Orcs, as depicted by Tolkien in his epic work The Lord of the Rings, are an unhappy lot, hating everyone, especially themselves and their masters whom they serve only out of fear. Sound like modern-day Republicans? Well, that’s probably not a fair comparison. Shame on you for thinking like that. Although, I must admit, looking at the Secretary of Education that Donald Trump has foisted upon us with the aid of senate Republicans, there is probably good reason you might think that.
Orcs, according to Tolkien, create no beautiful things. They live out their lives violently destroying everything and everyone they touch. They are greedy, corrupt, disloyal, and generally the very definition of ugliness. And they have been the opponents of good public education for as long as I have been associated with schools and teaching.
Orcs always tell me, “You can’t solve education’s problems by throwing money at them.” What they really mean when they say this is either, “I can afford to put my kids in a good school that will only teach them what I want them to know, and I don’t think any of my money should be taken from me by taxation to pay for the education of poor people’s kids, especially not stupid poor people’s kids.” Or, more likely, “I am too dumb not to believe rich white people when they say the world will be better for me and mine if I let rich white people keep all the money they make and make all the money they want.” Either way, in Texas where the orcs have ruled since the Reagan Revolution first won over the rich white orcs that carry their orcish tribal banners all over oil-rich Texas, money has never been an issue for Texas public schools. There simply is no money for public schools in Texas. Over the past decade the State has always chosen to cut school funding before dipping into their vaunted billion-dollar rainy day fund whenever the Republican legislatures create a huge budget shortfall. And whenever there has been a budget surplus, education funds are not restored. Things like the fight against evil Planned Parenthood clinics take precedence.
Now Betsy DeVos, who became our current Secretary of Education despite resistance from all non-orc members of the US Senate, plus two orcs, will now give the orc hordes everything they want for education. The federal Department of Education will be dismantled from the inside. Privatized for-profit schools will become the new normal and receive funding disproportionate to the work they actually do. All the cream belonging to rich folks will be skimmed off the top of the educational milk vat, and the rest will be left to fester and spoil in public school vats, becoming, at best, really really stinky cheese.
And so, let me end by saying, “Thank you, orcs, for doing such a wonderful job of protecting my children and grandchildren from the horrors of education and the ability to think for themselves. You have protected them from ever learning enough to pull themselves out of the poverty and slavish lives you have put them in.”