Oxymoron: a combination of contradictory or incongruous words (as cruel kindness); broadly : something (as a concept) that is made up of contradictory or incongruous elements
The Voice for School Choice would like to give a big thank you to Superintendent Jim Rex for contributing the following selection of Education Oxymorons. Dr. Rex, believe us when we say that you have been more of an inspiration to us than you know.
Why quotes from Jim Rex?
Because no one else in the state of South Carolina talks about “choice” half as much as he does and means it so little.
We hope our readers will bear in mind that Dr. Rex is a hybrid politician and bureaucrat who communicates primarily through platitudes and government –speak, so don’t be discouraged when you find his comments completely unintelligible.
However, with the help of the Rosetta Stone and a team of linguists, we were finally able to decipher Superintendent Rex’s quotes and bring our readers an accurate translation.
Ten Education Oxymorons: Courtesy of Jim Rex
1. Jim Rex-“We want to provide more choices to satisfy needs.” Augusta Chronicle 3/7/2007
translation: “You will never have a need that the Dept. of Education can’t satisfy.”
2. Jim Rex–“Educators understand that we live in a world full of choices, and they truly want to deliver a better and more diversified package of services to students and parents.”
translation: “We’re going to fund more government programs with your money so you won’t notice that you have no real choices.”
3. Jim Rex–“No child in South Carolina should be limited to only one public school or program, especially if it fails to adequately meet his or her individual needs.”
translation: “In Jim Rex World, all kids will have their pick of underperforming schools.”
4. Jim Rex–“Fair and equitable funding should be primarily influenced by children’s needs, not by where they happen to live.”
translation: “It’s all about the money….the superintendents have it – the kids don’t.”
5. Jim Rex-“We need a new way to fund public education that gives adequacy and equity. You can’t do one without the other.” The State 6/21/07
translation: “The bureaucracy needs more money. Once the administrators get more money and build nicer district offices, the children can learn.”
6. Jim Rex-“Our education funding system is unfair, uneven and inadequate…. It’s past time to take a new approach built on the principles of simplicity, fairness, adequacy and accountability.”
translation: “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.” Karl Marx, 1875
7. Jim Rex- “We’re going to have to find a way to give our children the education that none of us had. If we don’t, we’re going to have a generation that’s faced with a lower standard of living than ours.” Lancaster News 9/7/07
translation: “You keep doing things over and over again the same way and expect a different result? Of course, I do.”
8. Jim Rex– “I think this is an antiquated idea we hear too often is that a child should be required to attend a specific public school or program because of the piece of dirt their house or apartment sits on.”
translation: “We at the Department of Education love this antiquated idea, and have been the primary promoters of it! Just because no other industrialized nation educates like we do is no reason to do anything radical.”
9. Jim Rex-“When it comes to learning, one size doesn’t fit all. I’m confident that we can broaden our menu of options and still remain accountable to the public, which is a cornerstone of the public school system.”
translation: “One size does not fit all, but I’m confident we can convince you it does. Just remember, our menu is always best.”
10. Jim Rex– “Parental options are the antithesis of vouchers and credits.”
translation: * Even our team of experts at The Voice for School Choice was unable to decrypt the the statement above. We are desperate. If anyone out there can help us make sense of it, please contact us immediately.*
We think Dr. Rex is a man of considerable knowledge and experience, but we also think his willingness to present himself as an agent of “choice” is disingenuous at best. All the talk about options, equity, diversity, and adequacy mean nothing in light of the fact that he only supports them being implemented under the umbrella of the Dept of Education. The above statements are true ( with the exception of number 10), but not as Superintendent Rex intends them. Until parents are empowered to choose among public and private options, real school choice will not be achieved.