Thursday, March 02, 2006

Why Mommy is a Democrat 
So I just sat through the Northern Alliance Radio Network podcast of an interview with Professor Jeremy Zilber, author of "Why Mommy is a Democrat."

I have got to say that I have not heard an in depth interview with such a vapid, muddleheaded, and obtuse person in a long time. His research is nonexistent, and his fund of information is sorely lacking.* Not only that, but he fails to accept responsibility for the content of his own book. For example, the book portrays an elephant trampling a park bench which served as a bed for a homeless person. An elephant. Get it? But Zilber is such a craven puppy that he can't even own up to the idea that the elephant represents Republicans.

All told, a tawdry and sordid effort.

Unfortunately, there's a long and sordid history to indoctrinating children against their fellow citizens while they're young.

*Case in point: Zilber argues, in the interview, that the reason private school students outperform public school students is because private schools have bigger budgets and pay teachers more. That is patently false. The most recent information I could find based on a comprehensive survey indicates that private school teachers, on average, earn just 60 percent of what public school teachers earn - and deliver superior test scores for it. There is a case to be made that private schools benefit from selection bias. But Zilber fails to make that argument.

Splash, out


It would appear that mommy is a democrat because she took critical thinking from the likes of Zilber.
Further anecdotal evidence that the author's teacher salary argument is bunk. I went to a private high school 15 years ago. Someone asked one of our teachers about the annual strike threat by teachers in a neighboring public district. The prof said they already made 20% more than the most tenured profs at our school. I hear it's still generally true today. By the way, this is a school where over 2/3rds of the teachers have masters degrees or better, and they routinely stay with the school for 30,40,50+ years. They're not in it for the money or comfy union bennies. They see more important rewards: Preparing us dopey kids for the REAL world.
I had a very similar experience. I went to a private school for wealthy brats where most of the teachers had MAs and PhDs, but the teachers got paid only 66-75% of their public school counterparts. The seniors typically drove MUCH better cars (BMW, Porsche, Saab Turbo) than the beat-up pieces of crap the teachers drove, it was sad.

Sorry you find me so vapid and obtuse, but for someone who claims to be interested in accurate research and facts, you sure are misrepresenting what I said. My argument wasn't that private schools pay higher salaries; rather, I said private schools have more money to spend on teachers, facilities, etc. I said private schools are able to hire MORE teachers (which is one of the reasons they tend to have smaller class sizes) and attract BETTER teachers (in part due to the smaller class sizes, better equipment, nicer buildings, etc.). It's true that public school teachers make higher salaries on average, but they also have heavier workloads, and, I suspect, are more likely to teach outside their fields of expertise. I should add that private school teachers are much more likely to receive subsidized or free housing. In other words, you can't judge a school's wealth simply by looking at its teachers' salaries.

You also claim that I'm "such a craven puppy" that I "can't even own up to the idea that the elephant represents Republicans." Really? When I was asked the question, "So you've actually got a page in the book where the Republican elephant squashes the bench of the homeless man?" my response was "That's right." How is this not owning up? I did say that children wouldn't understand the elephant's symbolic meaning, but that's a far cry from suggesting the elephant isn't meant to represent Republicans.

Obviously you don't like my book or me. So be it. But if you're as right as you think you are, and I'm as obtuse as you think I am, then you ought to be able to prove it without having to distort or fabricate.
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