ahead, George, and lie to me. Lie to my dog. Lie
to my sister. But don't you ever lie to my kids.
into your State of the Siege lecture tonight,
long after sensible adults had turned off the
tube or kicked in the screen, you came after our
children. "By passing the No Child Left Behind
Act," you said, "We are regularly testing every
child ... and making sure they have better options
when schools are not performing."
said it ... and then that little tongue came out;
that weird way you stick your tongue out between
your lips like the little kid who knows he's fibbing.
Like a snake licking a rat. I saw that snakey
tongue dart out and I thought, "He knows."
what you know, Mr. Bush, is this: you've ordered
this testing to hunt down, identify and target
for destruction the hopes of millions of children
you find too expensive, too heavy a burden, to
how No Child Left Behind and your tests work in
the classrooms of Houston and Chicago. Millions
of 8 year olds are given lists of words and phrases.
They are graded, like USDA beef: some prime, some
OK, many failed.
the kids are stamped and sorted, the parents of
the marked children ask for you to fill your tantalizing
promise, to "make sure they have better options
when schools are not performing."
there is no "better option," is there, Mr. Bush?
Where's the money for the better schools to take
in the kids getting crushed in cash-poor districts?
Where's the open door to the suburban campuses
with the big green lawns for the dark kids with
the test-score mark of Cain.
if I bring up the race of the kids with the low
score, don't get all snippy with me, telling me
your program is color blind. We know the color
of the kids left behind; and it's not the color
of the kids you went to school with at Philips
know and I know that the testing is a con. There
is no "better option" at the other end. The cash
went to the end the inheritance tax, that special
program to give every millionaire's son another
you'll tell me, you took tests as a youth. I know
you did. And you scored on the Air Guard flight
test 25 out of 100, one point above too dumb to
fly. But you zoomed past the other would-be flyboys.
They were stamped, "Ready for 'Nam." And you took
a test to get into Yale. And though your pet rock
scored a wee bit higher than you, your grandpa
on the Yale board provided the "better option"
which got you in.
in New York City, your educational Taliban, led
by Republican Mayor Bloomberg, had issued an edict
to test the third-graders. Winnow out the chaff
and throw them back, exactly where they started,
to repeat the same failed program another year.
In other words, the core edict of No Child Left
Behind is that failing children will be left behind
another year. And another year and another year.
know and I know that this is not an educational
opportunity program - because you offer no opportunities,
no hope, no plan, no funding. Rather, it is the
new Republican social Darwinism, educational eugenics:
Identify the nation's loser-class early on. Trap
them, then train them cheap. The system will provide
the new worker drones that will clean the toilets
at the Yale alumni club, to punch the McDonald's
cash registers color-coded for illiterates, to
pamper the winner-class on the higher floors of
the new service economy order.
Palast is author of, "The Best Democracy Money
Can Buy," which has returned this week to the
New York Times bestseller list. View Palast's
writings for Harper's, The Guardian (UK) and BBC
television at www.GregPalast.com.
Posted: January 23, 2004