She hates her kids' teachers and schools: In this morning's New York Times, David Brooks initiates a project.
In principle, he has a decent idea. That said, his headline and his opening paragraph seem to announce different goals:
BROOKS (11/22/16): Fellow Trump Critics, Maybe Try a Little ListeningIn his headline, Brooks seems to say that he wants to listen to Trump voters. In his opening paragraph, he says he wants to imagine one such person.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the best imaginable Trump voter. This is the Trump supporter who wasn’t motivated by racism or bigotry. This is the one who cringed every time Donald Trump did something cruel, vulgar or misogynistic.
He wants to imagine the best Trump voter. What could be wrong with that?
When journalists start "imagining" things, things tend to go off-track. In this case, when Brooks imagines the best Trump voter, she seems to hate her children's teachers and their predictably crappy schools:
BROOKS (continuing directly): But this voter needed somebody to change the systems that are failing her. She needed somebody to change the public school system that serves the suburban children of professors, journalists and lawyers but has left her kids under-skilled and underpaid. She needed some way to protect herself from the tech executives who give exciting speeches about disruption but don’t know anything about the people actually being disrupted.When Brooks imagines this best Trump voter, he suddenly starts to channel Michelle Rhee.
She is one of those people whom Joan C. Williams writes about in The Harvard Business Review who admires rich people but disdains professionals—the teachers who condescend to her, the doctors who don’t make time for her, the activists whose definition of social justice never seems to include the suffering people like her experience.
This voter wants leaders tough enough to crack through the reigning dysfunction...
This imaginary person "disdains" her children's teachers. According to Brooks, these imaginary teachers "condescend to" this imaginary parent.
As for her children's imaginary school system, it "has left her kids under-skilled and underpaid." She hopes that a President Trump will "crack through the reigning dysfunction."
Later, Brooks starts imagining this Trump voter again. Once again, just like that, he's spouting standardized cant:
BROOKS: Those of us in the opinion class have been complaining that Trump voters are post-truth, that they don’t have a respect for expertise. Well, the experts created a school system that doesn’t produce skilled graduates. The experts designed Obamacare exchanges that are failing. Maybe those of us in the professional class need to win back some credibility the old-fashioned way, with effective reform.For ourselves, we've always been unimpressed with the general caliber of our "educational experts." That said, no experts ever "created a school system." This is simply another free-form attack on our ratty public schools.
Brooks has some decent ideas today. That said, he himself might "win back some credibility" if he would train himself not to be such a shill concerning a sector he probably doesn't know a great deal about.
Presumably, this best Trump voter is white. We recently spent five weeks detailing an unmentionable fact:
Brooks is reciting standard elite scripts derived from two international testing programs (the Pisa and the Timss). But uh-oh! On those tests, our white kids score roughly as well as the amazing, show-stopping children found in miraculous Finland.
We'll guess that Brooks doesn't know such facts. Concerning our ratty public schools and their fiendish public school teachers, he does know how to recite approved script in a heartless, disdainful manner.
Ironic, ain't it? Brooks praises the way his imaginary voter recoiled from Trump's more loutish statements. Immediately, he launches into a set of loutish statements himself!
As is routinely the case with Trump, Brooks probably doesn't know a huge amount about this subject. But he does know the standard guild-approved scripts about our public schools.
Our public schools could be much better. Then again, so could our New York Times columnists.
Brooks hates it when Trump launches into the ugly. No sooner has he repeated this claim than he launches the ugly himself.