Well, test scores are down in South Carolina public schools this year - and you know what that means.
Yep, we are obviously spending way too much on education. The kids are just too darn comfortable to learn.
But one Lowcountry teacher may have figured out a way to turn it all around.
On Wednesday a woman from Summerville, who claimed to be a third-grade teacher, called "The Rush Limbaugh Show" to tell the popular radio host that she's using his children's book to school her kids on slavery.
Yes, kids are allegedly being taught the truth on human bondage from the Book of Rush.
Now, never mind that the "book" in question is really about the pilgrims, or that it's fiction featuring a time-traveling horse, or even that Limbaugh is less than unbiased in everything he says or writes (if he actually "wrote" this book).
The important thing here is that someone who is paid, possibly by taxpayers, is promoting a shock jock to our children. Or indoctrinating them.
Funny thing is, conservatives usually are the first to whine that celebrities and entertainers should keep their mouths shut on current events or politically charged subjects.
And sorry, but Limbaugh is no historian, or even a journalist. His only expertise is in wisecracks, entertaining blather and stirring things up (and he's really good at all of that).
He's a celebrity, and an entertainer. And he's laughing all the way to the bank.
And now we're paying someone to help keep him in cigars.
The caller on Wednesday gushed to Rush that she and her husband were huge fans, and said she had to find a way to get her students interested in his book.
Because the Lord knows Rushbo doesn't have enough cash.
She decided that Limbaugh's take on American Exceptionalism (which is far more moderate than you would imagine) would be just the introduction to slavery her children needed. Because, she said, it was the Founding Fathers and the ideas of American Exceptionalism that ended slavery.
No, actually, most of the Founding Fathers owned slaves and it was about 100 years after this nation's founding before slavery was abolished.
But nice try.
Of course, maybe the Founders were working with the same Congress we have today, who can't decide on anything except pay raises for themselves (and no one else) and when to take a month-long vacation from doing nothing.
So maybe it just took a while. And secession. And then the end of a war.
But those are piddling details. The message is that the Founders were saints. Sort of like Obama is the devil.
If this is the sort of curriculum creeping into our classrooms, no wonder test scores are down.
Stupid white men
Now, Limbaugh's book isn't particularly bad, or good.
But note that this "teacher" said her husband, and not her kids, turned her on to it (perhaps it says something about the reading-level skills of Rush's fanbase).
Limbaugh's book is just like Bill O'Reilly's "Killing Kennedy" or "Killing Jesus" (they could just as easily be called "Killing Brain Cells") - a way for broadcast celebrities to make a little extra money.
Look, there are enough fights at the state level right now about what is and is not appropriate to teach in the classroom, and far too often loony politics are becoming involved. Trying to add religion to science teaching is not cool - and the sainted Founding Fathers would agree, by the way.
Neither is it right to slip in entertainment and try to pass it off as history.
Imagine the hoopla if someone tried to use Michael Moore's "Stupid White Men" to teach civics.
Local school officials profess no knowledge of any Limbaugh-infused curriculum, and probably wouldn't be happy if they did. Lessons are pretty tightly regulated and it's a chore to keep the class on the proper learning curve, seeing as how we have to shut down schools for a week any time Vanilla Ice gives the weather forecast.
So they would not be happy to see entertainment passed off as a history text. Social studies test scores are down along with reading and math, after all.
Of course, maybe this caller wasn't really a teacher but just another Dittohead who wanted to talk to the immensely famous celebrity.
And that's the real lesson kids need to learn: don't believe everything you hear on talk radio ... or read, for that matter.
Reach Brian Hicks at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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