Monday, January 08, 2007


Mediocre Governor wants to reward Mediocre Students

I guess no one should be surprised that mediocre Governor Phil Bredesen wants to award below-average students by paying for their college education. More from the Tennessee Politics Blog and the KNS.

But that's the deal with Tennessee politicians - mostly the Democrats but also some Republicans who appear to care deeply about education in this state. They want to increase graduation rates at high schools and colleges just so they can have diplomas at the end, not even bothering to see if the students learned anything or not.

No one wants to hear it, but Tennessee schools are failing at a massive level. One only has to look around to see the problems. More parochial schools are springing up. Homeschooling is increasing by leaps and bounds as concerned parents refuse to trust the State with the education of their children. Ask recent college graduates. You're going to hear a great deal of them state that they stuck around to get their diplomas, but most of them didn't gain actual college-level knowledge on a daily basis.

Now people like my good friend Senator Jamie Woodson will point to some success with magnet schools, and those are unarguably success stories. However, I'm talking about the big picture here, and on that level Tennessee schools are behind the curve.

Bredesen's proposal to send everyone with a 19 cumulative ACT - over 2 full points below the national average - to a community college on the State's dime is asinine. Students who earn a 19 on the ACT shouldn't be paid to go to college; they surely shouldn't even be going to a four-year college. Community colleges or tech schools like Northeast State Tech and Pelissippi State are more along their academic levels, because sending them to a supposed "institution of higher learning" is either going to result in their personal failure or the dumbing down of the system. These community colleges are extremely affordable already, and when compared to what a person can earn as a ratio of what they have to pay in tuition and fees, community colleges are a much better deal that their four-year counterparts. But Governor Bredesen thinks its just what Tennessee needs - a new educational Welfare program. That shouldn't be surprising, since he has continued the medicinal Welfare program we already had (TennCare), started another one (CoverTN) to drain more taxpayer dollars, and then set forth what will be the biggest Welfare program of all in decades to come in the Pre-K program.

Everyone's favorite new Congressman, Steve Cohen, had an equally destructive proposal to lower the GPA requirements.

This all leads back to the philosophical purpose of government (which I have been reading about a great deal lately due to my acceptance as a reviewer for the University of Chicago Press). Why does government exist? People like Bredesen and Cohen believes that it is there to provide assistance. Other people like Michael Polanyi (the subject of a book I hope to have reviewed by the weekend) believed that government's roll was to inspire greatness but to practically stay out of the way.

Which type of government do we have in Tennessee - a "nanny state" or one that is inspirational?

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