If you didn't catch it, last weekend, Matt Damon railed out on a Libertarian Reason.tv reporter and her cameraman at a Save Our Schools rally. The reporter, Michelle Fields, asked him why he doesn't think job insecurity should be an incentive for teachers. Then, Damon's response was so passionate, so right-on, it was cheer-worthy. He said what she was insinuating was "like saying a teacher is going to get lazy when they've got tenure ... A teacher wants to teach!"
Damn straight! But that didn't stop far right-wingers from weighing in on the debate, calling Damon's bluff. For instance, Michelle Malkin from FOX News today wrote a column called, "Matt Damon's Silly Teacher Rant."
In short, Malkin ripped Damon as a "walking public-service reminder to immunize your children early and often against La-La Land disease" and discussed how the reason our kids are falling short in education these days should be directly attributable to ...
... today's teachers -- churned out through lowest-common denominator grad schools and shielded from competition -- have barely mastered those skills themselves. Un-educators have abandoned "drill-and-kill" computation for multicultural claptrap and fuzzy math, traded in grammar fundamentals for "creative spelling," and dropped standard civics for save-the-earth propaganda.
Someone, please enlighten me, what planet is this woman living on?! My aunt has taught in the Miami, Florida public school system as a math educator for 30 years. Almost 90 percent of my closest friends are professional EDUCATORS. (By the way, last I consulted my old pal Merriam-Webster, "un-educator" is not a word, Michelle. What kind of education did YOU receive?) They all busted their asses in undergrad and later, grad school, so that they could work all hours of the day, making not-so-terrific money, and teaching kids at all different levels, from all different socioeconomic backgrounds art, science, math, literature, journalism, or "just" their ABCs.
They, like Matt Damon, are passionate about what they do; they don't need to be threatened by someone who has never stood in front of a classroom, but is perfectly comfortable slashing money for education and busting up "evil" unions. They don't have to be told "shape up or ship out" in order to do an amazing job and get results from their students. Neither did the elementary and high school teachers we grew up with in the Illinois public school system, who taught my peers and me history in creative, college-level ways (formal debates, researched essays, or even writing poetry); who prided themselves on crafting students who would succeed as well in AP Calculus as they did in AP Art; who helped students, from gifted to challenged, learn by opening our eyes to art, culture, architecture, music, language, theater -- just as frequently as we got down to basics in the chemistry lab or algebra classroom.
No student or teacher I know considers a standardized, No Child Left Behind BS test a valuable educational tool. Filling in little bubbles cannot prove a child has learned a thing. How you like them apples?
Malkin's and Field's views are the kind that could take this country back in time, when children were considered better off in a factory than in the classroom. Fear-mongering our teachers and our children into succeeding isn't the answer.
Here's the video of Matt's exchange with Reason.tv if you missed it:
What do you think about what Matt Damon and Michelle Malkin are saying about education?
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