Take Colorado's Ken Buck, the Republican Senate candidate this year. He's already known for being one of 2010's nuttiest candidates -- he wants to eliminate Social Security, scrap student loans, ban forms of birth control, eliminate all abortions under all circumstances, etc. -- and this week, Buck showed off his policy depth by trying to talk about education.First off, Buck couldn't be more wrong - according to Ian Millhiser of Think Progress, schools are actually better then they were 60 years ago.
"In the 1950s, we had the best schools in the world. And the United States government decided to get more involved in federal education. Where are we now, after all those years of federal involvement, are we better or are we worse? So what's the federal government's answer? Well since we've made education worse, we're gonna even get more involved. And what's gonna be the result? It's kinda like health care. We've screwed up health care -- Medicare -- we've screwed up all kinds of other things, so what are we gonna do? We're gonna get even more involved in health care. What are we going to do? We're gonna get more involved in education."
First of all, Buck’s claim that American schools are worse now than they were in the 1950s is laughably wrong. In 1957, less than half of white Americans and fewer than one in five African-Americans graduated from high school. By 2002, however, almost nine in ten white children and eight in ten black children earned their diploma. Likewise, college graduation rates more than tripled during the same time period for both racial groups. Our country has a long way to go before we build the education system Americans deserve, but Buck is simply wrong to claim that American schools haven’t made massive strides since the 1950s.Millhiser also wrote of how the federal government integrated schools - an issue Buck leaves out in his ode to hating the government.
Secondly, I recall back to the debate against health care, where proponents of reform would discuss how the quality of American care had dropped over the years - critics called that knd of talk un-American, making the counter-claim that American health care was the greatest in the world, and before you point out the above quote where Buck mentions how we screwed up health care, let me add that his comments were not directed towards the entire system.
Buck singled out Medicare in the above statement and in past comments indicated that the expansion of health services is a threat - Buck had stated that health care reform "infringes on personal freedom, violates states' rights, will ration medical care and could potentially bankrupt our country." It is in this manner that we are supposedly screwing up health care.
Lets just hope voters in Colorado see his guy for the crazy fringe-politician that he is and vote for a real candidate...