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The Legacy of President George W. Bush

July 17, 2011

When Margaret Spellings was confirmed as U.S. Secretary of Education in 2005, “educationists” who joined the Bush Administration’s Department of Education moved quickly to develop the President’s keynote education policy. “No Child Left Behind” attempted to create a system by which education achievement could be measured. That education can be reduced to “measurable” content reflects what is taught in U.S. university education departments.

As we well know, K-12 public education is weakened by “teachers” who can’t teach but who can’t be fired. The reason they can’t teach is because they earned education degrees, not academic training in real academic disciplines. Mathematics, Biology, English, History, American Government are real subjects with real content. “Education” degrees instruct students in the education “process” at the heart of which is the behaviorist notion that what can be measured is “behavior.”

Thus students in our public schools are not educated for growth in character, understanding their country’s history, for good citizenship or the economics of a free society. What they attain over twelve years—or less given high drop-out rates of American students—is measured by value-neutral terms.

They discover, evaluate, examine, explore, inquire, hypothesize, investigate, analyze, anticipate, argue, criticize, derive, compare and contrast. Students do not learn, appreciate, understand, or grow in knowledge. Those human attributes are not behaviors that can be measured.

About twenty Republican members of Congress whose backgrounds in education through Charter Schools, University teaching, or public education gave them insight into what Secretary Spellings was up to organized to defeat, or seriously modify, “No Child Left Behind.” After one meeting a member from Texas approached the group’s leader and told him that he better watch out. “The Bush crowd is merciless in punishing dissidents.” As it turns out, he was right.

Retaliation was a first principle of the Bush “mafia” and that led incumbent Republican Governors, Congressmen and Senators to remain silent when the Bush Administration proposed bad policies. Coupled with the Bush Administration’s opposition to Republican challenges of incumbent RINOs, a new cadre of conservative Republican leaders was denied elective office.

The current list of GOP presidential aspirants is representative of this scorched earth approach to internal opposition by the Bush Administration. Tim Pawlenty lags in the polls because he kept his mouth shut during the Bush years and didn’t challenge his president when he was wrong. Today we don’t know if he believes in anything since he didn’t assert himself during the Bush era. A stronger group of presidential aspirants is in the wings waiting for an opportunity in 2016, of course. But will there be a United States of America in 2016?

That we must ask that question not knowing the answer is George W. Bush’s legacy.

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