The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

April 4, 2013

Your View: Contrast in education essays

By Henry Morgan
Special to The Globe

JOPLIN, Mo. — Rarely have I read a more thoughtful, cogent, well-written and well-argued essay than Caroline Tubbs’ deconstruction of Geoffrey Caldwell’s attack on Kirby Newport’s discussion of public education and Senate Bill 26 in Missouri.

The contrast between her reasoned and documented argument and Caldwell’s snarky, snide, ad hominem attack is glaring and revealing. Her explication of Senate Bill 26, the subject of the debate, is clear and her projection of its results is precise and to the point.

Tubbs notes Caldwell’s “swipe at the 25 percent of total revenue mandated by Missouri state law” and asks whether he is saying “Missouri schools get more than their fair share” or “quit whining and be grateful for what you get.” I think she has it right in both cases.  

He says: “That is not a personal slight to him (Newport) or the tens of thousands of other teachers doing all they can with what they’re given. It is merely a reflection of a system that has moved the profession away from objective instruction and onto a six-lane highway of political correctness, multiculturalism, and ‘methods’ with rest stops at every mile marker overflowing with free cups of feelings, emotions and self-esteem.”

Really? It sure sounds like an attack. Who does Caldwell blame for “moving the profession away”? Who created the “system” to which he has such strong objections?

After two sentences like the above, Caldwell tells us that the debate should be based on fact, not emotion? It is revealing to learn how Caldwell defines “fact” and “emotion.” If he really wants to see the difference, I suggest he not only read, but study, Caroline Tubbs’ excellent article.

She concludes: “I applaud Mr. Newport’s courage to champion students, teachers, parents, and concerned citizens who have the best interest of Missouri public education at heart.” So do I, and Caroline Tubbs, in the phrase so common these days, “Right back at you.”

Henry Morgan