Cultural Revolutions

Today's Political Buzzword

Education is today's political buzzword, and, like any issue involving children, it is quickly becoming a trump card. Following President Clinton's cue, Jesse Jackson is traveling the country, raising support for an "education summit." And despite George Bush's claim to be the "education President," Clinton has put more of a mark on the American educational system, further centralizing education, both academically and financially, in Washington, D.C.

Most of the educational "goals" that Clinton set forth in his State of the Union Address were unobjectionable, although his overemphasis on technology and computer training is a problem, even for those who believe that the sole purpose of education is the production of skilled workers. Computer technology is advancing so rapidly that anything learned in grade school will be completely useless by the time the student enters the workforce. The visual imagery of computers has also undermined the development of fundamental skills such as reading and writing, and their presence in the classroom, and more importantly in homes, is one reason why a vast number of children are still unable to read at age eight.

The trouble with Clinton's educational plans, however, is that they represent further federal intervention in education, a subject traditionally reserved to states and local governments. Just as the constitutional language of preserving...

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