RUSH: Scott in Amarillo, Texas, you’re next, sir. Thank you for waiting.
CALLER: Hey, Rush, how are you today?
RUSH: I’m fine. Thank you, sir.
CALLER: Rush, I’ve been an educator for 20 years, and in those 20 years I’ve seen a lot of changes in our educational system, trying to keep up with the technology of our society. I’m really concerned that our current educational system could possibly be — and I wanted to ask your opinion about this — educating a generation of Americans out of the labor market. And what I mean by that is, you know, no matter how technologically advanced our society becomes, we are always going to need bricklayers and concrete workers and road workers and steelworkers.
RUSH: Oh, no, no, no, no. No, no, no, no, no. Illegal immigrants do that stuff now.
CALLER: I know, but my point is, our current educational system seems to be so geared to making everyone scientists and mathematicians —
RUSH: Well, it ain’t working! (laughing)
CALLER: — and physicists, and I’m just concerned that in 30 years, we’re going to have a generation of Americans that will not do labor, and the only people that will are the immigrants. I know as an educator myself the demand —
RUSH: Well, now, wait, wait. Wwait just a second. Two things here. You may have a point, but how is it that we’re educating people out of the manual labor market? How does that happen?
CALLER: When I have kids in my school, the kids that I teach, and I know that because of No Child Left Behind, and the demands that it puts on myself as an educator —
CALLER: — when I have a kid who isn’t passing the subject that I teach —
RUSH (whispering): I should have known. (sigh)
CALLER: — it’s as if they’re trying to get me to get a kid who isn’t gifted for math —
CALLER: — he’s not interested in math, and it’s the educator’s fault. I’m not teaching it right. I need to get this kid interested. I need to teach it a certain way.
RUSH: No, no, no. Wait, wait a minute. You’re talking kids? What are we talking about here?
CALLER: Well, personally I teach middle school.
RUSH: That’s junior high school.
RUSH: But math is part of a well-rounded education.
CALLER: Yes, it is.
RUSH: Just because somebody wants you to get the kid to do well on his math scores, does not mean you’re steering him to MIT! You know, people that lay bricks and people that run companies that hire bricklayers, everybody in the world needs mathematics.
RUSH: You have to have some kind of understanding in it.
CALLER: Well, I’m not saying… I know that every kid needs math. I mean, we need to teach these kids reading and writing and arithmetic.
RUSH: Well, what are we going to start?
CALLER: I know that these things need to be done, but it just seems that our current educational system is so focused on making everyone Einsteins, that in 30 years we’re going to have a generation of Americans —
RUSH: Oh, now…
CALLER: That’s what I wanted to ask your opinion about.
RUSH: Look, I respect your thoughts on it, and you’re in the education system, but if that’s our objective, we know it isn’t working. The scores prove it. We have too much indoctrination going on in schools, too much stuff that doesn’t even… I’m happy to hear that they’re making you teach math. It sounds like you’ve got a problem with No Child Left Behind because you’ve got an accountability problem and you gotta get kids going into certain — math and science, because the scores were low, because there was no performance there. I took all those courses. Look at me. I’m not out in the high-tech fields and so forth. I’m a common laborer. This is a lunch pail job. I can’t be late.I’ve gotta be here what I’ve got be here. I’ve gotta do a lot of work to get ready to be here. I don’t get to go to lunch. I don’t do any of these things. A lot of people that are out laying bricks or whatever the manual labor you’re talking about, building roads and so forth, a lot of them got decent math scores when they were in school. It was required. It was called well-rounded education.
Now, the reason we were lagging behind is because rather than teaching math, is we’re teaching conflict resolution and we’re teaching what a great guy Bill Clinton was with only one or two sentences on Abraham Lincoln in your average history textbook. They’ve gotten way out of whack here — and we started punishing the achievers. ‘Well, it’s humiliating these kids doing too well,’ and so we couldn’t offend the kids that weren’t doing well, and said we weren’t really trying to push these high achievers to reach their potential. But, you know, education is an interesting thing, and one of the great things about an education is, among other things — regardless how you get it — is that it’s probably one of the key factors (not the only; there are exceptions) in how people figure out what they want to do in life. So? If your kids happen to want to be physicists, encourage ’em. If they want to be scientists, encourage ’em — unless they want to go into global warming, and then they won’t be scientists. They’ll be activists and politicians. The concern that you have that we’re not going to have enough people to do these kind of jobs, I don’t think that’s going to be the case whatsoever. Because people are who they are, and if you have a bunch of kids showing an aptitude toward these high level pursuits, get behind ’em. Help them light the fire. Help them get there.