I've done this before: posted the text of an email from the Ayn Rand Institute. I usually disagree with these emails. The last one I posted I happened to agree with. Unfortunately, that will not be the case today.
The thing about ARI is that the folks running the place have the strictest interpretations of Ayn's work. Normally, this is what an author wants to avoid. They like their audience to be able to relate to their work in some way and give allowances for the reader to make some of their own interpretations. This was not the case with Ayn Rand. She was a stubborn old hag and she meant what she meant and if the reader didn't see it that way, then they weren't worthy of her work.
Still, The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged remain at the very top of my favorites list and mean quite a bit to me personally even though Ayn would not approve as I do not embrace everything she said.
This article is a prime example:
Ayn Rand Institute Press Release
No Child Let Ahead
February 13, 2007
Irvine, CA--With the No Child Left Behind Act up for reauthorization, critics are pointing out that it is preventing gifted children from advancing ahead. Because the act forces states to ensure that the weakest students are not left behind, it has dried up funding for programs intended to challenge the strongest.
"The problem is not just with No Child Left Behind," said Dr. Keith Lockitch, resident fellow of the Ayn Rand Institute. "The problem is inherent in the very system of public education, itself. When people's tax dollars are taken to pay for the education of other people's children, there is no way to distribute those dollars fairly."
"The inevitable result is a massive government bureaucracy making collective judgments involving millions of students. And given the egalitarian philosophy dominating that bureaucracy, should it be any surprise that it is our nation's best and brightest that are sacrificed in the attempt to serve the weakest?
"Only a free market in education can prevent the injustices of the current system--a system that, like any government-run industry, has deteriorated into a junk heap of dismal public schools that meets no one's educational needs."
I also don't agree that NCLB is good legislation. Other than raising the requirements for teachers, I don't see a whole lot of good in it. I think this country needs something drastically different for its public education system.
But, as a woman who is crossing her fingers to land a job in the public education system in the fall of '08, I believe rather firmly that eliminating public education would be a huge mistake.
I don't know why I get so fired up over this as it's not likely that public education will ever be eliminated in the United States, but I do.
Ayn Rand would describe the innocent as those who are intelligent and hard-working and generally taken advantage of. I don't disagree here. Man is an amazing creature.
It's the fact that these Randroids don't see children in general as innocent that blows my top.
The kids that they say NCLB is lending false assistance to have only one hope in life and that is the public education system. Do the really talented and gifted children get left behind as a result? You bet it happens. This is a problem that needs to be addressed, but not by a "free market education system."
The other day, my "friend" Brad wrote a blog about the disparities in income among the different classes.
I harbor no resentment toward the rich for being rich, nor do I believe that there should be any type of increased tax burden for them because they are wealthy.
But, when we look at the huge percentage of people who live in poverty and all of the kids they pound out, are we honestly going to pretend that half of those parents give two shits about their child's education? And, are we to say, "Oh, well. It's too bad that these kids who didn't ask to be born have parents who don't care about their child's education. At least the gifted kids are being taken care of."?
What about another truth: some kids born into poverty are gifted. But if at age 5, they don't have the tools to get themselves enrolled into a good school because their parents don't give a shit, will the world not suffer under these principles?
During my last observations, there was a girl in the 8th grade who made it to school one day (average) per week. That's because her single mother is never home and she has to take care of her younger siblings, including a baby, while her mother is working 2 jobs. Clearly this mother has made some horrendous mistakes. Look who's paying for them.
This is the kind of bullshit that really gets me unsettled. I can't even do it justice in one blog. I'd have to do a whole series.