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Glenn Beck MSNBC promo: The pundit blows hot air through the village

Glenn Beck tore into MSNBC's promo featuring Melissa Harris-Perry saying how she felt the US public should pay more attention to public education. But even while US students lag behind their overseas peers, Mr. Beck took Ms. Harris-Perry's criticism of Americans as sacrilege. 

By Lisa SuhayGuest Blogger / April 9, 2013

Glenn Beck eviscerated MSNBC anchor Melissa Harris-Perry for saying in a commercial that Americans don't think about parenting in collective terms, and they should. Here, Mr. Beck speaking at the Knesset, Israel's parliament, in Jerusalem in 2011.

Sebastian Scheiner/Associated Press

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Media personality Glenn Beck spent the better part of an hour attacking a MSNBC commercial for its suggestion that as a society we are responsible, in a broad way, for parenting our community’s children via providing a top notch public education. However, since a Harvard University study revealed that America has to run to catch up to Latvia, Chile, and Brazil which are all making educational gains at three times the rate of US students, perhaps exploding all over the ad only provides smoke, when what we need are mirrors held up to society.

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Lisa Suhay, who has four sons at home in Norfolk, Va., is a children’s book author and founder of the Norfolk (Va.) Initiative for Chess Excellence (NICE) , a nonprofit organization serving at-risk youth via mentoring and teaching the game of chess for critical thinking and life strategies.

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The complete quote in the MSNBC promo where anchor Melissa Harris-Perry talks about children's education is: “We have never invested as much in public education as we should have because we have always had kind of a private notion of children, your kid is yours and totally your responsibility. We haven’t had a very collective notion, of these are our children. So part of it is we have to kind of break through our kind of private idea that kids belong to their parents, or kids belong to their families, and recognize that kids belong to whole communities. Once it’s everybody’s responsibility and not just the household’s, then we begin making better investments.”

As someone who volunteers twice weekly to help teach children, who are not my own, to play chess to improve critical thinking and standardized test scores at a community center and a public library without a cent of funding, I have a very different take on this commercial than a this “political shock jock.”

My opinion is tempered by Harvard’s Program on Education Policy and Governance (PEPG) and its study revealing that the US ranks 25th out of 49 countries in student test-score gains over a 14-year period.

When Harris states that as Americans, “We have never invested as much in public education as we should have….” I think about that Harvard report and how the US isn’t just chasing the scholastic aptitude of industrialized countries like Latvia, Chile, and Brazil, but choking on the dust of Portugal, Hong Kong, Germany, Poland, Liechtenstein, Slovenia, Colombia, and Lithuania which are all improving at twice the rate, according to the PEPG study.

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