Jon Stewarts connected the dots perfectly in this one. He shows the lack of forward think of the Republican Party’s objection to investing in high-quality pre-school. The final monologue is a prescription that while funny could have legs. This video should be sent to every Republican Senator and Congressperson.
He starts by illustrating how far apart the two parties are by playing the President proposing funding for high quality pre-school for every child in America at the 2013 State of The Union. He then caricatures Republican Representative Marsha Blackburn who responded on C-Span as follows:
I had an email from a teacher as they were giving the speech; someone I have known for a long time. And it was; are you kidding me? More paperwork.
Jon Stewart then gasp and retorts sarcastically in a southern accent.
And what do these people get for the paperwork; just a bunch of money and resources to help teach children.’ I hardly think that’s why my friend got into education.
Stewart then uses Fox News snippets to show how that GOP propaganda network mischaracterizes a government report to question the efficacy of the program. Some of the talking heads include John Stossel who claims that though there are gains, they are all gone by the first grade. Then another one of the talking heads on one of their morning shows said the benefits are gone by the third grade.
Jon then shows their statements to be asinine and disingenuous.
Right, cause at that point you are supposed to go to the fourth grade, not back to pre-school. Those Head Start skeptics referring to a piece of a 2012 Health and Human Services Department study that showed that while kids who went to Head Start did better for the next few years than those who didn’t have the Head Start program, by third grade results evened out; which might lead a normal person to say, why don’t we take the beneficial Head Start techniques and apply them to third grade. To keep things getting better as opposed to the counter argument the benefits of the program only last a few years so f*ck it.
But if we are going with studies, you could keep reading the same report you’re quoting from and see that other studies have shown that in general Head Start programs boost graduation rates, lower crime rates, increase college attendance and income, oh, and they correlate with lower mortality rates for children ages five to nine. But who wants to get to double digits.
He then says that maybe it is not Head Start that is really concerning them. He then plays again Fox News snippets that show GOP thinking. They had quotes like “School for everybody? Are you kidding me? We don’t have the money for that”, “How much of this new handout is going to cost you money.”, “It could cost $10,000 per kid per year. Where is that money coming from?”, “$300,000 per classroom”, “This is just crazy talk”.
Stewart sarcastically retorts.
Money? On children’s education? Are you mental? If these children want an education they should get jobs and pay for it themselves. Oh. But that’s illegal thanks nanny state. So the category is Things Worth Investing in America's Future, pre-school no. Any other ideas?
He does something next that is the coup de grace. He shows what the GOP is always willing to invest in (transfer your hard earned tax dollar to the military industrial complex). He shows Senate Floor video with Senator Ayotte advocating forcefully for more military spending for a strong military.
We have a strong military. We are number one by a mile. We already spend more on defense than the next twelve countries combined including China, including Russia. We are like the lady on Jerry Springer who can’t stop getting breast implants. …. If you are looking to boost competitive rankings you might want to take a look at literacy, math, and graduation rates (he illustrates graphically our very poor standings). Don’t care? You should. Those new expensive weapon systems are pretty complicated.
Stewart then shows a CNN report stating American youths are unfit for service and that is a threat to national security. It also said three out of four Americans between the ages of seventeen and twenty four couldn’t join the military even if they wanted to either because they haven’t graduated high school, or they have criminal records, or are physically unfit. The brass is pushing for better education and early childhood development.
I am sorry, what was that last one? Early childhood development? HAH. You know what? Perhaps combining. I got it. Ping! Perhaps combining the two is the only way to get more money for education. I give you “Seal team actually six”. The hunt for Benhwaden.
While Stewart’s piece is funny, it has a very important message. In a dysfunctional political system where the military industrial complex can get unlimited dollars, while education spending continues to falter even as educationally the country falls behind, treating education as a national security issue that is incorporated somehow in the military budget may be the only way to get appropriate funding.