Is that gonna be on the quiz?
Summer classes are here again, when the majority of us would rather be at the beach or a barbecue. We do this because we know that our education is worth it. Unfortunately, it appears that our nation is not in agreement on the value of a quality education.
Last week, at the Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans, presidential primary hopeful Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., said, “The federal government should not be involved in local education to the most minimal possible process.”
Consequentially, students could receive a public education of vastly differing quality, potentially failing to meet college admission standards, and falling even further behind international competition.
Bachmann has never been a friend to education. She began her political career in 1993 by speaking out against state-mandated educational standards. She has voted no on all major education bills that have come up for vote in her tenure in the House of Representatives, including the American Competitiveness Scholarship Act and College Cost Reduction and Access Act.
Unsurprisingly, Bachmann has repeatedly demonstrated little comprehension of the most basic academic knowledge. She drew ire earlier this year when, during a speech in New Hampshire, she told a crowd of supporters, “You’re the state where the shot was heard around the world at Lexington and Concord.” A road map could have easily confirmed that Lexington and Concord are in neighboring Massachusetts.
There is a growing trend in our nation against education and academic achievement. Candidates attempt to assert themselves as just folks, while trying not to get caught sleeping through class. Former Alaska governor and reality television personality Sarah Palin made news of her own earlier this month when she misunderstood the purpose of Paul Revere’s famous midnight ride.
Her version had Paul Revere warning the British that they were coming (as if they were not already aware of this). Of course, everyone makes mistakes, and it is understandable that Palin, Bachmann, or any politician could get a fact wrong.
Unfortunately, both figures have confirmed their indifference to intellect and academia by defending such missteps —they claim that these are responses to “gotcha” questions designed to undermine candidates. Some fringe Palin supporters even edited the Wikipedia entry for Paul Revere to reflect Palin’s mistake as if it were fact. Why would Bachmann need a Board of Education or enhanced standardized curriculum when history can be wantonly revised when convenient?
I recall an anecdote that comic and former student Bill Hicks once shared of his time here at UH. He was taking a summer course in Eastern Philosophy with some less-motivated students. His professor enters the room and introduces the class with: “God is consciousness. We are all God trying to realize our full potential.” A student from the back the room yells, “Do we need to know that? Is that gonna be on the quiz?”
Well, as our presidential hopefuls have hopefully learned — someday you will be glad you missed the barbecues and didn’t limit your intellectual curiosity to what will be on the quiz.
Emily Brooks is an economics senior and may be reached at [email protected]