Stuck on Stupid in America
By Chuck Muth
January 17, 2006
I hereby bequeath Citizen Outreach's 2006 Thomas Paine Award to ABC's John Stossel for his 20/20 report entitled "Stupid In America: How We Cheat Our Kids," a blistering expose of the government education system in the United States today.
For those of you who learned American history education from a public school, you might be surprised to know that in 1775 most colonists did NOT support separation from England. Many actually preferred remaining as subjects of the King. They were called "Loyalists." They wanted to continue working within the existing system, but maybe with a few "reforms." They were opponents of independence. They were anti-freedom.
Then along came Tom Paine and his pamphlet titled "Common Sense." As Gregory Tietjen notes in his introduction of a reprint of this immortal historical document, Common Sense "immediately became the moral and intellectual touchstone for American colonists struggling to articulate their case for independence from England."
The pamphlet enjoyed unprecedented distribution; the "first printing of several thousand copies sold out in days, and the second, with additions, sold just as quickly."
Many historians consider publication of Paine's Common Sense to have been the turning point of public opinion against the status quo and for a break from the King. In that regard, we can only hope that John Stossel's "Stupid in America" has the same effect over 230 years later.
Stupid in America has the potential for becoming the "moral and intellectual touchstone" for Americans who have been fighting for independence from the tyranny of government schools in this country for many years now.
As in 1775, most Americans today harbor a belief, more a hope, that education under the current system isn't all that intolerable; that we just need to tinker around the edges a bit with a tweak here and a tweak there. Oh, and more money, of course.
Stupid in America obliterates that flight of fancy (click here to watch excerpts.
I won't go into the details and content of Stossel's actual report here. Rather, I'm suggesting that education patriots who have long supported a break from the public school monopoly may now have a modern-day version of Common Sense with which to finally turn around the majority of public opinion.
Stupid in America needs to be distributed far and wide. Every elected legislator in the country ought to watch it, as should every concerned parent and taxpayer. The case for complete and total education independence will no longer be arguable after watching this report by anyone but blind loyalists of the current system.
It's time to choose sides. No more fence-sitting. You're either with us or against us. You're either for total freedom, choice and independence from the government school monopoly or you're an education "Loyalist," deserving of disdain and derision. And that especially goes for our modern-day Lobsterbacks, the teachers union.
These militant foot soldiers of the status quo, as exposed in Stossel's report, will stoop to any level in defending their monopoly control over our kids' lackluster education - and they are 100% committed to crushing anyone who dares threaten their power.
It's time to strip away the Suzy Sunshine face they portray in public and expose them for what they and their agenda really and truly are: Anti-education. Or at least, anti-education excellence. These people are Masters of Mediocrity. At best.
And if you are a teacher who belongs to the teachers union, thus helping to perpetuate with your dues their iron grip on the current system, you, too, are anti-education. There's just no nice way to put it. It's well past time for you to...quit...the...union.
All of this might sound harsh if you haven't yet watched Stupid in America.
But once you see this eye-opener, you, too, won't be able to help coming to the conclusion that the education monopoly in this country must be obliterated -- not just accommodated or reformed -- once and for all. Which makes it all the more important for education patriots to assure the widest distribution and circulation possible of Stossel's Stupid in America.
It's just common sense.
(Chuck Muth is president of Citizen Outreach, a public policy advocacy organization in Washington, D.C.)
Copyright 2006, Chuck Muth