(Guest Post by Matthew Ladner)
A reader of this blog has taken me to task for not spelling the word “yahoo” correctly. This is deeply distressing and unfair! An expert in such things (a man from Wyoming) once imparted to me lore regarding the distinction between a “yahoo” and a “yayhoo.” Perhaps it is spelled the way it is pronounced: “yay-hoo.” I can’t be certain.
The distinction was very fine-I think “yahoo” might have made reference to people who don’t know as much as they think they do, whereas “yayhoo” might refer to someone far-gone on the ideological spectrum as to have lost touch with reality. I find it all a bit confusing, so I tend to use the terms interchangeably.
Now the writer also makes her case against Tony along the way. “With the advent of President Bush’s No Child Left Behind in 2001, followed by President Obama’s Race to the Top, Common Core and NCLB waiver programs, we have been under constant pressure to surrender education decision-making to Washington and its trade association partners. Every aspect of voter disdain can be traced to the requirements imposed by federal programs such as the Race to the Top Fund Assessment Grant and the NCLB waiver.”
So the people of Indiana rose up in long-suffering anger regarding federal interference in schools and chose to take it out on Tony Bennett. This is plausible if we take “the people” to mean “the writer” but not so much otherwise.
Tony didn’t have anything to do with NCLB, and Indiana pulled out of the Race to the Top competition. I’d be willing to wager by left big-toe that if we administered a survey to the Indiana public and asked them to explain the elements of Indiana’s NCLB waiver that all but a small percentage would likely reply “what NCLB waiver?” or something similar. People are rational actors and the vast majority of them won’t make time in their lives to learn anything more about NCLB waivers than studying Mayan hieroglyphs absent some good reason to do so. I’m also willing to bet that the new Superintendent will lose her real or imagined federalist fervor and choose not to nullify the waiver so as to have almost every public school in Indiana facing NCLB sanctions.
Never mind any of that- we mustn’t let mere logic or facts get in the way of a good conspiracy theory, especially if the conspiracy is thwarting the will of the public. Tony Bennett was controlled by Arne Duncan and special interests, and this NEA candidate will serve as Tribune to the People. Let’s see how that works out. Tuttle concludes “As for Ladner and his ilk, I note that long ago, the British disdainfully called the patriots ‘Yankee Doodles,’ and they mocked George Washington as an ignoramus. So go ahead. Call me a yahoo. But if you paint my portrait, make sure you show me holding the Declaration of Independence in one hand and the Constitution in the other.”
For my part, I’m content to allow Tuttle to continue to draw her own self-portrait and for readers to reach their own conclusions.