Sunday, July 03, 2011

Education Reform: When Rhetorical Flourishes Aren't Enough

David Brooks is a liberal's conservative. He writes in the New York Times, he talks on the Sunday morning shows, and he sounds oh-so-reasonable when pitted against those evil Republicans who want to cut taxes, hold government workers responsible for doing their jobs (and that includes us teachers!), and allow people to live to live their lives without excessive government regulation. After all, liberals know that conservatives really just want to kill off poor people--whether through lack of welfare; cutting food, air, and water protection programs; or allowing business to treat them as slaves. And liberals just want to help (and maybe rule over, but just a little bit, because the people need it).

Brooks is no stranger to the English language, and he can certainly sound reasonable, and upon first reading his latest column, Smells Like School Spirit, the layman could well conclude, just by his turns of phrase and his not saying anything outlandish, that his column is reasonable.

Thankfully, we're not all laymen:
At this point, Brooks steps back from the straw man (Look how reasonable I am! I am not going to attack this straw man I have shoddily erected, I’ll just be passive aggressive and undermine my opponent before I show how reasonable I am and admit that despite her overall craziness, she has some good points).
Whether you count yourself as a school reformer or not, reading these two columns together could certainly be edifying for you.

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