Danps at Corrente provides an example of a common meme:
One of the things liberals are terrible at is messaging. We tend to start discussing issues by going Full Wonk, and that isn’t very appealing to the largest part of the population. If you want to engage on an issue you need to get your rhetorical foot in the door first, and that means finding a quick, punchy way to grab the average citizen’s attention.
So I thought I’d throw open a thread for brainstorming. Come up with something that could fit on a bumper sticker and (important!) is an actual policy prescription or direct action most people can take. No “visualize world peace” or anything like that. Make it short, make it punchy, make it relevant.
I guess we’re just too smart for our own good. Obviously, we’re right and they’re wrong. If people aren’t convinced of our superiority they must be booger-eating morons. We need to “dumb-down” our message so they can understand. What’s the matter with Kansas? Why do these inbred hillbillies keep voting against their self-interest?
Danps gives a couple examples. Here’s my favorite:
Policy prescription/direct action: Make a nationwide standard for the maximum student/teacher ratio in public primary and secondary schools to be 15:1.
Effect: Smaller class sizes, especially in lower income communities that need it most. Focuses attention on classroom environment instead of standardized testing or privatization. Provides guaranteed national funding to those places (including, ahem, some entire states) that abdicate their responsibilities in that regard.
I don’t know what the ideal student-teacher ratio is, but “reducing class size” has been offered as a panacea for years now. We’ve been trying to “fix” education since before I was born. We keep increasing the workload, lengthening the school day and school year, and cutting back on things like sports and art. Are kids any smarter?
If we reduce class size to 15:1, how long before someone suggests 10:1? 5:1? 1:1?
Nobody wants their kids to be illiterate. But how much money are we willing to spend on their educations? How much would it cost us to implement a 15:1 class size ratio? How many more teachers will we need? How many more classrooms will we need to build?
Assuming we do it, what’s the pay-off? How much will that increase test scores?
But getting back to the original point of this post, is someone stupid if they are unwilling to pay more in taxes to reduce class sizes some more? What if they don’t have any kids? What exactly is their self-interest?
Would teachers be willing to take a 25% pay cut to fund more teachers?
BTW – Ever notice that conservatives don’t call voters stupid?