Tag Archives: Rick Santorum

Education is the Work of Teachers, not Hackers

by Leon Wieseltier, The New Republic, December 21, 2012

WHEN I LOOK BACK at my education, I am struck not by how much I learned but by how much I was taught…. …Not long ago Rick Santorum, if you’ll pardon the expression, delivered himself of this tirade: “I was so outraged by the president of the United States for standing up and saying every child in America should go to college. … Who are you to say that every child in America go? I, you know, there is—I have seven kids. Maybe they’ll all go to college. But if one of my kids wants to go and be an auto-mechanic, good for him. That’s a good paying job.” He was responding wildly to Barack Obama’s proposal that “every American … commit to at least one year of higher education or career training. This can be community college or a four-year school; vocational training or an apprenticeship.” Obama was not forcing Flaubert down a single blue-collared throat. Indeed, Obama and Santorum were regarding education from the same stunted standpoint: the cash nexus, or the problem of American “competitiveness.”…

THE PRESIDENT IS RIGHT that we should “out-educate” other countries, but he is wrong that we should do so only, or mainly, to “out-compete.” Surely the primary objectives of education are the formation of the self and the formation of the citizen. A political order based on the expression of opinion imposes an intellectual obligation upon the individual, who cannot acquit himself of his democratic duty without an ability to reason, a familiarity with argument, a historical memory. An ignorant citizen is a traitor to an open society. The demagoguery of the media, which is covertly structural when it is not overtly ideological, demands a countervailing force of knowledgeable reflection. (There are certainly too many unemployed young people in America, but not because they have read too many books.) And the schooling of inwardness matters even more in the lives of parents and children, husbands and wives, friends and lovers, where meanings are often ambiguous and interpretations determine fates. The equation of virtue with wealth, of enlightenment with success, is no less repulsive in a t-shirt than in a suit. How much about human existence can be inferred from a start-up? Shakespeare or Undrip: I should have thought that the choice was easy. Entrepreneurship is not a full human education, and living is never just succeeding, and the humanities are always pertinent. In pain or in sorrow, who needs a quant? There are enormities of experience, horrors, crimes, disasters, tragedies, which revive the appetite for wisdom, and for the old sources, however imprecise, of wisdom—a massacre of schoolchildren, for example.

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A Letter from Rick Santorum

NEW YORK (The Borowitz Report) – Today, former Senator Rick Santorum issued the following letter to the American people.

Dear American People:

When I think about government-mandated healthcare, I have the same response that any mature adult would have: it makes me want to throw up.

That’s why, on my first day as President, I will repeal ObamaCare. Well, actually, on my very first day I’m going to repeal the Renaissance. And also the theory of evolution. But I will definitely get rid of ObamaCare by Day Three, Four at the latest.

You see, ObamaCare runs counter to my well-documented position on personal freedom: I believe in the rights of the unborn child, until it’s born and wants a checkup.

What will take the place of ObamaCare? As your President, I will institute SantorumCare™, a healthcare plan that will cover absolutely no medical procedures whatsoever except one: exorcism.

For many years, possession by the devil has been America’s number one health problem, far more serious than those posed by cigarette manufacturers who have funneled millions to my PACs. You don’t have to take Rick Santorum’s word for it that America is in the grips of a devil-possession epidemic: just watch any episode of “Jersey Shore.”

You’re probably saying to yourself, “Government-mandated exorcisms are a great idea, Rick. But how will we find the devil babies to exorcise?” Good question, and I have a good answer: on my first day as President, I will order mandatory transvaginal ultrasounds for every woman in America.

These ultrasounds will be a prerequisite to getting a driver’s license at the DMV, where there’s plenty of downtime for such a procedure. Additionally, they can be easily and safely performed by TSA employees on the airport security line. If an ultrasound turns up any telltale signs of a devil baby (e.g. horns or tail) we’ll schedule the woman for her government-mandated exorcism there and then.

I hope after reviewing SantorumCare™, you’ll agree that it’s the best healthcare plan out there for you and your family. But just in case you’re not sold yet, maybe this will seal the deal: leeches are 100% covered.

Vote for me,

Rick

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Why Teaching People to Think for Themselves Is Repugnant to Religious Zealots and Rick Santorum

by Henry A. Giroux, Truthout Op-Ed, 2/22/12

Right-wing fundamentalists such as Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum hate public schools, which he suggests are government schools wedded to doing the work of Satan, dressed up in the garb of the Enlightenment. Santorum, true to his love affair with the very secular ideology of privatization, prefers home schooling, which is code for people taking responsibility for whatever social issues or problems they may face, whether it be finding the best education for their children or securing decent health care. Actually, Santorum and many of his allies dislike any public institution that enables people to think critically and act with a degree of responsibility toward the public. This is one reason why they hate any notion of public education, which harbors the promise, if not the threat, of actually educating students to be thoughtful, self-reflective and capable of questioning so-called common sense and holding power accountable. Of course, some progressives see this as simply another example of how the right wing of the Republican Party seems to think that being stupid is in. But there is more going on here than the issue of whether right-wing fundamentalists are intellectually and politically challenged. What makes critical education, especially, so dangerous to radical Christian evangelicals, neoconservatives and right-wing nationalists in the United States today is that, central to its very definition, is the task of educating students to become critical agents who can actively question and negotiate the relationships between individual troubles and public issues. In other words, students who can lead rather than follow, embrace reasoned arguments over opinions and reject common sense as the engine of truth. What Santorum and his allies realize is that democracy cannot function without an informed citizenry and that, in the absence of such a citizenry, we have a public disinvested from either thinking reflectively or acting responsibly. There is nothing more feared by this group of fundamentalists than individuals who can actually think critically and reflectively and are willing to invest in reason and freedom rather than a crude moralism and a reductionistic appeal to faith as the ultimate basis of agency and politics. What Santorum and his appeal to theocracy longs for is a crowd of followers willing to lose themselves in causes and movements that trade in clichés and common sense. This is the Tea Party crowd with their overt racism, dislike for critical thought and longing for outlets through which they can vent their anger, moral panics and hatred for those who reject their rigid Manichean view of the world. This is a crowd that embraces the likes of Santorum and other fundamentalists because they provide the outlets in which such groups can fulfill their desire to be amused by what might be called the spectacle of anti-politics.

As the anti-public politicians and administrative incompetents in Arizona made clear in their banning ethnic studies and censoring books critical of a conflict-free version of American history, critical pedagogy is especially dangerous. Not only does it offer students a way of connecting education to social change, it also invokes those subordinated histories, narratives and modes of knowledge in an attempt to give students often rendered voiceless the capacities to both read the word and the world critically. But the religious fanatics and privatizing fundamentalists do more than censor critical thought; they also substitute a pedagogy of punishment for a pedagogy of critical learning….

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