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Is it Teaching or is it Political Indoctrination?

Andrew Yarrow provides a pathetic tale of one school’s political bias creeping into the elementary social studies lessons. His own fourth-grade son who attends a gifted-and-talented magnet school in suburban Washington DC, was assigned a “Human Values Chart”. Eight supposed contemporary American values were presented in contrast to eight traditional Native American values. So what does this curriculum claim contemporary Americans value?

So, what were some of these values? For "nature," this magnet-school curriculum sheet proclaims Americans believe they "must conquer, dominate, and control nature, as God commanded me to do through Adam, and as is necessary for my survival." Leave aside the environmentally absurd theological sleight-of-hand and the nonseparation of church and state. For at least a generation, poll upon poll and politician after politician have declared it our duty and goal to preserve -- not destroy -- nature, and serve as environmental stewards for future generations.
On "property," my son and his fellow fourth-graders were told Americans' "life goal is to acquire as many material possessions as possible: A good house, several cars, a camper, a motorcycle, a boat, and a swimming pool are things that I'd like my family to have." Again, it is doubtful Junior really would like Mom on a Harley or to vacation in a trailer park. And, while consumerism may have run amok in the last half-century, few Americans would explicitly agree with Michael Douglas' famous line in the movie "Wall Street" that "greed is good."
On child training, despite the kindly 60-year legacy of the late Dr. Benjamin Spock and the more recent legacy of permissive, helicopter parents, the "Values" sheet declares Americans "believe children must be made to feel guilty if bad and must be spanked if necessary." It is doubtful one could convene a quorum of psychologists to say making children feel guilty is good. Moreover, many, if not most, Americans are far from the days when corporal punishment was widely practiced.

Contrast this with the curriculum presentation of Native American ideals:

Once again, aside from the niggling fact that Native Americans, like all Americans, are far from monolithic in their beliefs, the "right" answers were the mostly cuddly, and mostly historically untrue, nonmaterialistic, nature-loving values that supposedly preceded European and African settlement of America.

I bet this school presents the Walt Disney production of Pocahantas as historically accurate too.

Bottom line is read all of your child’s school work. My seventh grade son recently came home with an English assignment involving prefixes and their meaning. For example, contra means against or opposed to. For the prefix homo the teacher gave the word homosexual and as a definition stated it meant two people of the same sex getting married. For the prefix dys she used the word dysfunctional and defined it as a family that fights a lot. Needless to say we had some re-education to do that night.


Anonymous said…
No doubt that assignment didn't mention that various native american tribes would burn entire forests to drive the animals out so they could be killed or that some tribes would stampeed herds off of cliffs.

As for greed being good. I have not often heard people point out that as a strict technicality, this is probably true when not taken to extremes. It is self interest that causes people to strive beyond the minimum. That is the biggest reason why capitalism succeeded and communism failed. You will probably not hear any public school teacher make that point!


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