much.

    Of course, I’m sure that Little Miss Slate Writer thinks that political indoctrination in contradiction of the parent’s values is a wonderful use of the schools.

    I, however, am of a different opinion.

  7. What the actual fuck? I kept waiting for this ignorant, silly bint to make it clear this was satire, but she actually believes this happy horse crappy.

    My GOD. I do have to say, Larry, you forgot one though, “Hey Allison, your messiah? Obama? Yeah that guy? His daughters? Yeah, private school.”

      1. Yeah, do a back search on PJM for school lunches, I had a rather extensive article last year about how bad that program is and how much food is wasted.

        But I’d bet they eat whatever they want as private schools are not bound.

      2. They probably eat a lunch they bring from home prepared under Secret Service scrutiny. No nutritional guidelines for the Obama girls! They get to eat whatever and how much they want!!

    1. Yes. Conservatives are hugely proud of public schools and single payer health care and collective good over individual achievement. Try again.

      1. This isn’t directly related to kMDawson’s comment, but I wanted to write it here to make sure you saw this.

        Mr Correia: I found your Monster Hunter series through “The Smallest Minority”, a blog I follow.

        Hands down FU&^ING AWESOME!. I love your writing, and look forward to more.

    2. Caricatures of conservatives that Progressive spew forth from their rotting face orifices perhaps.

      1. I’m still trying to figure out what part of Allison’s “manifesto” was even vaugely conservaitve, but don’t worry, I’m sure the poster will come back to enlighten us poor red state knuckle draggers. (she’d better bring her A game) 🙂

      2. Larry, I will write his or her reply before they do because I don’t he or she will bring their A game, quite possible their D or F game.

        Blah, blah, blah, conservative anti-science, racism, bigots, hate women, blah, blah, blah, you are all poopy-heads!

    3. Ummm, guys, I’m pretty sure that was a sarcastic jab at our current crop of “conservatives”. Think John McCain.

  8. [blockquote] Because I was bored out of my mind and unruly, my 4th grade teacher declared that I was retarded and recommended that I be medicated. Nope, turned out I was gifted and just bored out of my mind[/blockquote]

    Sounds familiar, except in my case it was first grade.

    *pops some popcorn and waits for the inevitable looney comments*

    1. Ha ha ha ha! I was sent to remedial reading classes (1st & 2nd grades) with the kids who “couldn’t” read. It’s called dyslexia! Of course I shouldn’t complain…the classes were so bad that I trained myself to recognize what my brain was doing and retrained it to stop doing that. Now I only have that problem when I’ve been up for more than 48 hours.

      BTW, since I’m a frequent lurker and this is my first post here – THANKS FOR THE AWESOME BOOKS, LARRY!!! And the bad-ass posts here as well! 🙂

    2. Same here … my fourth grade english teacher sent me to a psychiatrist to eval my IQ for admission to the shortbus program.

      The psych reported that I had the highest IQ he had ever tested. I found fault with the last test … I couldn’t place the second of the last tile in the obvious spot in the story line, because the building shadows on it were incorrect. I explained to him that this picture had to be taken either eight hours later, or in some other time zone.

      At that point he gave up, and went straight to my “teacher” in order to chew him a new asshole.

      1. Also been there and done that, starting in kindergarten and continuing well into middle school. In my case, my school had no program for gifted students; they didn’t want to jump me a grade due to possible “social dislocation” and I was bored silly with the classwork. (I tested out at a fourth-to-fifth grade reading level prior to starting kindergarten.)

        So instead, starting in third grade, they put me into a special education class, with children who had actual learning disabilities the teachers weren’t qualified to handle, and with all the redneck kids they couldn’t be arsed to teach in the first place because they figured they’d still end up in the trailer park. This was to “teach me how to behave and relate to my classmates”…in other words, to be just like everybody else, content to learn at what average level they thought the other students were. Call it the Harrison Bergeron method of education.

        The SOBs also tried to have me medicated, but my family’s doctor told them to go screw themselves.

        …One minor quibble with the article, Larry: Did the Democrats ever STOP being the party of slavery?

  9. Ah Larry, nothing in that essay surprises me. I am in a College English 1A course right now with a Professor younger than I am, who is awash in Liberal White Guilt. Our entire course is based on modern racism (But not reverse racism. That cannot happen). Our supplementary text is a book of essays on racism, written by a white woman with liberal white guilt (“Notes from no mans land” by Eula Biss). It is a very hard class in which to keep my calm. I am a small business owner, a father, and a disabled veteran; and I cannot think of another time where I have had this much trouble keeping my mouth shut and my head down. Our professor has made it very clear that his viewpoint is the only one, yet constantly preaches open-minded thinking.

    1. Don’t you just love being somebody who has actually done and accomplished things, and being lectured about life lessions by somebody who never done anything of note? 🙂 Sort of like how when I end up arguing complicated finance or tax topics on FB with somebody who insists their opinions are equal, and their next post is about how they are struggling to pay the rent, or they just lost another crappy job. Or the people who don’t know the bullets come out the pointy end trying to argue gun control.

      1. Exactly. I find myself thinking about how you would respond quite a bit while I am in class. I really would love to hear your thoughts on Biss’ book, but don’t want you to have to go through the pain of reading it.

      2. I think my favorite was seeing several teachers I knew implicitly self-identify themselves (and most of their profession) as too incompetent to use simple machinery (like guns) that any shop-class kid or high schooler can learn – nevermind the typical HS graduate in the army – yet thinks their education degree renders them competent to teach those same kids and tell us how to run things. And us ignert types should just butt out.

    2. Thank you, sir, for your service and sacrifices, and for having the strength to keep your mouth shut when so many of us would, at the very least, walk out of the class laughing at the idiot.

  10. I think they were just trolling for traffic with this article…I’m betting that there is a quiet bet with some folks at Salon and elsewhere over who can write the most pretentious unthinking drivel and generate the most page views.
    My simple challenge to the Author would be to ask them to .commit some “Flesh and blood offspring commitment” on a more general socital level and move to Harlem, SS Chicago, Oakland or Detroit…for the betterment of all.

    1. Wondering if the 3 children are real?

      Remember reading: “getting drunk before basketball games with kids who lived at the trailer park ” ?

      Now you know.

      1. Oops: I was wrong. She wrote another article about having kids too late, and wishes she’d started having them 5 years earlier. My bad.

    1. You are the worst person ever. Sure, your kids will probably turn out as smart productive people, but dude, you made a liberal cry. How can you live with yourself?

      1. My brother (white lib from the Windy City/war zone) accused me of being racist when I told him we were either moving to a better school zone or home schooling (we did both). Though, now that he has a son they have a nanny and are going to either move out of down town to a suburb or send him to private school, because they only want what is best for his own.
        Again another case of do as I say not as I do.

        Oh and home schoolers are liberals worst enemy. We reject the basic model of mass education in general

    2. Almost as bad as I am: I substitute teach at a private school. Why? Because the public school won’t let me. You see I “only” have a PhD in history, not a BA in Ed.

  11. I guess she would LOVE me> I chip in to fund these palaces of failure and I have no interest vested or theoretical In the schools. I chipped in 535 dollars in CITY taxes (County City and State taxes where I live!) and they took that money and a crap ton of other folks… And they got some hefty donations, Did they buy a new computer lab, no how bout a science lab Nyet Tovarich, A LIBRARY PERHAPS? NO!!!! THEY WENT AND PUT UP A STADIUM WITH AN ASTROTURF F’ing FIELD! FOR THE FOOTBALL TEAM THAT CAN BARELY FIELD A TEAM! The PUBLIC SCHOOLS are SAD PATHETIC institutions that HOLD BACK the smart kids or worse in the quest to socialize learning put the smart kids in groups with the idiots in the HOPE that combined they get an average grade.

    1. Sounds like you’re in Texas. That is one of my huge gripes with US schools in general. There is way to much money spent on extracurricular things like sports. A local school district next to mine just spent millions of dollars to put in a video scoreboard for the high school football stadium. There is something definitely wrong with a high school football stadium having a video scoreboard.

      IMO, that money would have been better spent on academics. But, since high school football is the unofficial state religion of Texas, that is considered heresy.

      1. No I am a prisoner in the peoples republic of Maryland. And I would have the same issue with the idiots that did that in Texas too.

  12. Larry…I was so annoyed by the opening comments that I could not finish the article….I guess you could say that I am a liberal compared to most Republicans….but not as liberal as the Democrats..I am an Independent…as this person is crazy ….

    1. Oh, you should definatly read the whole thing then! And then go have words with the pseudo-journalists who self identify as being on your side, because they’re making y’all look nuts. 🙂

  13. …another brief observation, anybody sending kids to a school is a member of the Public…unless they work for the Govt. Private schools are populated and run by members of the Public. “Public” schools are actually Govt. schools. Yet members of the Govt. by large margins send THEIR children to “Private” schools.

  14. Larry, you made a mistake. Quick correction:

    “Let’s see, you want to sacrifice your children’s well-being for political correctness…”

    Should be:

    …you want to sacrifice the well-being of everyone’s children…

  15. Do you hate me, Larry? I trusted you, and you exposed me to this shite! Ahhhhh! It burns! The stupid burns!

    1. I’m doing you a favor. It may hurt now, but you’ll be innoculated against collectivist arguments later. 🙂

      1. >I’m doing you a favor. It may hurt now, but you’ll be innoculated against collectivist arguments later.

        You mean in a few generations. Right? Right?

  16. Im’a use this as a reading for students in my college Freshman composition class which starts in a few weeks! It will be a good example of empty, yet heartfelt, rhetoric. The spelling is fine, paragraph structure A-ok, but the ideas and content are wonderful examples of navel gazing. Then again, she’s a Slate writer, so she’s just singing to the choir.

  17. “my first thought was that it was a brilliant piece of satire by a free market libertarian who really hates collective do gooders…”

    Really, that was my reading, this whole thing is like an obtuse Randian caricature of “what liberals really think”. As a liberal all I can say is “this person does not represent us”. The essential error, the one I can’t get past and what makes me think this is satire, is that she doesn’t acknowledge the problems with public education as is or posit a reasonable alternative, or a means of reaching that alternative. Or even talk about the context i.e. the Neoliberal assault on the Chicago education system by the democrat mayor.

    If you’re interested in what a liberal who isn’t either taking the mickey or suffering from some sort of mental disorder has to say then read this:

      1. I wonder where people get the idea that criticizing the source of an argument means anything?

        Are the facts cited and the argument valid? That is all that matters, not if the source is Reason or Socialist Worker or the LA Times.

        (I actually got called liberal once for citing an article in the LA Times. All I wanted was the first Google search hit describing a particular event but did the moron care? No, he saw LA Times and his brain shut off.)

        1. When the source is known to be biased (like , say, Socialist Worker, the L.A. Times, etc) then its value as a news source is questionable, especially for certain items.

    1. Randian caricature? Speaking as an Objectivist, quite a few liberals of the last dozen years seem have told their speechwriters to use Rand’s villains as the basis for their speeches and policy advocacy in the last 20 years.

  18. Jee.
    What an ignorant, entitled, bint.
    “AP calculus for all”? Really?!

    Note that I speak as a alumnus of the nicest of Detroit’s “Penal Academys for Gifted Drive-By Shooters” — the same one that produced Ted Nugent and George C. Scott, in fact — and we had no “AP” curses at all, that I recall. You just had the option of taking more than the required math and science courses. Spanish, too, although I don’t recall if they had more than two years of French. (It was Detroit, so no Latin of Greek.)

    1. And, BY DEFINITION, you cannot have “AP” courses “for all”.

      AP = Advanced Placement.

      Alison just said, basically, she thinks that if you sacrifice your kids NOW, then EVERYONE will be “significantly above average” in a few decades. . .


      1. Libtards don’t believe in gifted people.

        They think that with the correct government bead rattling, and after spending enormous sums of cash, we can all somehow become “gifted”.

        Thinking that some people are genetically better than others is Racist!

    1. oh hell I advocate child abuse too. *if you use most liberal meaning of child abuse imaginable

      Percussive conditioning (known to most people here as a crack on the backside) is a TIME HONORED method of raising a child. Works a TREAT too. I’m sure everybody here deserved a whack on the butt and got more than a few.

      1. That IS education. I definitely learned when my parents applied the Board of Education to my Seat of Learning. Well, technically it was the Rod of Correction, my parents being horrible bitter clingers(wonderful Christians), but Board of Education makes a better joke.

  19. I got the shit kicked out of me the one year I went to a “normal” public school. Apparently, I was too smart because I could read. In second grade. When my parents got the call that I’d made it into a very exclusive alternative school, they cried and then went to work to help open a high school just like it (it stopped at 8th grade when I got in.) I was part of the first class to attend from beginning to end and I have been so grateful for that education. I got almost nothing from college but a piece of paper and a bad attitude because I didn’t bother to keep my mouth shut when my professors started spouting shit like this.

    My kids are currently in private school and, quite honestly, I’m gonna home school if I can start making enough money with my writing to be able to fund it. As it is, I’m paying for extra tutoring, classes and activities for the boy genius to keep him out of trouble.

    I’ve heard these arguments for years and the only real response is fuck her, fuck her collectivist arguments and keep your damn hands off my fucking kids.

  20. Wow. She makes me embarrassed to be female. I grew up in the crappy public school system (not as crappy as yours Larry) and it definitely put me behind when I got to college. If I can at all manage it, my children will not have to endure the same.

    I’m sorry Allison, but I care about my childrens’ futures. I’m not going to offer them a crappy public education so someone else can join the soccer team. And if parents ever did pull their children from the private schools, public schools won’t improve. They’ll get worse. There will be an overflooding of students that the public system isn’t equipped to handle. The same freaking problem with the healthcare bill.

    You want to fix the public schools? So would I, but the solution isn’t guilting parents into throwing their kids back into the public systems. It is getting the attention of people who actually have the power to make a difference and fixing the problems at the core. If that were to happen, parents would pull their kids out of private schools because there would be no need anymore.

    If you feel so passionately about public schools Allison, spend the effort getting the attention of those who can actually change the school systems, not guilting parents into throwing their kids in the snake pit with everyone else’s.

    1. That’s because “religious reasons” don’t even OCCUR to her.

      And, if they do, well, it’s just those WEIRD and RADICAL Christian people, and they’re idiots who should be forced to send their kids to a public school to counteract all that church-y brainwashing, don’tchaknow.

  21. I, and my children, had the wondrous gift of attending excellent public schools.

    In 1971 I was a student in my public high school’s first computer programming class, with hands-on access to IBM mainframes. I had superb science and math instruction, having benefited from great elementary and middle school teachers who recognized gifted students and handled them by giving essentially unlimited library access. My 9th grade algebra teacher recognized the first week that I had already completed the course work, and gave me a library pass for the class period for the rest of the year. The librarian assisted in getting materials so I could study astronomy.

    My kids, we arranged to transfer to the central city high school where a true academic track was available and where the administration had arranged to assemble the top academic instructors in the city into a single school. (Still do.)

    We also are blessed that in my state, the state constitution prevents the state board of education from setting curriculum and textbooks. The local school district does suffer under some unreasonable burdens — the after effects of being the name-defendant school district in Brown vs the Board of Education of Topeka Kansas, but the locally elected school board and the locally planned and executed curriculum, along with some absolutely inspired administrators have given us the blessing of a school system that mostly works.

    Which doesn’t mean that there aren’t private schools here that are better for some people. There are. But we are blessed. But then, we’re in Kansas, where the effects of federalism are somewhat reduced

    Can everyone had that? No. The world isn’t Lake Wobegon, and all the schools can’t be above average. And even in that great school, the kids who are NOT in the academic tracks, who don’t have the gift of an assembly of great teachers, don’t get the education that mine did. Still, it’s not the juvenile penal system many schools are,

    Lucky me. I had job offers throughout the dot com boom, companies trying to urge us to move to California. Each time, my wife and I would look at the kids, look at the offer, and laugh.

    Lucky me.

  22. I felt the burn so bad I had to put on ointment after the first paragraph. I think I blistered just from the reflected awesome fisking!

  23. You missed a point. My kids local PTA has a funding goal of about $5k-$5500. That is less than the funding of having one additional student show up. Yes, they get about $6500/student at your local school (Utah). National average is about $10k, DC average is about $28k.

    The teacher’s union isn’t the one wasting most of that money either. The teacher’s salary is probably about the first 1-2 rows of kids in their room. The other 18-30 students worth of funding goes to “expenses” while the teachers are having to bring school supplies from home.

  24. It’s satire. It has to be satire.

    Because if there now exists even one human being so incredibly stupid as to write something like this seriously, I’m thinking we’re about five minutes from the Apocalypse.

  25. I went to private school for grades K-12. And I will say that with pride, as well as great relief.

    Growing up, I lived well within blast radius of more than one public school. Which was terrifying in itself, since those schools never lacked in bomb threats. But anyway, my point is, both my parents and myself were more than happy to travel 20 minutes there and back each and every day to get me to a bombless, gangless private school. And it was well worth it. I studied hard. I gained genuine knowledge. (Wait, what’s that saying? Knowledge is power, power corrupts, study hard, be evil? Oh, so is that why this here journalist is accusing private schoolers of being “bad people”? Well, in that case, bring it on.)

    Anyway. Did my parents have to scrimp to afford private school tuition? Yes. Did they have to save up for it? Yes. And, yes, they even had to take out loans. What were they supposed to do? Rob a bank? Silly me, of course they were. After all, that’s what proper morally bankrupt folks do.

    And just for the record, the private high school I attended did not have a soccer team when I first started going there. So to remedy that, some of my classmates took it upon themselves to organize a soccer club that ultimately blossomed into a fully competitive team. I guess they didn’t get the memo that their ambition would have been better employed organizing drinking games at a trailer park. Silly kids.

  26. We were lucky – at least some of the local public schools are excellent. So we stretched all that we could to buy a home in that district, even though it cost considerably more than most other areas. This after we ran the numbers and decided that it made more economic sense than our original plan to send our kids to private school.

    If we hadn’t had the options we did, we would have home schooled.

    And Allison’s welcome to go bugger herself with a frag grenade if she thinks we should screw up *our* kids to assuage her sense of liberal guilt. In fact, I encourage her to, preferably before she reproduces.

  27. But Larry, don’t forget, that to a certain, nasty subsection of the Guilty Left, having a child knocked up, hooked on drugs, shot by a gang, or whatever else is seen as a ‘good thing’, a chance to become ‘authentic’.
    Hell, what better way to ‘humblebrag’ than talk about your child’s meth addiction.

  28. Thank you for this island of sanity. I read that article yesterday.

    My first reaction was that this couldn’t possibly have been written seriously. It has to be some sort of trolling. It has to be … right?

    I suppose I am a Bad Person. But then, when your choices are to be Good, or to be free, free wins hands down.

  29. My standard rule is to ignore anyone who uses “she” instead of “he” when sex is unspecified. This ditz just reinforces my conviction that that’s the right call.

  30. Gee Larry, tell us how you really feel. I agree that the author of the original essay sure does not seem very well educated, and at best has a minimal grasp on style and content. I’ve seen better essays written by my youngest grandson, who just started the third grade. The typical knee jerk reasoning that if you work to improve your life you are doing something anti-social. And to brag of your ignorance is, well, displaying ignorance. Her sort is exactly why the left is looked upon with such disdain by anyone capable of thought. Talk about Cloud Cuckoo Land, what reality does she live in, sure not mine!

  31. Not that I need it with the multiple shelf-foot backlog of books I’ve already got but I just told B&N to toss a copy of _Spellbound_ behind the counter to pick up on the way home tonight. I’ve only read the first teaser chapter of _HM_ so far but enjoyed the first two MHI (and have _Alpha_ sitting somewhere in the pile) so another sale made.

  32. Picked up by James Taranto editor of WSJ opinion this morning. As with Larry’s fiskings, I enjoy James’ as well. For those interested, the article is called:

    ‘Common’ Mistakes – When good people use bad logic.

  33. My money’s on the obvious: the article was a deliberate, flame-baiting troll put out specifically to stir shit up, to get Slate’s brand name back in the news and raise their website view count, which translates to ad rates — which makes the article that much more despicable. It has to be. They can’t possibly have let something that monumentally stupid go online for honest reasons.

  34. I read this woman’s jaw-droppingly stupid article and the only good that came of it was the link in the comments to your hilariously brilliant rebuttal. It made my day. I kept thinking that the original piece MUST be satire but sadly that seems not to be the case.

  35. At first I thought, “This is Slate? Sounds more like ‘The Onion’ to me.” As a former school teacher in an inner city school I can attest to everything you said. I recall graduates who couldn’t read what was written on their diplomas. As head of the art department in the HS I asked “what if I don’t sign this diploma, since I know this child cannot read?” The principal told me, “We’ll just find someone else to sing it.”

    She obviously has no children. Just wait until she has children and see how she feels about those mediochre, or worse, local schools.

  36. Public school? I went to public school out in the sticks back in the early 70s. Right next to a tiny little farming community. We had a book on astronomy in the high school library that didn’t even have Pluto in the list of planets. Pluto was discovered in 1930 and the book’s copyright was 1910. Yeah. Good luck with that science report, kids! And this was way before the 1974 creation of the US Dept of Education.

    And for the love of God, can we please stop this constant pissing and moaning about computers and high speed Internet in schools? Plastic Jesus was going on about “We need high speed Internet in our schools!” last week for the umpteenth time.

    Leaving out the fact this is a talking point from about 1994, the fact is that 99.9% of the kids in America already have high speed Internet. It’s called a smart phone. They have a handheld device that can access the sum total of man’s knowledge for thousands of years.

    And they’re using it to take dick pics and Instagram their fucking lunch.

    1. I sub at a private school. I can get information faster from the textbook index than the kids do using the ‘Net. Not that I’m going to let them know. (It’s been a loooong time since Latin IV and I need to keep them fooled).

  37. I caught this yesterday, and felt my brain swell. I’m sure glad you fisked it, maybe the pressure will go away now.

    Like many, I find myself thinking this HAS to be satire. The thinking is too broken to be real… and then there’s this*:

    The DOJ is suing in Louisiana to block a voucher program that allows kids to get out of failing schools. Because it “impeded the desegregation process.” Parents trying to get their kids a better life “can disrupt the racial balance in public school systems…”

    And my brain is swelling again.

    *(mild disclaimer: I haven’t researched the DOJ bit, so there could be [maybe] more to the story.)

  38. Just last night, I was at Curriculum night at the private school that my son is attending. I was in a whole room full of “Bad People”… And I could not be more relieved that we are making this work for my kid.

    I don’t care if liberals think I am bad for this. It is part of my job as a parent to take the “slings and arrows” to provide for him.

    Did I piss of a statist by sending a kid to private school. Good. That’s just icing on the cake.

  39. I read this to my wife last night and she didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. She printed up a copy to take to work this morning – she teaches at a private school and I’m sure her coworkers and boss are going to be equally amused/appealed by this idiotic waste of text and your amazing take down of it.

  40. I wish I could convince myself it’s satire, but I live in the part of Oregon that makes the rest of it want to secede, and this is only slightly more rabid than some of the comments I heard when we decided to homeschool. I have a child with Asperger’s who needs social and behavioral help to succeed both in a classroom setting and in life in general. He also has a very high IQ and is well above grade level academically. We did public school for Kindergarten. His class had 35 kids, including special needs and ESL students and kids who were pretty far behind. The kids in his class were still learning to count and say the alphabet, so he had to do the same. No meaningful social or behavioral support, no advanced work, no budget for anything beyond a playground aide who was responsible for helping 3 different kids on the autism spectrum not get bullied. Go figure, he was bored to (literal) tears and started having behavioral problems. After a long day in a loud classroom he had ZERO energy left to learn anything at home, in church, or in his social skills therapy. Know what he learned that year? Smart kids shouldn’t talk too much, it’s fine to be mean to other kids if it makes you friends, if you act out you get more attention, and you need an aide to function if you have issues.

    Crazy Liberal Lady thinks I’m a bad person for doing what’s best for my son? Thinks I should have left him there to give up on his potential and become an entry level mooch so he could do… what? Bring up the test scores a little? And I’m guessing she’d be just as peeved that I’m taking my professional skills and tax-generating income partially out of the workforce to do it. Screw that. I don’t owe her or her kids anything and neither do my children.

    What I find really interesting about all this is who does the complaining and who is supportive. People who thought homeschooling was a great idea: his teachers and his educational specialist at the school, his therapist, my entire family full of retired public school teachers, and pretty much every other adult that actually knows and cares about my child. The people who think we should have stuck it out and invested in public schools are generally either the ones who don’t have school-aged kids (“you should invest in the public schools it’s not FAIR”) or the ones who can afford to live in high-income districts with far more resources than ours (“I can’t believe you want to take on something so INVOLVED”).

    1. Years ago, I knew a (very liberal) lady who was active on the county school board. Had “support your public schools” stickers, etc. on her cars.

      Her kids went to private school.

  41. Larry I appreciate everything you said, it was everything that was going through my mind as I read this. However, I actually feel stupider for having read that ridiculous excuse of a “manifesto” I literally think I damaged my brain.

  42. 1. The fortune cookie line was really awesome. I hope we see that in a future book.

    2. Get back to Franks! We need his book to come out!

  43. We need to post this woman on the border to lecture all the “bad” Mexicans fleeing their cr@phole of a country instead of investing their children in its future. Shame on them. Who is going to stand up to the drug cartels, fight government corruption and strive against crushing poverty if huge numbers of Mexicans just “deplore these problems in the abstract” because they are hiding in America? They need to stay and fight and just maybe, in a few generations, things will be better. Or is the strategy of sacrificing your children on the altar of liberal ideals only for rich white people?

  44. Correia,

    Thank you for this! I’m a product of the public school system, and as much as I am proud of my accomplishments, and as much as I agree with the concept of the public school system, this was a truly horrible and deplorable “essay” out of Slate, and I appreciate your comments.

    I’m completing a Ph.D. in one of the engineering disciplines, I’ve got weapons and DoD-owned patents, I hold Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees in Physics and I’ve started my own businesses. My younger sister has already completed a Ph.D. in Cellular and Molecular Biology and her educational path has also been through the public school system.

    I failed the public school kindergarten entrance examination. Too stupid. Had to go to a private religious school to begin my education. I know that I can’t imagine the actual burden that put on my parents.

    In middle school (6th-8th grade), I went to the biggest middle school in the state. It was, as you so accurately relate, a form of gladiatorial training. Blood in the halls was not common, but not shocking. I watched 11-16 year-olds get beat unconscious. In the way of many liberal institutions, there were many high-reaching and heavy-handed rules, especially towards physical violence. I was a big kid, and enjoyed doing well in class. I’m sure you can imagine the reactions. After my first fight, I got to understand how useless these rules were when no one cared about enforcing them. I got more violent.

    In the 7th grade, I tried to quit the Gifted & Talented program at my public school. In my opinion, there was more learning in the classrooms than in that program. The program directors were horrible to me in ways that I didn’t understand, until my parents told me that they had met with the program director and the principal, and fought off an attempt to have me psychologically examined in an effort to keep me in that program. They told me that the director’s job depended on enrollment, hence the hostility. Eye-opening.

    My 7th grade Algebra teacher was a particular low point. She graded my work straight-up incorrectly. My work would be correct, yet graded as being incorrect, in the sense that I would write x3 instead of 3x, because I had been taught the commutative property and figured that she was aware of it as well. I would bring home bad grades, have them corrected by parents, and bring them back to school. It got bad enough that we got brought before the school board, and this teacher was right back doing her thing once we left the school district.

    We lived in the biggest city in my state. My mom had become a teacher at one of the inner-city schools, and there were tons of pregnancies and 18-year old freshmen, along with all of the violence you could expect. I was scheduled to go to one of the big public high schools. I was frankly terrified of the prospect. I thought that I hid my feelings from my parents, but they later told me that they knew.

    As a hilarious aside to the liberal dream of public schools, my middle public school did not allow the girls off of the bleachers during recess. As a weirdo middle-schooler, I made no unusual note of this situation. A year later, when my sister showed up, that all changed. My mother ended up writing a very severe and threatening letter to the principal. Once he “checked in” with her principal, and received confirmation that her threats were real, were the girls allowed off of the bleachers. As I heard, they went right back on, as soon as we left.

    Between middle school and high school, we moved to an extremely rural part of the state. I didn’t realize it at the time, but we were only just breaking into the middle class. Looking back, before that move, we were poor. I later found out that had we qualified for such programs as the free/reduced meals programs, but didn’t really need them, and didn’t use them. I didn’t feel poor, hell, my life was great.

    Our new location was rural enough that there was no private school system, and the public schools were K-12 institutions. This was a great place for me. My first year, I beat up a couple of my friends (still feel bad about that), because I perceived their harmless playing around as serious threats to my person. I got to take Ag classes, learn about cattle and pig farming, judge dairy livestock, learn how to weld, plumb, and rebuild small engines. I took typing and accounting classes. Rocking good time.

    At that school, I was fortunate to have good teachers. My high school science teacher was awesome. My teachers of geometry, civics, and american history changed my life, and challenged me in great ways. My civics/american history teacher got fired for caring more about academics than his baseball team. He also have a popular teacher’s son a F for cheating (Richly deserved, but politically inadvisable). He got me interested in things beyond math and science. When the results of the 1996 election were announced, he posed a question to the class: “We have elected a Democrat president and a Republican Congress. Why?”

    “Damage control!”, I yelled out.

    I was co-valedictorian of my graduating class. I received a scholarship from my father’s company (who I hope and plan of getting a job with! I promise that the Gulf Coast luuuuves its corporations) I felt threatened that I was too poorly educated in my high school experience to do well in college, and I busted my ass off. Got a 4.0 my first semester, and 3.8 my second. While a public school, my education was not entirely without value. Contrary to the Slate writer’s assertation, I got to take Calculus while in a K-12 school with less than 125 students in the 9-12 grades. I took the class by tele-learning, and concepts taught in that class were still being introduced in my Calc II course. My sister took the Calc class with me, and had she been interested, would have been able to take a Calc II course in high school! The Slate writer condemns public education with the tyranny of low expectations.

    My wife graduated from a private school. The school was larger than my public school, but in more of a sense of degree than order of magnitude. I thought that I was well read, until I saw her library. While the intrepid author of the Slate article can easily dismiss a lack of literary education, I was frankly intimidated and jealous. Her knowledge and collection of the classics made my library of guns, more guns, military history and aviation pale. While the Slate author can easily dismiss the lack of literary knowledge and culture, I realized what I had missed. There is no way that I would deny that knowledge to my children. All but one of her graduating class enrolled in college. Only two my sister’s class enrolled in college.

    My “Advanced Math” high school class (11th grade) was taught by a new teacher. I had loved my geometry and algebra teacher, and he really was great. The new teacher had her Bachelor’s in Psychology, and knew nothing of math. She introduced us to Sigma notation and said “This is all Greek to me.” My response was “YES! IT! IS!” I would go home and practice my lessons so often and so hard that I could figure out the problems ahead of her during classroom demonstrations. While this made me better, it only made me better. I felt that I was demonstrating her lack of competence, until she began asking me to explain the lessons to the rest of the class. I later grew up, and helped her to pass the PRAXIS (teacher certification test) in math. It was commonly accepted knowledge that she maintained a sexual relationship with the principal.

    I did really, really well on all of the standardized tests. That ability significantly aided in my efforts to acquire college scholarships, but is a horrible evaluation method. Being good at a standardized test means that you test well, and that’s it! All of these programs through tons on testing, and that’s soooo useless. I hated test days, because those were days that nothing was taught. Now, in the public schools, these are more important than ever. Teacher teach the test, because it is the test that is most important. That’s fucking criminal. The tests always look for a minimum level, and always get the minimum from the students. I recently read that a public school district changed where the students went to school to maximize the overall scores of the schools. If I had been moved, for that reason, I was full of enough hate to purposefully fail every single one of those tests.

    My sister just started teaching at a private, religious high school. She has plenty of discoveries of her own. She’s part of a program within the school that emphasizes pre-med and biology research to prepare the students for biology-emphasis research. If I wanted my kid to be ready to cure cancer, I know where I would send them. During my Master’s, I taught a university-level physics laboratory course. I was, legally, incapable of teaching high schoolers physics, but could teach physics at the university level to paying students. You figure that one out.

    My best friend and his wife looked at the local schools for their children. The public school students sat on floor “like zombies” while the private school students were engaged and learning. Now, their kids are home-schooled. You would be very hard-pressed to find kids who were more well-educated, well-mannered, and prepared for success than them.

    Public schools can be useful, but the “parental involvement” that the Slate author writes about often requires fighting dreary bureaucracy against tenured K-12 teachers (tenure at universities is stupid, but tenure at K-12? You gotta be fucking kidding me!), where success only gets your kid treated okay, and where they can be expected to be bombarded by minimum-level standardized tests taught by many minimum-level standardized teachers.

    Education is how people grow and change, but to suggest that the .gov has all of the best answers, and wanting the best for your kids, and grandkids (if it happens after your grandkids, biologically, it doesn’t matter to you. Biologically) is immoral, is a joke. Public school is a good idea, but rich schoolboards and idiots like Michelle Rhee and the Slate author who suggest that the best way to advance education by requiring everyone into the public system deserve the ridicule and mockery that you so richly provide.

    So yeah, thanks!

  45. I think you are nicer than i felt after reading this article. I feel the author, Allison, really is so blind to the actual problem that she feels that her writing will make things “better.”

    Curious if she also believes telling a house fire to “stop” would work too?

  46. Scary. In ten years time we will see another article from her boasting about ‘my daughter the crack whore’ and ‘my son in jail’ and how authentic that makes her.

    1. You think she will actually put her children in a crappy public school? HA HA HA HA HA.

      Those kids will be in private school, or in a public school that still teaches. It’s your kids that get sacrificed, not hers.

  47. As a public school graduate, a recently certified, practicing public school teacher, a long-time adjunct college professor, a self-professed bleeding heart liberal, and a mother, this woman is nuts.

    There’s a reason I’m choosing to homeschool my child. If I could afford the $8,000/yr/kid for the sole local private school, I would send my child there, but I can’t afford it. Yes, I live in a district where 75% of my property tax goes towards school levies (that don’t include football stadiums), in what is arguably the best school district in my state, in the only state with a national A+ rating for school technology access.

    Has this author actually been in a public school classroom in the last year? I’m not even talking about the occasionally awesome public schools of our youth (yes, they could be awesome). Or even some of the well-regarded test-prep factories of 10 years ago. NCLB and RTTP have broken the back of what was left of our public schools–and let’s not even discuss what should be the international embarrassment of school districts like Philadelphia.

    I’ve been in that classroom recently, and it’s ugly. I prefer that my child not spend upwards of 1.5 hrs/day for weeks on end on test prep to make the school look good. Or be in a kindergarten class where the teacher and aid spend the entire math instruction period on their phones, on Facebook. Or be in a second-grade class where she is referred to by a number instead of her name, as in “12, 17, sit down and finish your worksheets. 13, be quiet, and put your head on the desk.” Or have NO social studies or science from kindergarten through 5th grade, in order to meet Common Core requirements. Or where teachers are instructed to pick a child, who isn’t doing anything particularly wrong, in the first couple of weeks of school, and publicly tear them a new one, preferably to the point of tears, in order to strike fear into the hearts of students who don’t recognize authority–but do recognize mean and crazy. Or in a classroom where the teacher has to sign a weekly affidavit that they covered X pages out of the textbook on X day, using the provided script in the teacher’s manual–or face losing their job in yearly evaluation. I’m not exaggerating. I’ve seen all these things in action, up close and personal.

    It’s easy to blame teachers, because, y’know, we’ve all been in school, and we all think we know how it works. But very few people have actually tried to teach in this poisonous school atmosphere, with kids who recognize no authority or manners, being held liable to sticking to a script written in a textbook’s teacher’s manual. You can’t stop and teach kids who don’t get it, or work with kids who are bored out of their gourds, because your job depends on sticking to that script, and referring to cowed kids by number instead of names, processing them like the “product” they’re supposed to be.

    No, no, I’m not sticking my kid in that, and I refuse to have some ignoramus who has never actually been a teacher make me feel guilty about it. In fact, I think that if most public school parents sat for a week in their child’s classroom, and just watched, they’d pull their children out too.

  48. going to school with poor kids and rich kids, black kids and brown kids, smart kids and not-so-smart ones, kids with superconservative Christian parents and other upper-middle-class Jews like me was its own education and life preparation.

    Oddly enough, I went to an almost all-white, wealthy private high school, and somehow the lack of “education and life preparation” in the sense of “going to school with stupid and violent people” has yet to hold me back. I don’t work with stupid and violent people, and therefore I lost nothing by not going to school with them. I didn’t even need to go to school with them to know why I want to avoid them like the plague they are.

  49. Epic. Thank you for an entertaining Sunday morning. I’ve been reading this aloud to friends over coffee. There has been a fair amount of snorting, but no injuries so far -although even though everyone here went to a public school. See, we all went out, got jobs producing things of real value and learned how to work with people, earn our way and even save and invest.

    Now we are going to go down to the dock, get in the boat, cruise on over to a tiki bar and enjoy a day of rest and recreation.

    1. Hey, take it up with the original author who self identifies as a liberal, writing for a liberal entity, who mentiones liberal guilt.

      1. I don’t blame you one bit. 🙂 It’s that broad stroke on either side that drives me crazy. I follow a rather moderate path myself because I like to see both sides of an issue. Open heart about people, sure, but I’m a college grad who attended parochial school her entire life whose parents CHOSE to live in a low SES side of town so they could send me. I work an entry level job since my degree is in writing and I was too busy studying and working to do an internship (and I had none recommended to me at an extremely liberal small college, sometimes even flat out ignored–go figure). But my complaining about what could/should/would have happened doesn’t change where I’ve come from or what I’d chose to do. Having the uptown/lowtown experience has largely shaped the way I am and that includes the way I think.

        I’d prefer to send my future children to a good private school. The world as a whole is largely a messed up place that just EXISTING in it will teach a lot. Reading, watching the news, just staying informed makes a difference that hiding behind layers of crap simply won’t do.

        I like my freedoms but I also like people being responsible and being held accountable for their actions.

        And that’s actually a really big reason I’ve enjoyed your books and your firm opinions here on the blog. You stick to your guns–literally and figuratively–, and you actually write three-dimensional women.

        I’ve gotten this crap from both sides and too much of anything, including tenets of thought, never brings good with it. Thanks for actually being outspoken as well as receptive to the intelligent people who come by and comment whether they share your views or not. 🙂

  50. What a massive chunk of gloriousness. I likewise went through murderously dangerous Los Angeles public schooling, barely escaped with my skin – and when I have offspring, I will keep them as far from that trial-by-fire as possible. In really rough gang-saturated schools, kids are lucky to not be beaten up or worse, and luck isn’t a skill, no matter how gifted your child is…..

  51. Larry, I never heard of you before… but after reading this, I just added all of your available books to my Audible queue. Thanks.

  52. The Whining Wing Nut Drinking Game!

    Take 1 shot for every mention of WHITE LIBERAL GUILT.

    Take 2 shots for every comparison of to Stalin.

    Take 3 shots for every grovelling mention of bootstraps.

    Finish the bottle when you can smell Reagan’s anus on the breath of the blog writer.

    1. And notice his nickname. This retard is probably whiter than Larry.

      Libtards are always the most racist assholes on the planet.

  53. You sound very angry, unhappy and selfish.
    Just a suggestion but I like to try and be a bit idealistic, maybe it’s how ‘living in the real world’ gets better..

    1. So my wonderful family and I live in a giant house in the mountains next to a ski resort, and I paid for the whole thing with my many bestselling novels. I’ve been blessed to be successful in multiple careers, I’m well known, and important people actually care what my opinion is on stuff. BUUUUUUUUUZZZZZZZZZZ. Wrong answer! Try again! I disagreed with a liberal! BADTHINK! BADTHINK! Obviously I must be angry, unhappy, and selfish!

      Dumbass. 😀 You forgot to add that I was racist!

      1. In libtardia, anyone who deviates from groupthink is either evil, or a cousin-humping redneck retard in need of education by the libtard collective.

  54. I went to a public charter school K-12 (same school system all 13 years). My school was reasonably good (even my American history teacher was pretty good. Thoroughly a son of the South, but good).

    So stories about schools like hers began, for me, as abstract horror stories.

    And then I actually met people who went to schools like that.

    The horror isn’t so abstract anymore.

    1. Heh. Those are funny. I like how they immediately fall into The Pattern. I’m not a real writer. How dare I use labels!?

      And the one guy who said my making fun of Allison made him more inclined to agree with Allison, wow, it must be hard going through life with such a soft, pliable skull. 😀

      EDIT: And at least now I know where I got the influx of incoherent trolls from this morning.

  55. I’ll just add, as a coda, that Allison Benedikt has apparently previously disclosed that she is raising three kids in an 1100 sq ft apartment, and they are unable to even consider upgrading their living space until the kids start school & they are no longer are paying $5,000 per month for childcare.

    With that in mind, I’d like to suggest that her real motives in writing this article are guilt and envy. She’s just reframing her guilt over her own decision to public school her kids as superior morality. Oh, and hating on those who can afford private school and spacious living accommodations.

    1. Once again, I’m shocked that somebody who sucks at life feels the need to lecture those of us who have done okay.

      1. Hey, I resemble that remark! Seriously though, let’s not imply that everyone having trouble making ends meet “sucks at life” – especially now, in the depths of the Obamaconomy.

        Lots of good folks are having hard times – and not all of us/them voted for this shit. (Arguably, I, personally, do suck at life. My husband, OTOH, in no way deserves the occupational crap sandwich with which he has been presented lately.)

        1. Hey, if you’ve seen my bio, you’d know that I’ve been poor and broke before too. Even said in this post the bit about tried and failed and tried again. That’s normal. Allison on the other hand, just sucks at life.

  56. I’d sooner sell my soul than send my kids to a school that wasn’t damned near 100% white and private with an excellent track record.

    If that makes me one of those ‘evil’ conservative racists in the eyes of crackpots like this woman, well, I just don’t know how I’ll live with myself, Ha!

    1. I don’t think skin color has anything to do with it. Base it on results and quality, and ethnicity should remain irrelevant.

  57. This was the first time I could make it all the way through the article. I learned something new this time around that nearly gave me a stroke. She’s Jewish. That floored me. I’m Jewish, and was raised in an upper-middle class Jewish community in Miami. It is DEEPLY engrained in Jewish culture that education is a paragon of value. As my mother used to say “nothing I ever did for my children was wasted.” Ask my father (the lawyer) about my (and my sister’s) private school education and he would tell you “My children’s education was my Mercedes-Benz.” What did $30,000/year in prep-school get him? A published author and PhD in materials engineering (me) and a clinical researcher in extremity trauma at Johns Hopkins (my sister). And yes, as this fisking explains, it’s all about upward mobility. My great-great grandfather was a dirt farmer from Russia, my great grandfather was a iron worker in NY, my grandfather was a bagel baker, dad is an attorney, and I design artificial body parts for wounded soldiers.

    As for me, I’ll tell you I am thankful that I went to private school. As a child, I was diagnosed with “mild autism” now thay would call it ASD/Apserger’s. I was taken (at the counselor’s advice) to the local public special ed school. They tried to turn me into a janitor. Not kidding. The point of the program was to get all the special ed kids to a minimum level or performance where they (we) could (barely) function as adults. My mother yanked me out and enrolled me in montessori school. I discovered an aptitude for math and science. I was then sent to a private high school, took all the AP math/science courses I could, and 10 years after graduating, framed my third degree in engineering. This woman can talk about a “mediocre education” for the “good of the cause” all she wants but all I can here is her saying to my face “you should have been a janitor.”

    1. Farmer
      Iron worker
      Building badass cyborgs

      Now there is a family that gets it. Stand on the shoulders that came before so you can have more opportunites that your ancestors, and do the same for you children. Awesome. 🙂

  58. Our sixth home schooled child is a junior. He limited himself to one varsity sport (in NH homeschoolers can play sports) for this and next year so he can concentrate on his studies. He wants to be a vascular surgeon. We (my wife — I’m the “principal”) home school for practical (on three continents and in five states) and faith (read Deuteronomy 6 about the parents’ responsibility to teach God’s ways to their children) reasons. We have worked diligently at this, with not insignificant financial sacrifice (and smilingly paying for schools we don’t use!) since 1988 and will be finished in 2016. Here’s a question for the “leprechaun riding a unicorn:” If the NEA is pushing for smaller class size and more parent involvement, then isn’t a parent tutoring the child at home the ideal model? Besides, if the mom starts talking to herself, she can always say it’s a parent-teacher conference! I recommend reading “Carry On, Mr. Bowditch” and learn there what is “ash breeze.” PS – What really frosts the utopians is taking PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY, for it is the “Green Kryptonite” that frees the human mind, soul, and spirit from the slavery Marxism and its euphemists enforce.

  59. I note that Ms. Benidikt urges all parents to send their children to public schools in the hope that, after twenty to forty years, they will be able to improve said schools.

    Come again? If the schools are so bad that no one can be expected to improve them for a generation or two, perhaps they can’t be improved at all.

    Some years ago I was talking with a very liberal friend of mine about the problems of the public school system. His remedy “Fire everyone involved, burn them to the ground, sow the land with salt, and start over.” He made much more sense than Ms. Benidikt.

  60. This is a thing of beauty, Larry.

    I love the baseline assumption of this piece that the only people who could possibly do anything to improve the state of public schools are the parents who have enough gumption to send their kids to private school. Presumably because the parents of the kids who are still stuck in private schools are a bunch of useless lumps.

  61. Hey Larry, I liked this article enough to immediately order your Monster Hunter trilogy off Amazon. I’m about half way through the second book now.

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