Teachers have always known that the McCain-Bush Republican educational policy agenda was one of “drill and kill.” What we didn’t realize until the recently concluded GOP convention was that their energy and foreign policy followed the same formula — with the same empty promises that such practices would actually produce something positive and valuable. The sight of GOP delegates chanting “drill, baby, drill” in unison has been the source of more than one nightmare for American schoolchildren.
Some interesting education-related news has become public over the course of the Republican national convention.
Since Sarah Palin declared in her speech to the convention that “a small-town mayor is sort of like a community organizer, except that you have actual responsibilities,” it is worth noting that for the Republican vice presidential candidate those weighty responsibilities include that of a censor, not unlike the magistrates of the Roman empire. Time Magazine reports that Palin asked the shocked librarian of the Wasilla public library how she could go about banning books from its shelves. Time goes on to note that the town librarian was one of a number of town employees Palin sought to fire for not being supportive of her as mayor.
Yet when it comes to creationism, Palin is quite the advocate of inclusivity and the full consideration of different viewpoints. In an Alaska gubernatorial debate, Palin said of the place of evolution and creationism in the science classroom, “Teach both. You know, don’t be afraid of information. Healthy debate is so important, and it’s so valuable in our schools. I am a proponent of teaching both.”
But when it came to the sort of information a young person might learn in a sex education course, Palin sings a very different tune. “Explicit sex-ed programs will not find my support,” she answered a candidate questionnaire of Phyllis Schafly’s Eagle Forum. She would only support abstinence only programs. [As this Google search shows, the actual Eagle Forum web site of the questionnaire has disappeared in the last week.] This is a position Palin shares with Republican Presidential candidate John McCain, who voted against proposed federal legislation to prevent teenage pregnancies in 2005 and 2006 because they included information on contraceptives.
And while we agree wholeheartedly with Senator Obama’s admonition that Palin’s family does not belong in this race, what is worthy of note that the Alaska governor used her line item veto power to slash funding to provide safe housing for homeless unwed mothers.
So let’s see: Palin was against the free exchange of ideas and information before she was for it after she was against it. Sound familiar?