At the conclusion of one of the most criminally underappreciated very bad movies of all time, the 90210 kids-turned-space-marines of “Starship Troopers” capture a “brain bug.”

Neil Patrick Harris as Col. Carl Jenkins uses his mind-reading powers to intuit the thoughts of the hulking killer space roach monster. As luck would have it, this alien from the other side of the galaxy thinks in English.

“It’s afraid…” Jenkins says softly at first. “IT’S AFRAID!!!!” he then exclaims triumphantly to the cheers of the gathered troopers.

(You can watch this masterpiece of cinema here.)

Evidence of pandemic pod fear among the K-12 traditionalist left is everywhere. Listen to this Soho forum debate for instance. Or read this Arizona Republic article that interviews a single parent as representative of a micro-school organization with thousands of parents. This single parent admits being dissatisfied with public and private schools and is a known associate of an anti-choice activist group, a small detail that went unmentioned.

While pandemic pods may seem relatively harmless, they are part of a growing trend towards education privatization that undermines public education and democracyanother critic asserts.

So, what to take away from this?

If there is a nefarious plot out there to damage public education, one need look no further than the decisions of NEA affiliates like the Florida Education Association to find the most effective practitioners. The FEA has been in court trying to prevent the reopening of schools that a large percentage of Florida families clearly desire.

Any ability of villains such as myself to promote micro-schools simply are dwarfed by the far grander efforts of the Florida Education Association to encourage their adoption. Those of my tribe should simply pull up a couch, eat some popcorn and wonder at the bizarre choices being made by the opponents of educational freedom.

Teachers, after all, have a great deal to gain from this trend. A small but growing number of teachers who didn’t find operating in huge impersonal bureaucracies their personal cup of tea have found joy in running their own small schools. There is a large pool of potential teachers out there unwilling to teach in big-box schools but who might return to the profession if they get to be in charge of their own school.

This trend seems popular among both families and teachers, which I find thrilling, and alas, the education tradionalists find fearful.

“The only good bug is a dead bug!” is a catchphrase from the dystopian, quasi-fascist world of “Starship Troopers.” It is a shame these folks apparently view it as inspiration for what seems to be their guiding philosophy:

“The only good school is a zoned, unionized school!”

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