Two days ago, Hank Reichman did a post on the anti-science bias on the House Science Committee.
In the Ohio House, we now have a parallel situation.
Here is how Diane Ravitch has described the new chairperson of the House Education Committee:
“State Representative Andrew Brenner recently became chairman of Ohio’s House Education Committee. His views are extreme, to say the least. He believes that public schools are socialistic, along the lines of the old Soviet Union. He is upset that children don’t read the Bible in school, a practice banned by the U.S. Supreme Court half a century ago.
“This is the kind of slander about public schools that was popular among hard-right Republicans in the 1940s and 1950s. I wonder if Rep. Brenner also considers police and firefighters to be socialistic and if he objects to public parks, beaches, and highways.
“Brenner was co-sponsor of the bill that allows the state to takeover the Youngstown school district and to place a non-educator in charge with sweeping power.
“Rep. Brenner reminds us that the assault on public education will end only when supporters of sane, centrist, and equitable education policies are returned to public office.”
Ravitch is drawing on an article written by Jim Siegal and published in the Columbus Dispatch, which also includes these inconsistencies in Brenner’s publicly stated views on public schools:
In a statement on his appointment as committee chair, Brenner wrote: “’Having a good education is the building block of a person’s life, and one of the most important functions that our state’s constitution requires of us. I am passionate about making sure that every child in this state has equal access to an excellent public education, and am excited to have this opportunity.’”
Yet, in the online column in which he called public education a “’socialist system,’” Brenner suggested that “’the only long-run solution is to move to a more privatized system’ as Russia did a couple of decades ago.” Moreover, “the red hammer-and-sickle flag appeared above the column on a website that was run by his wife.” Then, “when some later criticized him with vulgarities, Benner retorted, ‘I am guessing those people had a public education.’” After he was chastised by the Speaker of the House at that time, he said “he was being sarcastic, admitting he should have used a different choice of words.”
By the way, just to be clear, I am quoting from an article in the Columbus Dispatch, which is not regarded by anyone as a progressive newspaper.
Siegal’s complete article is available at: http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/national_world/2015/10/22/andrew-brenner-education-chair.html