George Bush the Presidential Joke(ster) Returns

So, after a long week of work, I was catching up on my reading and I find a news bit about former President George W. Bush giving a speech at a summit celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act, which was passed and signed by former President Lyndon Johnson.

George Bush

Credit: Jack Plunkett/Associated Press

The key point of the news bit wasn’t about the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act, it was about George Bush cracking a dirty joke during his speech. For those of you that haven’t seen or read about it, here goes. The setting for the summit was at former President Lyndon Johnson’s library, and for some reason only known to him, he thought he had to insert the following tasteless joke about presidential libraries:

“Former presidents compare their libraries the way other men may compare their, well…” Chuckle, chuckle.

Obviously he wasn’t referring to comparing accomplishments, good deeds or their contribution to the advancement of mankind, which is a good thing, because he would come up woefully short of that comparison.

Now I believe there’s a time and place for humor; and there’s a time and place for inappropriate humor. George Bush doesn’t understand the difference. Of course he’s known for his wit, but proffering a dirty joke to an audience of people there to celebrate civil rights was not a time and place for inappropriate humor. As matter of fact, it was downright classless. At least he didn’t crack another disgraceful joke about not finding WMD’s under the furniture in the Oval office.

During his speech he said he agreed with Lyndon Johnson that quality education is a top concern. In his heart I truly think he felt this way in 2001 when he secured passage of his landmark No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). However, NCLB was underfunded and had an unattainable goal of 100 percent of children would be proficient. This proficiency was to be determined by standardized testing, by which the results would be used to judge each school and teacher’s performance. If the goal was not attained, then the teachers got blamed, they got fired, and funding for the school was withheld. NCLB fully embraced this simplistic and one-dimensional method of educational assessment.

So, after more than a decade of NCLB, we now have school curriculums that are designed to ”teach to the test” so students can pass the standardized test, at the expense of learning the skills they will need in the 21st century. Testing should only be used in a diagnostic manner to identify achievement gaps, but then you have to do something about it. Testing should not be used to punish teachers and close schools so they can be set up for privatization.

“No Child Left Behind is firmly cemented as President Bush’s failed education experiment. Such overemphasis on standardized testing, combined with a lack of funding, has forced schools to narrow the curriculum and divert resources from art, music, social studies and physical education to teach to the test” said Dennis Van Roekel, National Education Association president.

Now I know he is still the hero of Faux news and tea partiers everywhere, but I really wish he would just stay in his house in the uppity Highland Park area of Dallas. That’s right, after leaving office he didn’t go back to his beloved ranch in Crawford, Texas. You know the ranch where he had all those photo ops of him chopping wood, driving his pickup truck and doing all those manly things that cowboys do.

Yep, George has moved on with his life… Now that he’s no longer the big “decider in charge”, he spends his time visiting his presidential library, also located in the uppity Highland Park area that includes SMU, and painting pictures of himself in the shower and other famous people he got to know while in office.

George, I saw your paintings, and if I were you I wouldn’t quit my day job. Oh, that’s right you don’t have a job anymore. Thank God.


Source: Former ‘No Child’ Supporter Says It’s A Failure, Diane Ravitch interview with Michel Martin on NPR 10-10-12

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