It is not often a local newspaper carries a doubleheader of wrongheadness on its Opinion page on the exact same day, but such was the case in last Wednesday’s Times. I am referring to the letter from Mary Worley and the column by Thomas Sowell. Neither piece passes the test of critical-thinking logic, a subject which I have taught for many years, nor do these items even pass the infamous “sniff test” often applied to such political articles.
Ms. Worley has bought into our governor’s advocacy of the Amendment 1 ballot question to endorse turning over control of many local schools to a new statewide entity, which undoubtedly will be composed primarily of the governor’s cronies and others with vested interests in turning vital public schools over to be privatized.
A modicum of research shows this type of scheme has failed miserably in other jurisdictions, such as Baltimore and Hartford, where privatization mainly let greedy education privateers gouge their schools with larger classes and ancient textbooks in order to make a profit.
Local control of local schools has been a cornerstone of American education for more than two centuries, an approach that would be damaged, if not destroyed, under this misbegotten proposal. The error in logic here is to assume that because there are admittedly problems with the present educational system, this approach would be better. That is not at all the case, which is why every single knowledgeable group has expressed its strong opposition to Amendment 1. Sometimes, as in this case, the cure is indeed far worse than the disease.
Sowell, in the second part of the wrongheaded doubleheader, uses misleading and slanted statistics to woefully attempt to counter the truthful reality that, to quote him, “the greatest moral claim of the political left is that they are for the masses in general, and for the poor in particular,” which he then calls “their greatest fraud.”
Actually, the greatest fraud here is Sowell’s article, which suggests, to take just one example, that higher minimum wages create “far higher rates of unemployment.” Strange, then, that the typical European minimum wage is over twice as high as ours, but unemployment is not much different than it is here. Sowell seems content to have a minimum wage here which puts many full-time working families below the poverty level.
The remainder of his column is no better than this portion, or even worse. Sowell owes an apology to all those progressives (a better term than “the political left”) whom he has wrongfully impugned with his illogic, starting with Sen. Bernie Sanders. Sowell himself needs a course in critical thinking.