July 23, 2024

Thank You Bill Maher!

On last night’s edition of Real Time with Bill Maher, the political comedian took on the recent rash of teacher firings as a solution to all of our nation’s education problems. (Read complete text)

While I disagree with some of Maher’s conclusions and the “evidence” he cites, he must be applauded for challenging the “magical thinking” required to believe that firing “bad” teachers will magically transform the system.

The free market is not going to solve our educational issues, especially when poverty is the single greatest predictor of educational attainment!

Where are all of the “great” teachers to come from? There are major US cities without a supermarkets or movie theater. Who is going to build all of the fabulous private, I mean charter, schools to occupy those communities and rescue the children who don’t look like us from the grasps of the evil teachers who are deliberately suppressing standardized testing scores?

Who wishes to teach in joyless schools jerked around by political whim or in which the curriculum is scripted and interactions with students are micromanaged?

Yes, America has found its new boogeyman to blame for our crumbling educational system. It’s just too easy to blame the teachers, what with their cushy teachers’ lounges, their fat-cat salaries, and their absolute authority in deciding who gets a hall pass. We all remember high school – canning the entire faculty is a nationwide revenge fantasy. Take that, Mrs. Crabtree! And guess what? We’re chewing gum and no, we didn’t bring enough for everybody…

…Firing all the teachers may feel good – we’re Americans, kicking people when they’re down is what we do – but it’s not really their fault.

Bill Maher, March 12, 2010

Fast forward to the 2:27 mark in the YouTube video below to hear what Maher has to say about the despicable recent Newsweek cover urging the wholesale firing of American public school teachers. The video is a lot more entertaining than the text AND it’s may not be suitable for children or the workplace.

If the video above doesn’t work, try this clip below. The teacher stuff starts immediately.

3 thoughts on “Thank You Bill Maher!

  1. Gary,

    You said “…poverty is the single greatest predictor of educational attainment!”.

    I’m not disagreeing with the role that poverty has on educational attainment…but do you have a source for this claim?


  2. Prior to government schooling, we had a pretty educated population compared to other nations. People were able to be educated without government schools. My point is that when there was a truly free market in education, people got an education in the private sector with no need for government provision of services.

    Many people think that private enterprise wouldn’t go in to high poverty areas to open schools, and that’s probably true now when the state basically erects so many barriers to entry. But in countries that offer more freedom, I understand that firms are moving in to meet the need. In fact, even the poorest pay for private schooling because they believe it to be superior to government schooling.

    It seems unfair to say the free market can’t solve our problems when historically, it seems it did meet our needs. What we have right now is not a free market in education but rather a government monopoly. I vote for opening it up and letting parents vote. I would love an alternative to the achievement test preparation school my kids currently attend.

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