Most Americans expect public schools to teach children the basics of the United States of America, and a great place to start those lessons is the U.S. Constitution — the rock-solid foundation under which it still stands.
If our top-echelon leaders in the three branches of government don’t have some of the Constitution’s basic tenets embedded in their thought processes and rhetoric, our nation could easily go wobbly.
You know: Why the federal government was founded, how the federal government works, and where both stood then compared to where both stand now.
Public schooling wasn’t a big governmental affair in the 1700s. You either knew how to shoe a horse and trim a jackass or you didn’t.
And public education these days will likely spend more time on the birds and the bees than lessons resembling ornithology and entomology.
Enter Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York. A darling of Democrats and socialists, she’s 29 years old and was elected in the midterms to represent parts of the Bronx and Queens in the House. Miss Ocasio-Cortez is a 2011 cum laude grad from Boston University, with a bachelor’s degree in economics and international relations.
So, presume she’s a smart cookie and simply blubbered her words when she said this last week: “If we work our butts off to make sure that we take back all three chambers of Congress. Rather, all three chambers of government, the presidency, the Senate and the House in 2020, we can’t start working in 2020.”
Rest assured, Miss Ocasio-Cortez was reminded that there are only three branches to the federal government’s tree, and none is named “the presidency, the Senate and the House.”
Important, too, is the fact that the judicial branch is nowhere to be found in her governmental scenario. Yet that is the very branch that elected members of the executive and legislative branches keep foremost in their minds as they execute laws and make laws.
For sure she is knowledgeable of those basics, considering she was reared in New York, where litigation butters the bread New Yorkers earn.
Educators, especially those in public education, could learn more than a thing or two from Miss Ocasio-Cortez just in the past week. Either she didn’t fully grasp their attempts to teach politics or government, or perhaps the tougher courses in a public high school and public college didn’t quite sink in either.
Perhaps Miss Ocasio-Cortez will take the initiative and audit a few classes after she moves to the D.C. area, or mentor some students.
In the meantime, before Miss Ocasio-Cortez settles into her digs, she can visit Dummies.com. It won’t reteach the minutiae of grad-school economics, but it could help prepare her for federal budgeting — an issue both the House and Senate will be reckoning with to avoid a shutdown of the federal government.
As a member of the House, Miss Ocasio-Cortez will earn first dibs on the Trump budget, with which she’ll be wrestling spending/debt ratios after her January swearing in.
So, while New Yorkers and Ocasio-Cortez supporters have been chanting “AOC!” “AOC!” “AOC!” since she won the primary, what she knows and doesn’t know has come to light.
And you know what? That’s the other thing our educators can learn from Miss Ocasio-Cortez. Our public schools haven’t been teaching children about the inner workings of the federal government.
No wonder beholders of the status quo don’t want standardized tests tied to their salaries.
Thanks, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, for a valuable lesson.
⦁ Deborah Simmons can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.