A quick thought:
I've already blogged about how I believe the War on Teachers is, in many ways, an extension of the War on Women. To me, it's no coincidence that the same people who want to cut contraception services to women are the same people who want to strip workplace protections away from a workforce that is three-quarters female.
In a different vein, I also recently wrote about how I'm perplexed that the corporate reformers and conservatives that back them have so little regard for experienced teachers. The idea that older teachers regularly get burned out and are a drag on students seems to be ingrained into the reformy consciousness.
But it didn't occur to me until today that these two memes are actually complimentary; and the spark that got me to put the two together was remembering this:
I try to check in with Media Matters regularly; this remains one of my all-time favorite moments that they've highlighted about Fox. Because Ingraham, who is usually just awful, just smacks it out of the park here.
Let's be brutally honest: there is a real tendency among conservative males to objectify women. And this segment is probably as good of an illustration of the tactics conservative men use to both belittle women and smarmily protect themselves from criticism. O'Reilly laughs off Ingraham's criticisms; it's all just good fun, you see? It was part of a story on cosmetic surgery; a legitimate story about a really, really important topic (tee-hee!).
Fox boasts a nasty pattern of this crap. They also promote an on-air staff that pairs lecherous older men with attractive young women. Think about it: is there a woman on Fox who's as old as O'Reilly (63)? The only one close, I think, is Gretta Van Susteren (57), and she only got her job because she went under the knife.
Listen, I've got nothing against beautiful women (I even married one*). But the fact is that Ingraham is right: there is a trend among the conservative, older, male demographic that Fox courts to objectify women, and not even own up to it. It's ironic that Ingraham is the one who made the point: according to David Brock's Blinded By the Right, Ingraham became a conservative star largely because she was willing to play up her sex appeal.
So where does that leave us with teachers? Well, once again: three-quarters of teachers are women. Conservatives regularly demonstrate that they think a woman's worth comes primarily through her sexual attractiveness, which they equate with youth; in other words, a young woman is just better than an older one. Doesn't it follow that these same right-wingers would be happy to see older teachers make way for younger ones?
Yeah, I know: I'm crazy. I'm reading way, way too much into this. I'm sure it's perfectly logical to single out teaching as a profession that denigrates age and experience. And I'm sure it has nothing - NOTHING - to do with sexism. There must be all kinds of high-quality evidence that teachers lose their effectiveness as they age.
I'm sure it's around here somewhere... it must be... hang on a minute... uh....
* Hey, you don't stay married for 25 years without dropping a little PDA every now and then, right?