RUSH: Dave in Corona, California, welcome to the EIB Network, sir, on Open Line Friday.
CALLER: Rush, thanks for taking my call. This is something I feel very passionate about, and it’s very important to me, and near and dearest, when you said the schools are more than happy to change their customers out to dry. It’s always been more the rule than the exception with any publicly funded education in America. I think it’s amazing that a lot of people don’t even realize how much money goes into education, and who’s happy with it? Who’s pleased with it? And I’d like to talk a lot about what I think the root problem with the system is.
RUSH: You know, first of all, you’re absolutely rightly. People have to clue how much money goes into education. I think that they would be stunned if it could be explained in an understandable way to them. It’s like, “Well, we’re going to increase the defense department by $99 billion.” Nobody can visualize that. That’s not a simple number. Ted Kennedy and the president in his first term signed an education bill that sent spending through the roof, something to the tune of $700 billion, and then the No Child Left Behind Act. Tat cost more money, and still every year in every campaign, “We need more money for education. We need more money,” and the return we’re getting on the investment certainly doesn’t match what we should be getting. We had far greater education results at all levels and grades years and years and years ago, when we didn’t spend nearly as much money on it. What’s your theory about what went wrong, when?
CALLER: Well, it’s not a theory. No Child Left Behind was a good act, and if memory serves correct, that’s the one by President Bush, right?
RUSH: That’s correct.
CALLER: All right. That one was the one that the teachers unions were very, very, very upset about, and I think it’s the best thing Bush has done in his presidency, and that is to put metrics on the performance of teachers. Everybody out there that’s listening to this program is measured and answers to a boss that says, including you, that says you need to do X, Y, and Z during your job, and it’s measured based on, you know, how many calls you get, how many customers you get, how many listeners you have. But public education is not measured by how much they teach. They’re measured by attendance. There’s only one thing every school in America does, and that is take attendance because they’re paid on attendance.
RUSH: That’s right.
CALLER: Everything else is negotiable, including teaching students the ability to read. They can get paid and not even teach somebody to read, but as long as they get attendance, they get paid. If they didn’t even do attendance, they don’t get paid.
RUSH: Precisely right. There are many reasons for this, but one of the primary reasons is that unions negotiate these contracts, and unions are very politically involved, and they can extract a lot of give-back for the money for the various candidates.
CALLER: Exactly right, exactly right, and the teachers union in America is one of the hugest unions, because there’s so many people in it, there’s so much money in it — and I think the American public is mostly ignorant to it, because I don’t think the media wants to touch it. I think you’re one of the few people that’d even be brave enough to bring it up. This is a huge, huge thing. I think the Drive-By Media wouldn’t even be as bold as they are if education was better in America, and I think it’s great that people like President Bush and other funding is being tied to how much people learn and how much people teach because there’s huge resistance to it.
RUSH: Let me ask you this, Dave. We’re talking with Dave in Corona, California. I always like to look at motivation when discussing things like this. You just laid it out pretty well. There is very little accountability for teachers in this country today based on what they teach, whereas everybody else’s job performance is rated on their productivity or their achievement or accomplishment. In school, as long as the attendance is there, everything is considered to be hunky-dory because of the payback for it. Now, why do you think this is? Aside from the fact that you can cite a couple of unions here and there which negotiate contracts for their workers that give them more time off, more vacation time, shorter workdays and so forth. We all know this. I’ve gotten in trouble even for saying it, even after we’ve proven it to be true in the case of a couple unions, but besides that, besides the desire for unions to always get more money for less work, what do you think the motivation is for not teaching people to read? What do you think the motivation is for not caring about results in school?
CALLER: You don’t need a motivation. You don’t need a motivation.
RUSH: No, no.
CALLER: The only thing you need is a lack of observable productivity. If you take any workforce, it doesn’t matter how important your job is, it doesn’t matter how valuable or how much people believe in their job, if you have a system where workers are not measured based on how much they work and they’re not rewarded based on how much they work, everything becomes political. If you talk to any very competent teacher, they will express a lot of frustration to you about how the system works and that how they could do an exceptional job in inspiring students to learn and inspiring students to overachieve, and there’s no reward for it, and the question is, why?
RUSH: Well, because they’re members of unions. That’s one thing. A union negotiates contract for masses of groups of people, and whether the individual worker or teacher outshines any of the others, he’s still going to get paid the same, based on the union contract. So there isn’t any financial motivation, aside from what your union going to give you to outshine or do anything — no financial motivation to do anything — better. There might be devotion to career. But this leads me to the next question.
RUSH: Most people in this country for the longest time, and I think many of them still, have a glowing opinion of the public schools, and they believe that people in the education system from the top down are genuinely interested in educating American children.
CALLER: Well, I don’t think they believe that at all.
RUSH: Who doesn’t believe it?
CALLER: I think for the first time people don’t believe it. You’ll talk to people, and all these people will say, “We need more money in education. Education is very important.” You won’t hear a lot of glowing enthusiasm for the job that we’re doing. I think a lot of people acknowledge there is a problem in education. Nobody understands what that problem is.
RUSH: Well (sigh), those two might not totally accompany each other. If they realize there’s a problem, they have to have some idea why. But look, let me take a break because I’m up to it on time, but I’m going to find a different way to phrase the question. I’m talking about image. The image that education in this country — you just said it yourself. Everybody constantly says, “Our kids gotta get educated. I want my kids to get educated,” and when parents have a chance who can’t afford it to get their kids out of public schools, they take it. Why? Why do they do this? They know something is not right in there. My question to you is, with all this image that people have had of public education — that it is fabulous, that it’s important, and that people in it genuinely care about education. Look it, when I went to school my parents told me the teachers were always right. They had the utmost respect for them, and so did I. Those teachers were brilliant. They were not politicizing anything, and they were not proselytizing and they were not indoctrinating. I’m going back to the fifties and sixties. Something’s changed somewhere along the line. That does not happen now. It obviously doesn’t when so many graduates can’t lead the diploma, as you brought up. Now, the motivation for what’s happening in the public school system on the part of people who run it is interesting to me.
RUSH: I don’t think that the lack of performance either by students or teachers in the public school system is simply because there’s no remuneration or compensation for excellent effort. I think it goes deeper than that, and I think it goes to who runs public education, and this where you may get mad at me, but the National Education Association is well known to be politically active. I used to have a sponsor, the Orange Juice Growers of Florida, and they mounted a national ban, way back in the early nineties, to have the orange growers not advertise. That had nothing to do with education. They’re a very political group, and they’re very, very liberal — and to liberals, liberalism is the motivating thing in their lives, and the education system is the greatest opportunity they have to get hold of young, impressionable minds, and to shape them into the worldview that liberals think is right and that everybody should have.
This is why Algore’s movie is being shown to second and third graders all the way up to sixth graders because they’re trying to inculcate or indoctrinate in as many of these kids as possible in their minds that Gore’s version of global warming is indeed fact, because they know these kids are going to grow up and the thing they’re trying to get them tuned to is that government’s great; the bigger the government is better, and rely on government for all the answers. Look at the multicultural curricula in all these schools. The founding of the country, the discovery of the country was unjust and immoral, and everything that’s happened since then has been one giant crime, from slavery to kicking the Indians off the land.
CALLER: Yeah, yeah. I completely understand that part of your point, but the thing is, is that you’re assuming that they’re organized enough to understand even the basis of their goals, and the problem is they don’t have that much control. Listen, listen, I — I don’t — I — There’s a lot… You know, most of what you say I absolutely don’t respect. I don’t like our presidency. [sic] I am about as far liberal as you can be, I’m a pacifist, my biggest hero is Gandhi, but I don’t even want to get into all of that. What I want to do is what I agree on and what I know. I failed out of high school at the age of 15. My y school counselor came to me and said, “Look, you’re too smart here and to be on the five-year program. We want you to take a test and get out of here,” and most schools wouldn’t care about that. This is what he said word-for-word. “Most schools would not care about this, but we’re more concerned about our graduation rate than to get funding for you to be here for an extra year. So we want you to take a test and get out.” So he was saying he is the exception to the rule.
CALLER: And the problem is that when we don’t have a workforce… Imagine any job in the world. Imagine your job, and imagine your job had nothing to do with the amount of listeners that you got, imagine the commercials were guaranteed paid every day, okay? And the only thing you had to do was count paper clips on your desk every morning. Well, your workplace would turn into something completely politically motivated, and it would be whoever could manipulate whatever power they had —
CALLER: — in your office would get a job. It would have nothing to do with the listeners.
RUSH: We agree. You just don’t know it yet. Using the scenario you just described: if the commercials are going to be there and if my show is guaranteed and it doesn’t matter to me whether I have an audience — which, by the way, with my own constitution, is not possible. I could not work that way, but if that scenario presented itself, I would have total freedom, and if I happened to be an ideologue and nothing else, then I would use the forum I had, if that’s what I cared most about. I’m telling you. You admitted you’re a liberal, and I understand that. There’s too much that’s been going on in the public school system all the way up to major institutions of higher learning to just discount the notion that ideology and a desire to influence as many people as possible politically and ideologically, is the driving force of the powers that run the education system. Maybe the teachers couldn’t care less about it, but they’re part of it.