Schooling Matt Damon


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Actor Matt Damon is a walking, talking public service reminder to immunize your children early and often against La-La-Land disease.

In Damon’s world, all public school teachers are selfless angels. Government workers and Hollywood entertainers are impervious to economic incentives. And anyone who disagrees is a know-nothing, “corporate reformer” ingrate who hates education.

Last week, the liberal box-office star addressed a “Save Our Schools” march in Washington at the behest of his mother, a professor of early childhood education. He attacked standardized tests. He praised all the public school teachers who “empowered” him and unlocked his creative potential by rejecting “silly drill and kill nonsense.” Speaking on behalf of “an army of regular people,” Damon decried the demoralization of teachers by ruthless, results-oriented free marketeers whom he mocked as “simple-minded.”

What Damon’s superficial tirade lacked, however, was any real-world understanding of the deterioration of core curricular learning in America. Students can’t master simple division or fractions because today’s teachers — churned out through lowest common denominator grad schools and shielded from competition — have barely mastered those skills themselves. Un-educators have abandoned “drill and kill” computation for multicultural claptrap and fuzzy math, traded in grammar fundamentals for “creative spelling,” and dropped standard civics for save-the-earth propaganda.

Consequence: bottom-basement U.S. student scores on global assessments over the past two decades. Blaming the tests is blaming the messenger. The liberal education establishment’s response to its abject academic failures? Run away. This is why the Save Our Schools agenda championed by Damon calls for less curricular emphasis on math and reading — and more focus on social justice, funding and “equity” issues.

Out: Reading is fundamental.

In: Feeling is fundamental.

After his drippy pep talk absolving teachers of any responsibility for America’s educational morass, Damon then lashed out at a young libertarian reporter who had the audacity to ask him about the negative impact of lifetime teacher tenure. “In acting there isn’t job security, right?” Reason.tv’s Michelle Fields asked Damon. “There is an incentive to work hard and be a better actor because you want to have a job. So why isn’t it like that for teachers?”

It’s elementary that people will work longer and harder if they know they will be rewarded. There’s nothing anti-teacher about the question.

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  • http://www.contextflexed.com Flipside

    Some women will go to any length to get their name on a marquee beneath Matt Damon’s.

    • StephenD

      Because what she said is wrong??
      I grow weary of the tired arguments that are not arguments at all. Immediately, the ad hominems fly because there is no argument of facts to support your position. Sad, and America is getting fed up with your rhetoric.

  • kblink45

    It was just another angry email wondering why Johnny's grades had dropped. I responded, as usual, that Johnny wasn't turning in his homework and that he needed to participate more. What happened next was a miracle. I didn't hear a word from my principal and yet Johnny started doing his homework and paying attention in class. He even asked questions! His grades stopped free-falling. I shouldn't have been shocked. The original email had demonstrated barely above a fourth grader's mastery of English. Johnny's parents weren't typical American parents, who have a red phone to the administration and believe that education is an entitlement. His parents were first generation Chinese immigrants. When I asked them later how they had pulled off this miracle, they explained that they told Johnny to "pay attention and do your work!" And, risking the ire of the ACLU, they had also taken Johnny's xbox away until his grades improved.

    The true cause of America's decline is cultural, and education is simply one front line in this war. Reforming education will come to naught unless spheres of personal responsiblity are reestablished and enforced.

    • Jim_C

      "The true cause of America's decline is cultural, and education is simply one front line in this war. Reforming education will come to naught unless spheres of personal responsiblity are reestablished and enforced."

      Exactly.

      I don't know what Michelle Malkin is talking about re: "fuzzy math" and "creative spelling;" my kids math is different than mine but much more integrative and practical. I actually think it is superior to the "drill and kill" math I learned because the underlying concepts are reinforced through application.

      That parents long out of school don't understand that does not surprise me–but they should either make the effort, or find someone who can help.

  • Armando

    If Damon performed as many of so-called teachers perform in schools he'd be laughed out of a job pronto by moviegoers.

    • Jim_C

      Hey Armando, aren't you late for the rocket surgery you're performing, genius?

  • SoCalMike

    Tinsel town ass hats like Damon just can't avoid revealing their overall ignorance and lack of knowledge whenever they open their mouths without rehearsed lines.
    Matt Damon should read. I would say read more and speak less but I doubt he reads much at all beyond scripted movie lines he has to memorize.

  • DavidB

    I used to like Damon, now I just think he’s a misguided dote. It’s a real shame.