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The darnest things

By Jim Hayes
In the 1940’s and ‘50’s a talk show host named Art Linkletter had a segment of his show called “Kids Say the Darndest Things.” The premise of the segment was that Linkletter would talk to kids, between the
ages of 3 and 8 and ask them questions which would often result in humorous responses. The segment was turned into a television show in 1998 hosted by Bill Cosby. It will return to television in October, this
time with Tiffany Haddish as the hostess.
However, it would appear that one of our local politicians has decided to get a jump on the new show by not only putting his foot but his entire leg in his mouth.
State Senator Kerry Roberts, a Republican, whose district includes the City of Springfield, said, “If there's one thing that we can do to save America today, it's to get rid of our institutions of higher education right
now and cut the liberal breeding ground off!“ during his radio show on Sept. 2.
Roberts later recanted his remarks, characterizing them as “humor and hyperbole,” but how could those words could ever come out of the mouth of any politician?
The United States, according to an analysis performed by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington, ranks 17 in the world when it comes to health and education.
This is down from number 6 in 1990.
Many claim that colleges are a hive of liberalism. However, that has not been my experience here at Volunteer State Community College (with the possible exception of having to sit through a video about the
lifecycle of plastic bottles in an English class).
Regardless of the political leanings of the teaching staff, the United States needs its colleges.
There was a time, when we routinely explored space, the human body and the physics that make our world tick. For some reason, mostly tied to inadequate educational funding, we now find ourselves trying to
stimulate our students with still inadequately funded Science, Technology, Engineering and Math programs.
If anything, Roberts should be calling for more funding for education. He should be leading a charge to retain our good teachers (and killing off the publish or perish paradigm that may be robbing us of some of
our best class room instructors).
If we are not educating our children, we are falling behind on the world stage. Those children will not be considered for the high tech jobs that are becoming such a large part of our economy.
Finally, instead of playing off his remarks as hyperbole, Roberts should apologize and perhaps suspend himself from his own radio show for a week or two.
He could use the time to tour Tennessee college campuses and offer a heartfelt mea culpa to not only the instructors, but also to the students his bombastic declaration would have robbed of their chance to pull this
country out of it’s educational doldrums.

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