Monday, February 04, 2008

Garrison Keillor Gets One Right, Finally 

Most residents of the Twin Cities know Garrison Keillor, the brilliant creator of A Prairie Home Companion, one of the longest running radio shows on NPR. Mr. Keillor, along with so many in the entertainment industry, have spent the last seven years criticizing our President, his policies, our nation and anyone who supported President Bush.

There is an exception and for this, I thank Mr. Keillor. Sunday, February 3, he had an opinion piece in the Star Tribune newspaper. (I cannot seem to find it - perhaps it's been removed? kb adds: perhaps it's a reprint of this article in Salon a few days ago) The title, "And the righteous, it turns out, shall muck up the earth" discusses how liberals are failing to teach our children well. In this article he attacks the liberal mindset that simply accepts lower test scores for poor and minority children. He duly notes that "reading is the key to everything. Teaching children to read is a fundamental moral obligation of our society. That 27% (of MN's children are below basic proficiency in fourth grade) are at serious risk of crippling illiteracy is an outrageous scandal." He's right.

The vast majority of children can be taught to read if they are given good texts, teachers who really care, and a learning system based on phonics - not the garbage that has been spewed from the ivory tower institutions of the past 36+ years. My last school taught poor and minority kids to read, at grade level. It can be done.

Teaching children to read is a must but so is teaching children to respect the law, even when we don't like the results. Children must also be taught that our nation was created to give people a chance to rule themselves, the first ever on such a massive scale. We made mistakes but what sets us apart is we correct them.

While I commend Mr. Keillor on this op-ed, I hope he will also start to realize the damage done to a nation's people (including their children) when far too many famous people spend too much of their media capital dissing our nation, our history, our elected officials, etc. At least Mr. Keillor knows where the reading problem is. His key quote: "It is morally disgusting if Democrats throw out Republican programs that are good for children." I never thought I'd read a comment like this by him.

Again, thank you, Mr. Keillor