Friday, September 11, 2009
New Axegrinder on the Block
The forces of ignorance and reaction fighting against building a new high school in Fayetteville, and funding public education generally, are pimping a new blog called Mid-Riffs that says it is a broad view from mid-America. However, it seems to take a rather narrow view of a single topic, that being opposition to the millage for the new high school. Book-banner Laurie Taylor Masterson and the Teabaggers are swapping arguments freely between blog posts and using them for copy in their online flyer against the millage. I would guess the blog is getting far more readers than Masterson's anemic Washington Co. TEA Party (6 members) and Tom Sawyer's Reboot Fayetteville High School (11 members) groups on Facebook.
Today, Laurie Taylor Masterson was recommending the latest Mid-Riffs blog post by Josh McGee to her 1,150 facebook friends. "Friends, I encourage you to read this blog post the read the other 'Castles in the sand' and get the word out before the citizens of Fayetteville are dooped!" Yes, you know, a public school education that might teach their children how to spell duped and not get flim-flammed by the raging hysteria of a ranting Teabagger.
This new blog tips its ideological hand with links to Jay P. Greene's Blog and the website of the $20 million Walton Department of School Vouchers. There are other political blogs listed, too, but it appears that most hang to the right. The principal blogger is Joshua McGee, one of Greene's Research Associates and no friend of public education. McGee boasts that he was the former headmaster at Haas Hall Academy, the charter school out at Farmington, where he was always arguing with the Arkansas Department of Education about certification of the curriculum and the shaky financial condition of the school. He is now a graduate student in the Wal-Mart College of Business. where he says he has a steady reading diet of Ayn Rand and Friedrich von Hayek, neither of whom would be mistaken for supporters of public schools.
One of the regular posters is Brian Kisida, another Research Associate in Greene's Klavern, who co-authored a report with Greene for the right-wing Manhattan Institure and later republished in a journal, claiming that civic education in public schools went to hell in a handbasket sometime after the Brown decision and the Civil Rights Act when multi-cultutalism resulted in more schools named after King and Chavez than Truman. The real shame came when schools started getting named for natural features like Happy Hollow, Owl Creek, Woodland, Hillcrest, or Butterfield Trail instead of dead white guys like Washington, Jefferson, and Leverett. "If we can’t agree on a school name less innocuous than a creek," they asked, "what are the odds that schools will teach... or take a stand on the virtues of liberty?" Eco-sissies, indeed.
The blog is well-written and uses the attractive WordPress format. Whether it is just the mouthpiece for Mrs. Masterson and Dr. Greene to bash public schools or can present an independent mind and broader perspective on other topics from mid-America, we will soon see, assuming it lasts longer than next Tuesday's election.