No Lie Left Behind

by JOHN L. HESS

Seems like wherever he goes these days, George Bush finds time to read to kiddies, and recite "Leave no child behind." After eight years as governor, he left the children of Texas behind those of 48 other states. His solution was to withhold money from failing schools and give it to schools that did better — or at least taught them to pray

Somehow conservatives latched on to the slogan "Leave no child behind" because it sounded as if they cared, and because some educators favored what they called "social promotion" –that is, you don’t demote kids who are failing–you move them on to the next grade–but for god’s sake, you give them special attention — small classes, picked teachers, social workers, parent involvement, physical checkups, nutrition, music, art and fun and games.

That’s what Mayor Bloomberg left out when he laid down the law last Monday. It was a shocking moment in the history of our town. Bloomberg takes the opposite line to George Bush–says if kids flunk, they’ve got to be held back–but he comes out pretty much the same. In no time, Bloomberg fired his top educators and three commissioners who disagreed with him — and did it in the face of parents, teachers and civic leaders who had come to a hearing to disagree with him. It was a pre-emptive strike.

As a result, perhaps as many as 30 percent of third graders in New York figure to be left back this June–and you know in which communities they live. If Bloomberg has any plans for a fix, he hasn’t revealed them. Neither have the bosses of either party in New York, Albany and Washington.

No child left behind, indeed.

 

The Mess We’re In

We have just been through a week that would wipe the smirk off Bush’s face –if it were not for what the Daily Howler calls our "state-sponsored" media. For an example, his note on the Web today quotes the headlines on the last four White House Letters by Elisabeth Bumiller of the Mew York Times. Listen:

"Bush Ready and Bursting to Bring It On!" Then: "Want a Reliable President? Here’s One You Can Set Your Clock By" — Then–"Bush Glad to Be in the Campaign Fray" and, today "Bush on the Campaign Trail, Couched in Comfy Feathers."

Remember how she cut John Kerry off–saying, "You’re in New York, now"? Well, she and the Times manage to be very polite indeed to Bush. Take yesterday’s disclosures by Richard Clarke, who was chief of counter-terrorism for our last four presidents. He tried and failed repeatedly to alert George Dubya and his team to plotting by Al Qaeda to attack us at home. Conceivably, they could have averted 9/11. Certainly, they lied about Saddam Hussein being involved in it. Clarke’s story is rich new evidence for impeachment The Times buried it on Page 18–under the byline of Judith Miller–that celebrated discoverer of weapons of mass destruction.

It’s not only the embedded media that lies in the way of impeachment. Before nightfall yesterday, Senators Biden and Lieberman were on the air, knocking the new revelations. Both have long records of lending Republicans a helping hand. And both are described as leading Democrats — which says a great deal about the mess we’re in.

JOHN L. HESS is a former writer for the New York Times, a career he chronicles in his excellent new book My Times: a Memoir of Dissent. Hess is now a political commentator for WBAI.

Like What You’ve Read? Support CounterPunch
Weekend Edition
July 31-33, 2015
Jeffrey St. Clair
Bernie and the Sandernistas: Into the Void
John Pilger
Julian Assange: the Untold Story of an Epic Struggle for Justice
Roberto J. González – David Price
Remaking the Human Terrain: The US Military’s Continuing Quest to Commandeer Culture
Lawrence Ware
Bernie Sanders’ Race Problem
Andrew Levine
The Logic of Illlogic: Narrow Self-Interest Keeps Israel’s “Existential Threats” Alive
ANDRE VLTCHEK
Kos, Bodrum, Desperate Refugees and a Dying Child
Paul Street
“That’s Politics”: the Sandernistas on the Master’s Schedule
Ted Rall
How the LAPD Conspired to Get Me Fired from the LA Times
Mike Whitney
Power-Mad Erdogan Launches War in Attempt to Become Turkey’s Supreme Leader
Ellen Brown
The Greek Coup: Liquidity as a Weapon of Coercion
Stephen Lendman
Russia Challenges America’s Orwellian NED
Will Parrish
The Politics of California’s Water System
John Wight
The Murder of Ali Saad Dawabsha, a Palestinian Infant Burned Alive by Israeli Terrorists
Jeffrey Blankfort
Leading Bibi’s Army in the War for Washington
Geoffrey McDonald
Obama’s Overtime Tweak: What is the Fair Price of a Missed Life?
Brian Cloughley
Hypocrisy, Obama-Style
Robert Fantina
Israeli Missteps Take a Toll
Pete Dolack
Speculators Circling Puerto Rico Latest Mode of Colonialism
Ron Jacobs
Spying on Black Writers: the FB Eye Blues
Paul Buhle
The Leftwing Seventies?
Binoy Kampmark
The TPP Trade Deal: of Sovereignty and Secrecy
David Swanson
Vietnam, Fifty Years After Defeating the US
Robert Hunziker
Human-Made Evolution
Shamus Cooke
Why Obama’s “Safe Zone” in Syria Will Inflame the War Zone
David Rosen
Hillary Clinton: Learn From Your Sisters
Sam Husseini
How #AllLivesMatter and #BlackLivesMatter Can Devalue Life
Shepherd Bliss
Why I Support Bernie Sanders for President
Howard Lisnoff
The Wrong Argument
Louis Proyect
Manufacturing Denial
Tracey Harris
Living Tiny: a Richer and More Sustainable Future
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
A Day of Tears: Report from the “sHell No!” Action in Portland
Tom Clifford
Guns of August: the Gulf War Revisited
Renee Lovelace
I Dream of Ghana
Colin Todhunter
GMOs: Where Does Science Begin and Lobbying End?
Ben Debney
Modern Newspeak Dictionary, pt. II
Christopher Brauchli
Guns Don’t Kill People, Immigrants Do and Other Congressional Words of Wisdom
S. Mubashir Noor
India’s UNSC Endgame
Ellen Taylor
The Voyage of the Golden Rule
Norman Ball
Ten Questions for Lee Drutman: Author of “The Business of America is Lobbying”
Franklin Lamb
Return to Ma’loula, Syria
Masturah Alatas
Six Critics in Search of an Author
Mark Hand
Cinéma Engagé: Filmmaker Chronicles Texas Fracking Wars
Mary Lou Singleton
Gender, Patriarchy, and All That Jazz
Patrick Hiller
The Icebreaker and #ShellNo: How Activists Determine the Course
Charles Larson
Tango Bends Its Gender: Carolina De Robertis’s “The Gods of Tango”