Former first lady Barbara Bush said on Greta Van Susteren's "On the Record" this past week: "We've got a real problem in public schools. ... This is a national crisis. It's as bad as anything in our country."
When Van Susteren was pointing out from Bush's own op-ed piece that "Texas (is) 36th in the nation in high-school graduates (and) 3.8 million Texans don't have a high-school diploma," Bush said, "No more, you're killing us."
Bush was commendably protecting Texas pride as she told Van Susteren not to cite any further degrading statistics about the state of Lone Star education, though she herself references it in her op-ed piece:
--Texas ranks 49th in verbal SAT scores, 47th in literacy and 46th in average math SAT scores.
--Texas ranks 33rd in the nation on teacher salaries.
Such low verbal and literacy scores make it even more unbelievable that just this past week, some of the state's educational administrators joined the feds in seeking to mandate Arabic classes for Texas children. No joke!
The Arabic studies program -- funded by a five-year, $1.3 million Foreign Language Assistance Program federal grant -- was to begin this semester at Cross Timbers Intermediate School and then spread to neighboring schools in the Mansfield Independent School District.
Thank God for the parental passions and patriot fires of the almost 200 parents who showed up at a meeting last week to question the wisdom of school officials. They are fighting in their own personal education Alamo and presently have the upper hand. For the moment, the school district has backed off plans for its Arabic studies program.
With 14 percent of American adults (32 million) incapable of reading a newspaper or instructions on a prescription bottle, don't you think federal monies could be put to better use by helping Americans learn to read and write English?
I appreciate Bush's non-politically correct stance on the primacy of English in America, which she echoed to Van Susteren: "I'm against English as a second language. My great-grandmother came here as a German. She didn't have someone give her English as a second language. She learned it in three months. It's survival. And you see it in schools all around now where you're allowed to speak English only, and you sink or swim. And they swim, because they're immigrants from all different countries. I've seen a school in Boston where they asked me to read, and I said, 'Read? They all speak 80 different languages.' But in three months, they learned English."