Thursday, December 22, 2011

Can't we just let them secede?

This morning on the way into work I listened to a news story about education in the state of Texas. It seems that they've doubled what they spend per student over the last decade or so, and essentially have nothing to show for it. The state, seeing the same hard times as the rest of us, is now slashing funding for education.

This in and of itself is not surprising, nor necessarily news. It's a pretty common sentiment, unfortunately.

What was appalling to me, were the interviews conducted with parents of children currently attending several Texas high schools.

Some idiot mouth-breather stated that he'd rather see curriculum cut than football. "Football is more important," he said. "I'd work overtime, take another job, just about anything, to make sure football isn't cut. I think they should cut curriculum before they cut football."

This is when my mouth started hanging open, as my brain tried to grasp the sheer stupidity of my fellow man. I'm sure the drivers around me thought I was having a stroke.

What the f*ck.

Then he went on to clarify, because his first statement didn't fully convey what a meat-head he is. "They oughtta keep math and science, and bring back vocational skills. Cut all the liberal arts crap. That stuff is just fluff anyway. Cut liberal arts and keep football."

Which is when the voices in my head started screaming. What about the vast majority of students who don't play football? What about the kids in the drama club, the kids in band, the kids for whom art is their way of feeling they belong in this world and that it's their only way to communicate?

I absolutely cannot stand it when people discount the importance of liberal arts. What the jackass on the radio this morning fails to realize (perhaps because he never benefitted from any liberal arts classes, or education whatsoever, apparently), is that art has been around as long as we've been around. Cave men were scratching out images on the ol' living room cave wall well before they figured out how to skin a pig, make a funny lookin' ball, and run around and jump on each other. Society will always create art. Football, however, is not essential.

Now, I'm a football fan, and a big fan of team sports in general. I think they teach important social skills to children, and can be excellent for building self esteem. However, I would never, ever consider cutting educational curriculum to keep football on the program.

The reporter stated that as Moron Man (my name for him; the reporter maintained his objectivity) was speaking, a small cluster of other parents standing around were nodding in agreement. After he left, several other parents stepped up to say they vehemently disagree. I found it interesting that they waited until the man left to speak up, but then considered they were probably confronted with a trash-talking, uneducated former linebacker bully and chose personal safety over trying to start an informed debate with an idiot.

I realize we Missourians have our own issues, but man, today I'm supremely thankful I don't live in Texas, or anywhere near someone who thinks that football (an exclusionary sport that generally doesn't allow women unless in a highly sexualized manner as sideline ornamentation, and that never includes smaller, less athletically inclined boys) is more important than actual education.


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