Whenever President Obama mentions education he always uses it in the context of our country needing to make an investment in education if we want to remain competitive in the future. Yet across the country when faced with budget deficits most Republican governors and some Democratic governors like New York's Koch brothers financed Governor Cuomo insist that one of the first items to be cut is education.
There seems to be a glaring disconnect between the rhetoric of investing in education and the reality that most of those same states demanding draconian cuts from education have at the same time provided tax breaks to corporations and refuse to consider raising taxes on those who were able to afford to finance the political campaigns of those calling for cuts to education to pay for tax breaks to the wealthy.
Once again the Democrats lack the courage of their convictions by appeasing Republicans who cannot conceal their disdain for organized labor by claiming a crocodile tears concern for our children who will have to pay the debts some Democratic and most Republican politicians created with deregulation of the casinos on Wall St. and a state of perpetual war on drugs at home and terrorism abroad. In shameless and rank hypocrisy both parties declare that "everyone has to sacrifice".
Thomas Jefferson believed that democracy demanded an educated and informed electorate and that "a despotic government could restrain its citizens and deprive the people of their liberties only while they were ignorant". Yet by framing the current debate about education and its relation to budget deficits, teachers unions, tenure and pay based on student test results we continue to obscure and ignore the relationship between education and democracy.
The American public's docile yet continued acceptance of and participation in a political system corrupted by money from the criminal class running casinos on Wall St financing politicians for sale of both major political parties to perpetuate an economic system that favors the few i.e. the society page Sopranos at the expense of the many i.e. the rest of us who don't have diversified portfolios is a clear indication that most of those who give their consent to the despotism of the few by voting Republican or Democrat are products of an educational system controlled by Republicans and Democrats offering vouchers, tax write offs and other gimmicks to maintain the status quo. The rest of those who vote for either of the major parties is misinformed, uninformed or just prefers the raw meat of ideological hate based on fear and ignorance.
One party shows its outright contempt for teachers by proposing that their already shamefully low salaries should be tied to the test results of 20 and often more students while ignoring the economic and social disparate realities of the test takers while the other party ignores those same realities comforted by the their own rhetoric of "leave no child left behind".
In addition it's worth mentioning that the freedom of speech was and continues to be used to denigrate and ridicule a noble profession as well as perhaps one of the most important socialization factors in an individual's life should be an embarrassing stain on our country's body politic yet our narcissism compels us to embrace our own ignorance as proud products of intelligent design with our imaginary friend on our side.
Our education system currently produces nothing but test takers to qualify for a job with little or no job security, promotes the ignorance that is bliss and perpetuates a system no longer recognizable as democracy when the few prosper at the expense of the rest and neither Democrat or Republican really wants to improve an education system which may challenge the status quo of our plutocracy where the Democratic Party supports a public education system that breeds conformity through standardized tests and produces college certified "workers" in an economy predicated on profit over people while the very existence of Republican Party ideology by ruling through fear and ignorance can ill afford an educated public.
If we accept the observation of one of the founding fathers about the relationship between democracy and an educated public then the real debate that should be occurring today is not how teacher's salaries are to be determined or whether or not teachers should be unionized or even who should pay what amount for education but the debate should focus on how a free society can create an educational system that would be accessible and affordable to all its citizens because for anybody paying attention to the world we live in knows that more than the fate of democracy depends on an educated people.