Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Unifying Theory of Louisiana

The truth pops up in the damnedest places sometimes.

Like in the mouth of a Louisiana legislator.

IN THIS CASE, it was state Rep. Austin Badon Jr., D-New Orleans, who accidentally stumbled upon the Unifying Theory of Louisiana. That's the theory, heretofore little discussed in the Gret Stet, that explains why things are so bad there . . . and getting worse.

Let's see if you can spot where the Unifying Theory of Louisiana pops up in this excerpt
from a Baton Rouge Advocate story about high-school graduation standards:
Roughly four in 10 ninth-graders fail to earn a high school diploma in four years in Louisiana. About 190,000 students attend public high schools.

Fannin said traditional math, English and science classes have failed to keep many students in school.

But Badon said students with no plans to attend college already have high school options.

Most students enroll in a college-prep curriculum.

However, those who finish the 10th grade, with the permission of parents or guardians, can opt to follow a different curriculum that helps train them for careers.

Badon said there are other ways to tackle the high school dropout problem without making major changes for a “select few.”

“One of the main things that we need to do is to educate parents that it is not acceptable for your children to drop out,” he said.
IF YOU PICKED Badon's uttering “One of the main things that we need to do is to educate parents that it is not acceptable for your children to drop out,” you win a 35-year-old can of Pop Rouge. I don't know if Badon realizes what he said, but the important thing is that he said it.

That's the problem of Louisiana -- it's a state where legislators find a pressing need to convince parents their kids really ought to stay in school.

Everything boils down to culture, not politics. Culture precedes politics . . . precedes all issues of governance. If you have a culture where you really have to work hard to convince Mama and Daddy it's really best that Junior not go through life uneducated, you start out behind the eight ball.

It's a vicious cycle. Because Louisianians never have found it that important for Tee Dummy to know his ass from his elbow -- academically, at least -- they never, for 300 years, have realized they're behind the eight ball because they don't consider education important.

Sometimes, the definition of insanity (doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results this time) intersects with the definition of stupidity.

IT'S THE CULTURE, STUPID. But because the culture is stupid, the culture doesn't recognize its stupidity, which keeps the culture stupid, which means the culture never recognizes its stupidity, which keeps the culture stupid, which means. . . .

Rinse, repeat, and get the hell out of Louisiana while you still can.

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