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Wednesday, September 28, 2016

By disparaging public education and increased access to college, Rick Santorum is overlooking one of America’s greatest historical achievements.

Rick Santorum has found a new populist voice in criticizing Obama’s “theology.” He claims he does not mean Obama is not a Christian, but apparently his belief in a number of progressive policies, including formal schooling for Americans, violates Santorum’s deeply held theological views. Pandering to ignorance is not new with Santorum. But surely the candidate determined to be the candidate of the working class has reached a new low. And he has given those who are sincerely religious a bad name. His misunderstanding of American history and how the economy grew is more than stunning.

In recent remarks, Santorum praises home schooling, claiming that with the rise of factories, Americans had to go to formal schools that were like factories. Public school is an anachronism, he says. But formal schooling is about as American a virtue as there is. Has Santorum read any American history?

In selling federal land to farmers, Thomas Jefferson and others insisted that some be set aside for a school house. In the Northeast, free and mandatory public schooling in the primary years was a singular and early achievement, and it occurred before the age of big factories. Perhaps nothing is as singular in American history is its development of a free primary school system that exceeded even Prussia’s in terms of the proportion of school age attendance by roughly the mid-1800s. The U.S. rate of enrollment was well ahead of France and England by then.

In a world in which computation and literacy were requirements for a modern economy — I am talking about the 19th century economy here — America was a leader. Santorum prefers some romantic view of farmers educating their children. But if homeschooling had dominated into the 20th century, America would not have become the world’s leading nation.

By the late 1800s, high schools were needed to hone skills still further as an industrial revolution of giant industrial, retailing, and services companies made America’s economy the largest in the world. Even factory work became more demanding. Educated Americans manned the factories and the bureaucracies of giant business institutions. In the early 1900s, women made rapid strides in getting their high school diplomas.

  • Jim Groom

    Each time I watch or read one of Santorum epistles I find myself enraged and saddened simultaneously. Enraged at his ignorance and that of his followers and saddened to think that he is among the favorites of his party. His rise speaks volumns too the sad state of political discourse in this country. He does not understand the need to temper his speech and speak truthfully.

  • Ursus Negro

    The only thing more disgusting than Rick Santorum’s ignorance, deceit, greed, fear is the ignorance of persons who support the noise made by wind blowing through his vocal cords.

  • maniac3

    Does this guy live in a cave? What is wrong with him…list too long.

  • stsintl

    With respect to his views on education, Rick Santorum is worst than Afghanistan’s Taliban who only oppose girls going to school and college but do not object men getting education. What is sad is that this Paliniot is so popular with the Republican voters that he is a challenge to Mitt Romney. Let’s all pray. God Bless America and protect it from Christian Talibans.

  • ps323945

    By calling peoples nike names is not apropriate, these unschool words
    Discredit the abilities of confidence , it’s better say a yoke than
    Making a comment as a fullish person, a man who talks with sences should
    Keep it up, and not discredit his good backgrounds. I believe thatt there is
    No power of gain when some one want’s minimaze others. Thanks.

  • StevenBrungard

    A religion business depends upon people being willing to substitute belief for knowledge. Public education exposes a person to a wealth of knowledge, presented in depth and breadth and manner beyond control of the religion business. This knowledge, presented during the formative years from preschool through college, can work against the religion business by forming questions of the religion prescribed beliefs and myths and morals and explanations and decisions. Home schooling makes inculcation easier by limiting and controlling the presentation of knowledge and by establishing beliefs to supplant knowledge and reducing the number and substance and quality of questions.

    Sadly, the home schooled Santorum children will have an education, limited and forged by the worldview of their father. If they attend college, it will be operated by a religion business. The result will be seven more Santorums, seven more, carefully honed, operatives for the religion business.

  • Itsjustmeagain

    Mr. Santorum show just where this country may be headed. His belief system, or pronouncement of his belief system will determine how he will try and make this government a Theocracy. His positions on several topics make him akin to the extremist of any religion who have taken over a country.

  • ps323945

    No Matter what Mr. Santorun, I have to wish you good luck on today at ,
    Michigan Election Conventions, after all , I want State Of Michigan, to
    Elect a Candidate who really care for the Auto Industry, I believe Mr.
    Romney has a bad image , for not to have a supporting on his home State. We
    Had a hard setlement debating the stimulus package , to save Michigan
    Auto Industry. I believe with all my heart, Mr. Mitt won’t deserve the supp.
    From his own home town.

  • Howz 1

    One of the greatest assets that helped power America from the 1950’s to today has been our educational system. People come from all over the world just to get educated here. The world is now flat and work is more global. Just sitting at home in front of your computer you can complete projects with people sitting in different parts of the country or the world. This is the new economy, and the future is for the educated to compete in it. Collaboration creates new oppurtunities and emerging industries. For Santorum to bash education, is to try and turn back the clock on the next industrial revolution and deprive future Americans with the education nneded to meet global challanges. He is pandering to an under educated group that is resentful of the higher educated, insead of pointing them to the future he is pointing them to the past and doing a terrible disservice to them and their children. His is a campagin of religion over reason and personal freedom. He is the new Ayatolla.

  • nhpoet

    Republican presidential candidates profess vigorously that they believe in smaller government and less regulation but advocate policy changes that will empower bigger government to violate individual rights and personal liberties.

    The separation of powers and the separation of church and state are under attack! Virginia and Alabama are among several states seeking to mandate an invasive probe of the womb before a woman can obtain an abortion – a constitutionally protected right. In New Hampshire, a Republican legislature majority (with the help of an outgoing Democratic governor) seek to amend the state constitution to get around state supreme court rulings that the state has the responsibility to fund public education.

    All these Republican cuts in education, excused by fiscal crises caused by the Great Recession, are merely the further “dumbing down” of America to allow the “big lies” of neoconservative fascism to obscure the dismantling of our democratic republic.

  • terango.lf

    I was trained in advanced electronics in the Navy. At age 20 I was an electronics instructor. At age 22 I was in charge of a $24 million weapons guidance system that tracked both air and surface targets and fired anti-air missiles, anti-ship missiles, and an artillery piece. All this and 50 cents wouldn’t buy me a cup of coffee today!
    When I discharged, I went to work in a shipyard installing and debugging weapon systems. Next, I taught electronics in a vocational school. Then I worked at a R&D lab working on prototype military electronics. And finally, I worked marine electronics on commercial tow boats on the Ohio River and her tributaries.
    However, after this, My electronics career went in the dumpster. My local broadcast stations would not even grant me an internship because I “wasn’t a college grad”.
    My father worked 30 yrs and retired from a steel mill. He was an Italian immigrants son and could neither read nor write! I finished out my working career as a long haul truck driver because of the money and opportunity until my health failed. Had I had a college education, there’s a good chance that I would still be able to work at a less demanding occupation.

  • Professor Curt

    Rick Santorum is just trying to head-off his (and all Politicians) worst nightmare: an Educated Voter who Thinks for Themselves. He would rather tell us how to think than have us learn to think for ourselves. He suspects – no, he KNOWS – what would happen if he faced an educated audience. Unless I’m mistaken, he avoids events at College / University campuses. Draw your own conclusions.

  • samuraiwarrior

    Certainly the job of politicians does not need college education. Just watch the Republican presidential primary debates- these candidates do not seem to have gone even to high school. And, Santorum belongs SANiTORiUM.

  • CRWard

    I was a college student on a summer job at the court house in Montgomery County, Kentucky, in 1946 when I first encountered illiteracy. Tobacco farmers who came in to renew their drivers’ licenses signed the forms with a shaky X, then touched the pen while I wrote their names. Would they have been able to effectively home-school their children, even if they had time do try? About twenty-five percent of adults in Alabama, where I have lived and taught for the last 54 years, have not finished high school. How effectively can they home school their children? Mr. Santorum’s world has never existed. I pray he won’t get a chance to create it.

  • john5651

    religion shouldn’t even be mentioned by any politician. they’re supposed to be running the government not my personal beliefs or my moral compass. i live in rick’s old district and the reason he didn’t get re-elected here is because he’s an idiot and i don’t think we need an idiot as president.

  • suzykerr

    My job often made it necessary to listen to floor debate when certain bills came up in Congress back in the 90s and I didn’t have a remote so I used to have to stand up and walk across the room to turn the volume off whenever Santorum stood up to speak. I admitted this at a meeting I was at and couldn’t believe how many of my colleagues did the same thing. This is a guy whose staff made sure he was equipped with 3×5 cards so he wouldn’t be unscripted. I think he needs those 3×5 cards today! I am grateful to Jeff Madrick for taking the time to explain the history of education and point out just how uneducated Santorum those out there who didn’t have to stand up and walk across the room to turn the sound off. I love remotes!

  • politicalhack

    I also have a website, but would not think of using this forum for cheap advertising. You must be a product of Santorums home education plan. I didnt know it had happened yet.

  • imabrummie

    How predictable that someone as intellectually bankrupt as Ayatollah Santorum would seek to deny access to higher education. Specimens such as this individual feel threatened by anyone who they perceive to be of a higher intelligence than themselves.

  • dawnowens

    Some enterprising reporter should get a couple of his older home-schooled kids on tape discussing their views of the world and see what the result of homeschooling, in the Santorum household, really is. While I’m an advocate of homeschooling, the parents have to have a clue to make it work, and the children have to be bright. Otherwise, leave it in the hands of the professionals.

    Anyone who is as religiously oriented as this man is, is not educated. He’s brainwashed and seems frightened of the world rather than one to engage it. He won’t win the presidency against Obama, but he will give everyone a reason to look at the third party candidates; Gary Johnson and Rocky Anderson the most interesting of them.

  • dhall

    Santorum is a real piecs of work. He needs to slide over and let the Mormon lead the way. Rick santorum obviously doesn’t know which way is up. The 1800s in Europe should be important enough for us all to understand why church & state needs to be separate. We sure don’t need to go down that road.

  • Sondraqt

    People like Rick Santorum,would love a theocracy,so instead of just a plutocracy which we already have,We would have a theocratic plutocracy or vice versa. Religion in this country is really beginniing to hold us back with all the discussions about who is and who isn’t religious enough. Countries,like China. where religion is not dominant, can accomplish much more without having to please all the history. Let’s get on with the process of decent government that uses reason rather than hypocrisy. Sondra Grossman

  • Sondraqt

    People like Rick Santorum,would love a theocracy,so instead of just a plutocracy which we already have,We would have a theocratic plutocracy or vice versa. Religion in this country is really beginniing to hold us back with all the discussions about who is and who isn’t religious enough. Countries,like China. where religion is not dominant, can accomplish much more without having to please all the history. Let’s get on with the process of decent government that uses reason rather than hypocrisy. Sondra Grossman

  • grjohnsonlaw

    It isn’t Santorum who is the problem; it is those people who support him. Santorum, like other crazies throughout history, is spinning a tale that I would have thought no reasonable person would ever buy into. Yet, Santorum is neck in neck with Romney; and in some states he is ahead of Obama in the polls. As I think about it, reasonable people have brought into the tales of many crazies. I have always believed that the USA thrived by believing a fiction it has been weaving since its founding. Our real history is one of racism, sexism, hate, envy, hypocrisy and greed. America turned the seven deadly sins into virtue and used religion to justify it. To write that Santorum flunks history is only preaching to the choir because his supporters will either not read this article or if they do will raise their voices louder for Santorum. I was raised a Christian and a Republican. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would turn against both of them. These so-called Santorum Christians have done what Pontius Pilot failed at doing. Their souls deserve no mercy.

    • Christian Martin

      Very good points. Many good souls followed Hitler in the 30’s & 40’s who never truly saw through the facade and the double speak until it it was far too late. I have been so utterly disgusted and disappointed with President Obama’s failures too even try to live up to Candidate Obama’s plans/promises that I could never have seen myself voting for the man again…….until now. The only sensible candidate of the bunch is Ron Paul and he and America don’t realize that the Federal Reserve,Goldman Sachs and our shadow government will make sure he meets the same end as J.F.K. if he winds up winning or even gaining too much momentum. Lord Of The Rings excerpt – ” Satanum has the ring and all hope is lost. ”

  • Emad

    Santorum, acting as himself, as a Caveman{AKA Neenderthal) calling Obama’s call for higher education a Snob is not surprising, giving his stance on separation between Church and State , his views on contraceptives, his views about women in combate, etc. Santorum just reitratting his dumb views in general. Hoevere, he is not to blame for the status of the GOP, but all those who are flocking to him like sheep. Perhaps the GOP is seeing this as a pretext to outsourcing our jobs and depriving the midddle class of every working opportunity, by saying, India has a high number of highly educated working class, and thatis why we send your jobs there?

  • Common Sense Patriot

    I have no respect for Santorum at all. I’m an Independent who usually votes Republican but voted for Obama in the last election. If Santorum is the nominee, then Obama will get my vote again even though I feel he is only the lesser of two bad choices. Re: Education in America – 50% of high school graduates are functionally illiterate and we are down to at least number 18 internationally in terms of ecucational achievement. While it is true that “not everybody needs to go to college,” at least two years of post-high school education/training are already necessary for anyone who wants a decent job in life. And that will only accelerate in a world economy. Despite what the politicians say, manufacturing and the well paying middle class jobs requiring only a high school education or less are a thing of the past. Those jobs will not come back to America until every third world country with cheap labor has raised their economic level to match ours. As a retired business executive and former Human Resources exec, I can assure you that employers want skilled and educated people. They have fewer and fewer jobs that can be filled by people without specialized or advanced education. We do need to vastly improve our vocational education for those who can’t afford or don’t want to go to a four year college. But community colleges can play a major role in this. Public-private cooperation and partnerships is the key to establishing relevant training and educational programs that actually prepare people for today’s jobs. In the future, whatever education you have will be obsolete within 5 to 8 years, so you’ll need to constantly update your skills. That’s one of the reasons many college graduates today can’t find work after the Great Recession (aside for the fact that there are not enough jobs!). The other is that too many major in liberal arts subjects that have little value in the real world. Not that some liberal arts education is not needed even with a degree in STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) but we have to focus on hard skills. And we have to make it affordable to go to community or four year colleges. It is becoming out of reach for many Americans. I know. I’ve sent 4 kids to college with one still in and it’s financially devastating even in public colleges and schools. As for as K-12 education goes, no one can make a case that the current methods of teaching are working – for a variety of reasons, that range from disinterested parents and students, to teachers and administrators more concerned with lining their pockets in cushy jobs instead of actually educating the students (look at all those who stoop to cheating to get their kids through standardized tests!). But one and only one solution has consistently proven to work, even in underprivileged neigborhoods where the students and parents are usually blamed — Charter Schools. There are many, many examples of successful charter schools that not only have an extremely low dropout rate, but where most of the students go on to and graduate from college. These kids are some of the highest achievers in the nation, better even that schools in rich communities. In such Charter Schools, the principals are empowered to hire the best teachers, pay them well, and fire those who don’t measure up. The teachers are rewarded (up to $100,000 plus a year in salary) for producing high achieving students. The parents are not only supportive (even in inner city poverty stricken areas) but the kids stay at school as long as they have to in order to learn the material. Learn it, not just regurgitate it. If they have to stay till 8 p.m. at night, that’s what they do. And the irony is — the kids love it. Many are kids for low achieving schools who were on the way to being dropouts but who now love to go to school and praise the teachers. It doesn’t take a genius to see this. Even a minimal amount of research proves that Charter Schools are the only way to go. So why don’t we implement this model in every school across the country? Politics, entrenched interests, teacher’s unions, and “pie in the sky” “head in the sand” idealists who don’t recognize the need for real change and instead believe in just throwing money at the problem are to blame. But it sure doesn’t help to have a potential President knocking the whole idea of college and public schooling without being more specific as to the solution. It’s certainly not home schooling — which is often very effective, but how many parents can afford for one parent not to work so they can take on this job for their kids? How many are even qualified? I have a nephew who is home schooled and it is working out well for him, but his father earns enough money that his already educated mother can spend the time to do this for her son. What about single parents? How are they going to home school? Yes, the old models, even though they were rigid, did serve us well. But they no longer do so. It’s time to recognize the need for change and what works and institute it. There is no better way to spend our money than on quality education for our citizens. If we don’t, the U. S. will continue to sink economically and end up as “has been” nation.

  • wayup

    The first thing a dictator of a country does is to get rid of all teachers and education. Is this what Santorum is leading our great country into? Making everyone uneducated so he can brainwash them for control. I am truly saddened by what’s happening in our politics with these profoundly ignorant and stupid conservative Republicans. Or are they? Maybe they think we are the ignorant and stupid ones. They may not be as ignorant and stupid as we think. This could be their way of controlling us… really!

  • isshindg

    Far right-wing people, especially of the evangelical sort like Santorum, are by nature bigots. They believe they, and they alone, have a direct connection to God. So, it’s either their way or their way. No other is conceivable. End of discussion, if it ever existed to begin with. Intolerance is the order of the day. How else can one explain Santorum’s disgust with Obama’s supposed alien world view, or his wanting to puke at the thought of JKF’s Houston speech on religion vs. the state? The purpose of education is to expand one’s intellectual and emotional horizons, to free the mind and spirit, in the direction of self-actualization. Which means developing an independent mind capable of free-thinking. But free thinking, as well as the people who engage in it called freethinkers, is anathema to those of bigoted mentality. The right-wingers have sought to cast Barak Obama as different. Well, different he may very well be. But what’s so wrong with that? To reasonable people, that’s an easy question to answer. To the bigoted mind, it’s impossible.

  • Christian Martin

    I consider myself to have conservative leanings on some issues even though I mistakenly voted for Barrack Obama. I also mistakenly voted for Bush. But Satanum makes me embarrassed to be conservative about anything. Did’nt this jerk say he was going to try to annul any gay marriages on the books? You may only find happiness and God using Sanitorium’s way.