Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Your New Education Secretary's Priorities

You might not have noticed, but we got a brand new Secretary of Education last week. And just to make sure you understand what the Bush administration means by "education," the very first thing that Margaret Spellings did in office was to send a nice, fat letter to PBS, warning them about an upcoming segment of a TV show that includes a family with two mommies.
Education Secretary Margaret Spellings said the "Sugartime!" episode does not fulfill the intent Congress had in mind for programming. By law, she said, any funded shows must give top attention to "research-based educational objectives, content and materials."

"Many parents would not want their young children exposed to the lifestyles portrayed in the episode," Spellings wrote in a letter sent Tuesday to Pat Mitchell, president and chief executive officer of PBS.

“Congress’ and the Department’s purpose in funding this programming certainly was not to introduce this kind of subject matter to children, particularly through the powerful and intimate medium of television."

She asked PBS to consider refunding the money it spent on the episode.

First act as secretary
With her letter, Spellings has made criticism of the publicly funded program’s depiction of the gay lifestyle one of her first acts as secretary. She began on Monday, replacing Rod Paige as President Bush’s education chief.

Spellings issued three requests to PBS.

She asked that her department’s seal or any statement linking the department to the show be removed. She asked PBS to notify its member stations of the nature of show so they could review it before airing it. And she asked for the refund “in the interest of avoiding embroiling the Ready-To-Learn program in a controversy that will only hurt” it.

In closing, she warned: "You can be assured that in the future the department will be more clear as to its expectations for any future programming that it funds." Education chief rips PBS for gay character

Now, let me opine for a second here, may I?

Here I see a survey that shows the US ranking 28th in mathematics, 18th in reading ... you've heard this before. Our schools suck.

And why do they suck? Is it because our TV shows fail to attain sex parity in parental roles? No, I don't think so, either. Education in the United States is a mess. The kids don't learn, the whole system has turned into a big bureaucracy where kids study to learn to pass tests, it doesn't really matter if they actually get educated or not. Finland, which places number one in most categories of educational achievement, has totally rejected the idea of standardized testing, which has become the whole point of our educational system. The fact is, we're going about it all wrong.

Now, you'd think that this would be the concern of the Secretary of the Department of Education, wouldn't you?

Naw, not in this day and age. She's gonna make sure we don't see any sodomites on television.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Of course, one of the biggest reasons for not getting an education is a bad home situation, so not using public money to encourage situations that lead to kids dropping out of school isn't exactly outrageous.

Just curious. Am I your only reader around here?


January 26, 2005 5:10 PM  
Blogger JimK said...

No, we gets hundreds of visitors every day. I think most people are parents who are just concerned about the issue, but don't necessarily want to get into discussions in the comments section of some blog on the Internet.

Was there going to be connection in your comments, between a Vermont home with two mommies, and ... "not using public money to encourage situations that lead to kids dropping out of school." Like, do you think seeing lesbians on TV causes kids to drop out of school?

How would that work, exactly?

January 26, 2005 5:28 PM  
Blogger Isabel Manuela said...

Well, if anonymous could prove the exact connection between kids on lesbian and gays families and school drop outs, I would be most open to review it. Can you, GE?
Everything we have seen so far proves well to the contrary.

January 26, 2005 8:12 PM  
Blogger andrear said...

I don't get it - what are we funding that gets kids to drop out of school? You think that kids with gay parents drop out of school more than other kids? That is total nonsense- no study(real study- peer reviewed for funding and peer-reviewed for publication)has ever shown that. Poverty, pregnancy, bad schools, dangerous neighborhoods- yes- gay parents, no.
And the kind of TV shows that affect kids negatively are not Buster Bunny visiting a two mom family in Vermont- it is the violent stuff they can see on CBS, NBC and ABC- not to mention numerous cable stations and of course, the fine video game industry with its recent contribution of Halo and Grand Theft Auto in their latest horrendous editions.

Andrea Kline

January 27, 2005 8:35 AM  

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