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Munson's right, let's abolish education

February 13, 2003|by TIM ROWLAND

I think we can all agree that when Washington County Commissioner John Munson called for the abolition of public schools last week, he was simply stating publicly something each and every one of us has thought privately at one time or another.

Of course, that time-or-another was generally at age 11 in science class after we had just been handed a pop quiz on arachnids.

I remember having wanted to abolish public schools lots of times. I still do occasionally, just on general principles over the torment that I was subjected to as a boy.

But Munson is the first grownup I've heard mention it in a while. Usually, the instant you graduate from high school you go from wishing schools would be eliminated to wishing schools would run the year 'round.

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These days I am strongly in favor of public schools. All year. Twenty-four hours a day. In Siberia.

But since public schools do not appear to be anywhere in the neighborhood of complying with my wishes, I think that I, too, am going to join forces with Munson in calling for private schools to take the place of public schools.

I think young people today need a strict curriculum in religion, hard work and staying the heck out of my azalea bed when they get off the bus.

If that takes a private schoolmaster with a Bible, a willow switch and an iron fist, so be it.

Hey, kids had their chance to be normal, and they blew it. Instead of presenting themselves as well-behaved, quiet, respectful young Americans, they - under the tutelage of public schools, mind you - become loud, spikey-haired, tire-squealing, mal-dressed gangsters. And no, I am not prone to stereotyping, and when I say something it is applicable to the entire human race.

Worse, it's not just school kids who perpetuate such nastiness. Their habits are being picked up by the pathetic boomer class in their ongoing futile effort to be "hip" and "cool" like they might have been but probably weren't back in the '60s.

So you're presented with the embarrassing spectacle of people in their 40s and 50s pretending to like rap, getting their navels pierced and wearing gawdawful hip hugger Mudd jeans even though they have a Body by Twinkies, just because they can't seem to admit they're aging.

They tune their minivan radios to the Revolution just so their kids' friends will think they're "with it" when they're driving them to art class and get their hair cut all mussy/short and use "molding wax" which accentuates their fat little faces and...

What was I talking about? Oh, public schools, right.

Yes, with one little tweak, I think Munson's anti-school stance has merit - that tweak being, I'm not real hot on private schools either. I'd eliminate everything.

For are we not the land of equal opportunity? Do we not tell our children that no American is above another?

What better way to prove this than to eliminate education altogether? Every kid would have exactly the same chance. No child would get a superior education because he lived in a rich neighborhood. There would be no more advantages for students whose life-of-privilege parents can afford to send them to Ivy League schools. The University of Michigan would not get in trouble over its admittance practices, because there would be no University of Michigan.

And that should make all us older folks happy, because in 20 years there would be no smart, educated young people competing for our jobs.

So obviously, I strongly disagree with Barbara Anderson of Hagerstown, who wrote the following poem, which I am only reprinting because I am nothing if not scrupulously fair:

"Pity John Munson,

The man is a saint.

He'd give back the raises

But the state says he "cain't.

"Postmaster John Munson,

Drawing retirement bounty.

He found out there's work

In running a county.

"The scholar, John Munson,

Went to school, passed the test.

And his child's educated,

So to heck with the rest!

"Commissioner John Munson,

Sincere through each gaffe.

Please don't leave office,

We all need the laugh!"

Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist.

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