This morning Glenn Beck took to the radio to bash President Obama’s State of the Union speech. As usual, his rambling screed was littered with lies. But it wasn’t enough to merely hurl baseless insults at the president, for some reason he felt compelled to disparage teachers and come out in favor of America producing offspring who are as intellectually vacant as he is.
The President spoke at some length about the need to focus on education and the value of teachers. Beck’s response to this was to shriek “Don’t talk to me about a teacher sir. That’s indoctrination, Talk to me about parents.” He continued…
Beck: “Last night, I don’t know how many people picked it up, he said the solution came from China. They have their kids in school much longer for the year, and they also keep them in school a much longer day. And teachers are known as nation builders. And I wish we could just give them the respect they deserve.”
Where to begin. Let’s set aside Beck’s bizarre opinion that teaching is synonymous with indoctrination. Obama never said that “the solution came from China.” He merely noted that nations like China and India were devoting more resources to education than we are, which happens to be true. This is what the President actually said:
Obama: “Meanwhile, nations like China and India realized that with some changes of their own, they could compete in this new world. And so they started educating their children earlier and longer, with greater emphasis on math and science. […] Over the next 10 years, nearly half of all new jobs will require education that goes beyond a high school education. And yet, as many as a quarter of our students aren’t even finishing high school. The quality of our math and science education lags behind many other nations. America has fallen to ninth in the proportion of young people with a college degree.”
But don’t bother Beck with facts or aspirations to improve ourselves in a competitive world. Beck also erred when he said that it is communist China where teachers are know as “nation builders.” As was stated clearly in the President’s speech, it is actually our democratic ally, South Korea. Beck has as little regard for truth as he does for teachers, whom he seems reluctant to show any respect. But it just gets worse from there.
Beck: “I don’t know anybody that talks down about a teacher, I really don’t. I’ve never heard a teacher introduce himself and say ‘I’m just a teacher.’ I’ve never heard that. I have heard ‘Well, I’m just a mother.’ The greatest teachers are our mothers and our fathers, period.”
So Beck thinks that teachers in this society are treated with equal esteem as say, architects, or doctors, or pop stars? And he also thinks that motherhood is frowned upon? I really have to wonder what country Beck is living in. And while parents are obviously an important part of the life of any child, to say that they are our “greatest teachers” is missing the point. Of course our parents teach us values and shape our character, but how many of us learn astrophysics, or mechanical engineering, or medieval literature, or neurosurgery from our parents? That’s what the dialogue on education is about, and anyone with any sense knows that.
Finally, Beck demonstrated his own sorely deficient comprehension skills. This may explain why he is such a bad student and so ill-informed on so many subjects.
Beck: “He said last night the teacher, the one in front of the classroom, is the one that affects the child the most. Well, there’s your problem, President Obama.”
No, it’s your problem, Glenn, because he distinctly did not say that. Here is what he did say:
Obama: “That responsibility begins not in our classrooms, but in our homes and communities. It’s family that first instills the love of learning in a child. Only parents can make sure the TV is turned off and homework gets done. We need to teach our kids that it’s not just the winner of the Super Bowl who deserves to be celebrated, but the winner of the science fair. […] Let’s also remember that after parents, the biggest impact on a child’s success comes from the man or woman at the front of the classroom.”
Glenn Beck gets the simplest things so perversely wrong that you almost feel sorry for him. He is obviously suffering from a severe learning disability. He would have benefited immensely from the sort of teaching he now belittles. But the people for whom I feel most sorry are his listeners. They are being barraged on a daily basis by untruths and delusional analyses. And the damage that does to our society is tangible and dangerous. He is creating a congregation of frightened, hostile, idiots. That can’t end well.
[Addendum] On his TV show today Beck reprised his attack on the State of the Union speech. In doing so he provided another example of his pathological dishonesty:
What Beck Said: I actually feel bad for teachers. I mean the good ones. We should fire the bad ones. Which he wouldn’t say last night.
What Obama Said: We want to reward good teachers and stop making excuses for bad ones.
And there was also this charming thought:
“Last night was all about unity. I didn’t get my little ribbon, but it was all about unity.”
That little ribbon was worn in honor of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and the other victims of the Tucson shootings. How nice of Beck to mock that tribute and laugh at the the suffering of others.