It’s Not Your Job to Indoctrinate My Children – Amanda Green

*For those of you who follow Nocturnal Lives, Amanda is posting the same thing the two places today.  Sorry.  My entire inner circle has been hit with interesting lives recently. – SAH*

It’s Not Your Job to Indoctrinate My Children – Amanda Green

The wonderful Dave Freer has a post up at Mad Genius Club this morning about an online encounter he had with a librarian. It seems this woman really loves her job, at least that is what she kept telling him. For a moment, I was excited to read that there was a librarian somewhere who did still love what she was doing. There are times when I feel that is as rare as finding a teacher in the public school system who truly loves teaching. All too soon, however, I realized that she didn’t really love her job. What she loved was being able to push an agenda on those who come to her for a recommendation about what they should read.

You see, like others who have been attacking the Sad Puppies, she seems to feel that anything that doesn’t fall under the aegis of the SJW cause du jour is something to be avoided at all costs. We shouldn’t be exposing the minds of our youngsters to such horrible things like Heinlein or — gasp — Correia. It is her job, her duty, to push socially relevant books and hurray for big publishing for recognizing that duty.

Sigh.

This isn’t anything new. At least the attitude isn’t. It is the same attitude I faced when my son we in elementary and middle school. Summer reading lists were the things of horror, not only as a student but as a parent. Teachers and librarians would sit there come September and scratch their heads and blame the parents when students would come back to class after the summer vacation and admit they hadn’t read many of the books on the list. Rarely did a teacher or librarian actually ask the student or the teacher why they hadn’t done so. If a parent commented on they why, we were either treated like unwashed heathens who didn’t care for our kids or we should have known there was this super secret, never to be discussed alternate reading list we could have chosen books from.

What folks like this purported librarian seem to forget is that people will not read if they are not entertained by fiction or interested in non-fiction. Force feeding kids — or adults — some artificially determined “right think” will only work for so long and only with so many folks. The rest of us, those raised to think and question will soon grow tired of the self-appointed powers-that-be trying to spoonfeed us intellectual pabulum.

Where does the blame for this fall? There is no one person or sector where the finger can be pointed. Why? Because a lot of folks had hands in it. There are those parents, all too many of them, for the last 20 – 30 years who took the stance that they didn’t have time to raise their kids or discipline them and turned it all over the the schools, only to threaten lawsuits and more when they suddenly realized the schools weren’t doing what they wanted.

Then there are the local and state governmental bodies that control the school districts, either directly or through funding. Athletics — read football — were promoted while minor little courses like languages, art, music and the like were cut back or cut out altogether. Back in the dark ages of my elementary school days, we had music every day. We had French and Spanish lessons two to three times a week. We had recess, something else that all too many schools have done away with because someone’s little darling might be picked last for the kickball team and have his feelings hurt or little Susie might fall and scrape her knee and we just can’t have that.

I also blame the federal government for forcing things like No Child Left Behind on districts without anyone really thinking about how it would impact most districts. In order to fulfill the requirements of that horrid piece of legislation, all too many districts wound up gearing their curriculum to the lowest common denominator in the classroom instead of spending the money for programs to help bring that lower denominator up.

Oh, wait, I forgot. Too many districts that would have done just that couldn’t for too many years because of another wonderful piece of state legislation (at least here in Texas). We had the Robin Hood provision where the more affluent (and boy did they have an odd definition of affluent since my mainly blue collar to middle management district was included) school districts had to send a proportion of their monies to the lesser well-off districts. The result of that was that all districts were harmed.

And, in the middle of all that, while concerned parents were watching their school buildings age and technology wear out while new football stadiums were being built or new natatariums, what are children were being given to read went from inspiring biographies and histories and fiction that made our kids’ imaginations soar to “socially relevant” books. Think about it. As a kid, especially one on your summer break, what would you want to read? A book about Hank Aaron and his baseball career or one about a 13 year old in the projects who had been raped by her uncle? Would you rather read Have Spacesuit Will Travel or read about teen suicide?

But it is even worse than that. The books our kids are being forced to read, the textbooks they have to study for class teach them that it is bad to be an American. If you have a son, he is taught that he has to atone for the “sins” of all the men who came before him. That is especially true if your son is of the pale variety. We have districts adopting curriculum that alters words and phrases from our core political documents so they now support the current SJW causes.

But we, those who remember what those documents say and those who don’t want our school indoctrinating our children to become parodies of the Stepford Wives or Westworld, are the evil part of society.

It is past time for us to step up to people like the librarian Dave interacted with and say “No. It isn’t your responsibility to teach my child anything. If my child comes to you, looking for a book about climate or ecology or even wanting a fun science fiction novel, you don’t give him a book that concludes with humans evil and must be destroyed to save Mother Gaia. If my son comes to you wanting a book with adventure in it, you don’t give him one where the bad guy is automatically the businessman and the good guy. You don’t give him a book where someone is declared evil just because he happens to be male. You don’t get to choose what topics and stances my child gets educated in, especially since you are not educating. You are trying to indoctrinate.”

In short, it is time for parents to take back the job of parenting. It is time for educators to remember what the word “education” means. Hell, if they still don’t get it, point them to what happened last week with Brian Williams. Here was a so-called respected reporter who got caught “misremembering” the events that happened in an active war zone. He chose to make the story about himself instead of remembering that the duty of a reporter is to report the news, not make it. Unfortunately, that is something all too many of his fellow “journalists” have also forgotten.

But the fact of the matter is, our education system has forgotten that it is there to educate. That means you give students all sides of an issue and you teach them how to examine the facts, draw inferences and come to their own conclusions. But maybe that is too abstract of an idea for our liberal arts colleges to wrap their collective minds around these days. It is so much easier to simply tell students what they should think and believe in and then turn them loose like a bunch of lemmings and see how many of them actually jump off the cliff into the pile of glitter that awaits all true SJWs.

209 responses to “It’s Not Your Job to Indoctrinate My Children – Amanda Green

  1. That the abhorrent Leftist propaganda tome “Lord Of The Flies” is still being read in Ontario highschools tells you all you need to know about “educators” these days. I take great delight in explaining the gaping plot holes and philosophical insanity of that book to kids whenever I get the chance, it lifts them up out of the miasma of depression that book carries. That their transformed attitude and sudden fault finding with the book irritates their teachers is an added bonus.

    Question Authority.

    • Actually, I think Lord of the Flies should be required reading. Not for kids, mind you, but for anyone going into a profession dealing with them. We *are* born a bunch of little homicidal savages, and anyone who thinks otherwise shouldn’t be in a position where understanding that fact is important.

      • Lord of the Flies says more about the adults who wrote it than the inherent nature of kids.

        • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

          Or the adults who want children to read it.

        • I read it in high school, and it struck me as pretty spot on. Maybe you grew up with a nicer bunch of grade schoolers than I did…

          • It’s not a matter of niceness, it’s a matter of how standards are enforced.

            If you actually grew up around grade-schoolers who were only prevented from being homicidal by the constant threat of force, then that’s pretty odd– there are some people who are only under control because of that, but not even most.

            Unless the group was already trained to be savages unless forcibly prevented, there would be a controlling effect because of the way they’d already been taught to look at other people.

            • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

              Nod, I didn’t see the problems with “Lord of the Flies” because at the time I was reading it, I was laboring under the idea that *everybody* was out to get me.

              Now, I know that *everybody* (at the time) wasn’t “out to get me”.

              I wonder if the author had a horrible time in school.

              Doesn’t excuse the adults for making it “required reading”.

              • http://synova.blogspot.com/search?q=Lord+of+the+Flies

                “In The Lord of the Flies, by William Golding, a group of Metaphors in the guise of English schoolboys are shot out of the sky after their transport plane is mistaken for a military craft. This caused the young Metaphors to be stranded on a Metaphoric Island after their probably metaphoric plane crashes and leaves a definite Metaphor of a Scar in the jungle. (…) In conclusion, as stated before: The whole thing’s an analogy. Several layers of symbolism put together like a slightly foul and arrogant ice-cream cake. Probably with “Huminz sux” written sloppily on the top.”

                I’m a Mom… so I probably find this all far more amusing than the English teacher did.

              • I wonder if the author had a horrible time in school.

                I’m more inclined to wonder if the author was one of those folks who was only restrained by an outside force yelling “no!” and swatting him, until he got old enough to philosophically absorb the idea of it being better to restrain himself?* I had folks that treated me poorly but at no point did I think it was an everybody thing. Maybe because my folks encouraged interaction with a wide range of age groups and settings, maybe it was just head-furniture.

                I can even empathize with the impulse to think “kids are all vicious savages.” It’s indulging ones self to the point where you don’t shake your head a bit, go “no, they’re not. It’s just that if they’re left alone, there’s an unacceptably high chance that at least one in a group will do something outrageous. It’s an illusion.” BEFORE you build the assumption into anything important.
                That’s failing one’s responsibility as a grown-up; it’s the kind of impulsive emotionalism that you get in teens.

                * Not actually a failing, just a different human variation, as long as they do eventually get to where they’re self controlled. Can be very important because it gives another perspective on morality.
                It’s a measure of a culture that they be able to deal with folks who only feel guilt when they’re punished. And yeah, I’m aware there are lots that do the “only bad if you’re caught” thing– three guesses what I think of them?

                • No, children will not devolve into a band of murderous savages without adult supervision. Poorly socialized 12-14 year olds will turn into murderous savages even with adult supervision, especially when pointed at a convenient target (like moi). LotF should be a cautionary tale for adults about the need to properly domesticate children, not a book about the need for strong government aimed at pre-teens and teenagers. IMHO, YMMV.

                  • Damn I hated that book as a kid. What I remember: the ‘good’ boys seemed like wimps, and there were far too many of the bad ones in the group for me to believe it. Even when I was a rather nerdy and not exactly popular girl of that age myself and familiar with a few bullies (as I have said, I was never seriously bullied as a kid, maybe because I had several of the same classmates from when I started to when I finished school, and during the first couple of years had shown that I was not scared of hitting if I started to feel cornered. What bullying I got was mild, only verbal and rare. And I may have missed half of the attempts anyway, being not all that interested in what those kids I wasn’t friends with were doing 😀 ). But there didn’t seem to be so many bullies in any group I was familiar with that I could imagine them taking over a group that completely. And the bad ones in the story seemed more like bullies to me than anything else.

                    Besides they seemed remarkably stupid, all of them.

                    Haven’t read it as an adult. And have no wish to.

                    • And btw, I’m way more scared of kids that age now than I was when I was one of them. Mainly because hitting them is now out of the question, and I have no idea how to intimidate anybody otherwise. Especially not kids. They are not logical (not in the way I now understand logic, anyway… I also suspect I may sometimes sound mean to them without meaning to. I have a somewhat weird sense of humor. So, yep, no idea how to get the reaction I want from them). 😀

                    • overgrownhobbit

                      LotF is indeed a cautionary tale of civilization vs. tribalism. Have none of you read the reports of life in the wossname Counil Estates or The Projects? Dalrymple’s Life at the Bottom is required reading for you, then. Or take the child amies of Somalia and Cambodia. These are older teens leading younger teens into hell. Granted there are far, far better books available that illustrate the same point: I recommend Never Fall Down (for older teens only, mind). But many public school teachers seem to create study units base on a book they read I teacher school and nothing can get them to update their projects (God knows I’ve tried) LotF is definitely better than nothing.

                    • 1) who needs a book? We can look at the evening news from the middle east.
                      2) apparently the message didn’t get through very well, it’s a heck of a time to get people who will swear about how “authentic” the behavior there is to understand that the Middle East aren’t identical to upper-middle-class, vaguely WASP folks.

                    • Those are also situations where the kid’s society as a whole has already broken down, there are power struggles between adults or many of the parents haven’t bothered to teach much of anything to their kids, except maybe entitlement and that they are downtrodden and would deserve all kinds of help just because of that. The kids in Lord of the Flies, on the other hand, were supposed to be ones from a society at a time when they would have received possibly rather strict instructions in the way of morals, and what is proper behavior to one in their class. And possibly also something like boy scout skills. So even less likely to descend into barbarism than I figured my classmates and other kids I knew when I read the book – and I was only a year or two older than the characters then – would. And from an adult perspective, while they of course would not have been able to function without at least some stupid mistakes I still think they broke down way too fast and too thoroughly.

                    • To add: if the story had supposed they stayed on the island for years and the whole process happened much more slowly, maybe then, as several of them would have died and the rest lost hope and perhaps a few lost their minds. But it seemed to happen in weeks, or at most, a few months.

              • Never read the book, but in school I would probably have believed it. Like Paul, I felt like everyone in school, with few exceptions, was out to get me. Now, I alternate between laughing at how foolish I was and regretting that I lost so much time that I could have been hanging out with chicks (I have since found out – WAY too late – that most of the girls in school liked me).

                • I did actually have a teacher who melted down entirely in front of her class – although shortly after I departed her authority. According to my younger brother, who was at Mount Gleason Junior HS sometime after I departed from it – the meltdown was operatically spectacular, involving an ambulance and men in white coats…
                  The teacher was one whom we had generally suspected was one who had begun loosing control of her marbles early on: but it wasn’t anything we had done to her – she just went crazy all on her own. Not that any of her students were particularly surprised when she did — only that it hadn’t become necessary for the men in white coats and butterfly nets with serious tranqs much earlier on …

                  • This one actually happened before I got into his class. It apparently resulted in the teacher becoming addicted to Valium for some time.

                  • Celia to be fair the teacher we drove to the loony bin had to already be on the way there. The questions we started by asking were MATERIAL questions and teaching in Portugal is core-learned. I.e. I had a languages degree with a teaching option, not a teaching degree with a little bit of languages. She should have known her biology cold, so that 9th graders, no matter how gifted COULDN’T stomp her.

                    • To be strictly fair – we didn’t drive her to the loony-bin. She was already stone bonkers, and every one of us who had sat through one of her screaming tirades over … well, nothing at all could have attested to it.

                      I knew I had blogged the whole episode on the original blog, couldn’t find it until I recalled the title. (Hey, I’ve been blogging since 2002)
                      This is the whole shocking story – with what happened to my little brother in 2nd grade, and his encounter with educational malpractice as a prelude.
                      http://www.ncobrief.com/index.php/archives/a-nice-derangement-of-education/

      • We are not. That book is full of crap.

        • Oh, -yeah-. It’s like a whole course in what’s f-ed in the head about post-modern Leftism. That book contains the whole bill of goods we’ve been sold by these SJW wankers since Karl Marx.

          Teachers go just about nuts when you teach a kid to do an External Reality Check on that book. I love that part. ~|:D evil smile with fangs.

        • Maybe. In the 4th Grade, just for fun, our class picked the locks on filing cabinets.My wife’s comments on our . . . escapades was most illuminating.

          • BUT that’s not Lord of the Flies level crap. I was in a gifted class that delighted in belling the cat. To wit, we once shorted the entire school electrical system so we could take a day off.
            This didn’t mean we were adrift in a sea of amoral behavior. It meant most of the authorities over us were dumbasses, we knew it, and we were too young to understand that they still had authority over us, even if they were dumber than squirrels. So, we of course played pranks. But if the authorities hadn’t pushed back stupidly, we’d not have done it.

            • “Shorted the electrical system.”

              ….stories like that are the only times I wish I could have been in regular school than homeschooled… though thinking about it… I still would have ended up being homeschooled… :/

              • The funny thing is that the only time we were called to book it was for something we DIDN’T do — break art room furniture — an accusation brought by an employee (Janitorial level) who hated our guts though we never understood WHY. (I still don’t. She rarely SAW us.) I was elected spokesman of the class and I solved the problem by having the directive council (having a single director/principal was NOT revolutionary enough, see) come to the fricking classroom and seeing that the furniture was whole. They had started the process of kicking us out for vandalism WITHOUT taking a look at the room. When I dragged them down there, under threat of my mom descending on the school and driving them nuts, they looked around and instead of apologizing said, “But why would [the employee] make up such a lie?”

            • We poured water on the teacher’s head. OK, wasn’t my class but the grade below mine. They set up a pail of water in the drop-ceiling of the class next door, with a string tied to it and hanging down in the middle of their classroom. The teacher was experienced enough to ignore the bait, but the principal walked in at one point and he… wasn’t.

              My class’s worst prank was putting a boom-box into the air-conditioner ducts. Or piling desks against the door—all the way to the opposite wall—and leaving through the drop-ceiling.

              • The worst thing we did was give a teacher a nervous breakdown. She became convinced we were possessed and locked herself in the closet, praying the rosary. They should NOT have given us a newly graduate, not very smart teacher. We started asking questions, she didn’t know the answer and tried to shout us down, we started singing satirical songs and dancing around the classroom. She fled into the closet.
                I’m not proud of that episode, but I’ll note the good teachers loved our class and we loved them.

                • I think the worst we ever did was say the Pledge of Allegiance one day in 7th or 8th grade science class.

                  Although there was also the time in high school when we put a sign reading “Abandon All Hope, Ye Who Enter Here” above the entrance to the classroom where we were about to take a test covering Dante’s Inferno.

                  I’m not sure what I should be more concerned about… how animal-like the rest of you were, or how boring we were. 🙂

                  • SheSellsSeashells

                    My (very small private) high school somehow wound up with its afternoon trigonometry classes perfectly divided between the smart-and-crazy seniors and the earnest-and-intelligent-and-EARNEST juniors. We were all fine with this until one of the juniors came for a makeup test in the middle of the spontaneous “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” singalong in three-part harmony. She was…the least plussed I have ever seen another human to be.

                • We did something like that once, and it wasn’t even planned. We all just started shaking our heads in unison; “No” for correct things, and “yes” for the wrong. The poor teacher ran crying out the door, replaced, in a few moments, by the principal, who proceeded to correct the error of our ways.

                • One of my classmates caused one of our teachers to have a nervous breakdown. He says now that he regrets the way he treated the teacher, but since he’s turned into a Lefty butthead, I’m not sure I believe him.

              • I wish we could say every stunt was a prank. This was a place where it was considered the thing to do, if you were low on gas or needed a battery, to obtain it from the nearest police car.

        • Would you be able to elaborate? It seemed to match some of what I saw growing up (that when external controls were removed from kids, things could get nasty fast). I’m willing to stipulate that this was my personal experience, which may or may not be generalizeable.

          • The book might SORT OF apply to kids raised in an overstrict, dictating environment when first freed, but even there SOME kids will have internalized morality.
            I does not apply to anyone else. Look, if the book were true everytime kids are left alone for any length of time they would devolve to barbarism. By and large thought often they devolve to stupidity, this doesn’t happen. (And yes, kids are left alone accidentally or on purpose.)
            It certainly doesn’t apply to adults, which it has been attempted to apply it to. New York city didn’t devolve into hell when the lights went out. People walked quietly home. In fact know we know the Kitty Genovese case was cooked up.
            My guess is adolescents, which is what these kids were, would have done the right thing more similar to Tunnel in the Sky than Lord of the Flies. Stupid at times, sure. And there would be some rotten apples who might or might not meet a sticky end. But the devolution to hell? Bullshit.
            Things could get nasty fast if you leave kids of six or seven alone, and they have one or two bad apples, but even there the nice kids eventually fight back. I’ve been there.

            • IMHO, Tunnel in the Sky is a much better book than Lord of the Flies, both on how adolescents would self organize in the total absence of adult supervision and entertainment value.

              • I seem to recall that in one of his essays (perhaps in Expanded Universe) Heinlein said that he wrote Tunnel in the Sky as a direct response to Lord of the Flies.

                • I couldn’t find that in a search. Instead, I found a book on Google Books (Robert A. Heinlein: In Dialogue with His Century, Vol. 2) that says Lord of the Flies came out while Tunnel in the Sky was going through the publication process when it came out. Don’t know how accurate that is, but could be.

              • I was very disappointed in Tunnel in the Sky the first time I read it. I’m sure that Heinlein knew what he was putting into the minds of readers with the warning that each student was given at the beginning of the test.

            • as I mis-remember it – Lord of the Flies starts with the idea that they’re all doomed anyway. Even if they managed a good group dynamic, they were a group of boys on an island with no rescue. The future held bleached bones of a bunch of geezers who died of old age.

    • I’m going to have to disagree with you on Lord of the Flies.
      It’s actually not a Leftist tome–if anything, it is Rightist.
      Here’s why: The entire book is about blowing the noble savage idea right out of the water, exploding the idea that children are naturally good, and pointing out that civilization is a good thing. It’s a massive takedown of Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

  2. This is why I started scribbling historical fiction, yea these many years ago … well, OK, roughly about 2006 – to reclaim and teach American history, while at the same time writing a cracking good adventure that people would WANT to read. The Adelsverein Trilogy, Daughter of Texas, To Truckee’s Trail — and the YA adventure Lone Star Sons. There were all these fantastic stories out there, that REALLY HAPPENED – and I also felt obliged to protest that our American ancestors (both real and metaphorical) had been decent and hard-working people, who did their most honorable best as they saw it, under the conditions they lived under. They helped their neighbors, they campaigned for various decencies, they built families and businesses and communities. Those things were things to be proud of – they and we deserve better than to be sneered at by SJWs and their ilk.

    “It’s like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger they were. And sometimes you didn’t want to know the end… because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it’s only a passing thing… this shadow. Even darkness must pass.”

  3. Loved David Freer’s post. Love this one, too. But these people have been indoctrinating for years without reproach, so they really do feel it’s all okey-dokey. I won’t go into the list of the crap they told me to read (which I read quickly so I could get to the good stuff) or the crap they told my daughter to read (until I pulled her out and homeschooled her). Talk about poisoning a kid’s head. Bleh.

  4. 1965 Junior High School teacher had us write a story using Lord of the Flies for our JHS class. I did killed everybody off. Then the teacher asked for a sequel. Sheesh.

    • Someone else arrives at the scene.

      • “Lord, what a mess. Looks like they turned feral. It’s going to be miserable trying to identify and bag the bodies.”

        “They… ate each other?”

        “You’re new here on the Island, aren’t you? There’s many ways of going feral. These just abandoned all the ideals we’ve tried to teach them, or they were never taught in the first place. It became a ‘dog eat dog’ society. These were, what, eleven, twelve years old? If their parents didn’t teach them anything, the school sure couldn’t. Diversity, you know. Culture. We’re not supposed to actually teach them discipline, so with the constraints removed they set upon each other.”

        “The transport they were in had fifteen pallets of MREs and emergency radios! Why didn’t they do anything with those?”

        “Learned helplessness to begin with, I think. They were waiting for the adults to tell them what to do, and the adults died in the crash. I wouldn’t be surprised if they’d labeled the plane off-limits or taboo somehow.

        “Well, no help for it. These bones won’t collect themselves. Have to get things cleaned up before the next transport. Salvage crew will be by later this week for the plane wreckage.” Shakes head. “The things some parents will do to get rid of their children…”

    • I just read this to my son. He did a facepalm, and then suggested Zombies for your sequel. See, there is always a way 😉

      • BobtheRegisterredFool

        Zombies weren’t as big a genre in the mid-sixties I gather.

        Odd since they are a perfect analogy for druggies and rioters, and the extent to which good infantry is the perfect treatment for both.

        • The thing about zombies is that there’s no responsibility either on the part of victims or victimizers. There’s no blame for the victims. THEY didn’t start the disaster, and they’re just doing what the situation forces them to do; indeed, if they try to make moral choices they suffer for it. There’s no blame for the zombies, since they are just doing what their natures require; they don’t have to make any moral choices about it.

          As the zombie meme has evolved, of course, we have moved past “zombies just happening” to “big business” or “the government” caused them, again, a blameless disaster for the people actually acting in the situation.

          It’s perfect evil for which no one (or an anonymous Other) is responsible, a story for our times.

          • Patrick Chester

            I thought zombies meant this:
            http://www.the-whiteboard.com/autotwb1275.html

          • Eh, the original zombies were not something scary to meet; they were something scary to become.

            At the time of the Emancipation, there were ten times as many slaves in the United States as had ever been imported. In Haiti and other Caribbean islands, they regularly imported enough slaves to entirely replace the slave population every five years. Unsurprisingly the great dread was that you could not escape that onerous fate even by dying. . . .

            So, the boys went wild because it was the easiest way for the sorcerer to kill them.

  5. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

    The “fun” part of those SJW who are indoctrinating children is that very often they rant about *parents* “indoctrinating” their children. IE parents teaching their children what’s right & wrong. [Sad Smile]

    Oh, I seem to remember that the Soviet Union while claiming to have “religious freedom” made it illegal for parents to teach their own children about the parent’s religion.

  6. The problem is it’s not just a job, it’s a mission.
    And while getting paid for doing it is a plus, it’s still thin gravy as they never feel that they are being paid adequately for the truly important social modifications they are attempting to beat into our children’s heads.
    So what we wind up with is a cadre of bitter unhappy educators in name only constantly frustrated from having to contend with reality and the inherent nature of children and their parents.

  7. Interesting but I suggest a quite complex issue.

    It has been suggested here and there that one reason public education is a public good is that educated citizens make for a better society. In the tradition of an American melting pot is the notion that second and subsequent generations are Americans regardless of the parent’s national origins.

    Dr. Pournelle frex has written in favor of the melting pot from time to time while lamenting the notion that overwhelming the melting pot has played a large part in giving us the salad bowl. This assumes as I believe that the traditional melting pot society is to be preferred to a salad bowl society.

    See also for example Cultural Literacy “referring to the ability to understand and participate fluently in a given culture.”

    • Do you have kids? I was shocked to find my kids were being taught to BE the salad bowl (everyone is born with a culture, you can’t learn another.) and that they were being taught hatred of the USA and western civ in general. Also, while my kids learned to read (the older before ever going to school, the younger who knows?) most of their classmates still had issues with it in later high school.
      It’s not a complex issue. The schools as we have them are a detriment. There MIGHT be a need for public schools to forge a common culture, etc. But in that case, we need to burn the current system to the ground and start again with a completely different structure. More parental control, no unions, no certification in the hands of the unions, no education degrees (it’s enough to learn the subject you want to teach and maybe have a side-unit on the legalities of teaching. It’s what we had in Portugal back when I took it, and it worked. A lot of professionals such as engineers, architects, etc cycled in and out of teaching. Sort of like the temp work here in the eighties it served as a bulwark against unemployment.) More importantly we need to get rid of the curriculum makers, who are mostly education majors. Stop the indoctrination. It’s for the children.

      • A few years ago I saw on my daughter’s “report card” (well, several pages spat out by a laser printer but serving the basic function report cards did when I was young) a line on “purpose of government”. So I asked her.

        “Oh,” she said. “The purpose of government is to provide services that people can’t afford themselves.”

        What?

        And so I had to spend time going over the Declaration of Independence, some basics from the Constitution and what not all in order to correct that mess.

        I really wish I could quit my job and homeschool. But the mortgage company and the utility companies do insist on being paid.

      • on unions. the shop steward for my Dad’s shop, was made that because he had no affinity with tools, and could hurt himself if allowed near them. Great, an accident-prone klutz, and you make him the gate keeper for the social machinery that determines that a hard worker like my Dad gets short shrift when he hurts his back on that job. and some do-nothing gets a two hundred thousand dollar settlement in the early 80’s when that was still money…..

        • the shop steward for my Dad’s shop, was made that because he had no affinity with tools, and could hurt himself if allowed near them. Great, an accident-prone klutz

          Was he the son or nephew of another steward? My B-I-L told me about dozens of types like that in his pipe fitter union local.

  8. My high school did some collaborative summer reading lists, in that students could suggest books that fit the theme and if they were appropriate, that administrators could add them to the list. I think I got Ender’s Game in under the “other perspectives” theme (you do have two perspectives of the war in there) and I don’t remember what I got Watership Down in under. I was also the purchase recommender for our school library’s F&SF section, as the librarian had no special knowledge and knew I did. I got Melanie Rawn in there, but she’s the one who bought C.S. Friedman, yay.

    (Speaking of award-winning female writers twenty years ago…)

  9. My mama taught me to count backwards from ten before I blew up

    Ten, Nine, Eight, Sev

    AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Yeah. Umm. Public school and indoctrination go together like stink and fecal matter. True story:

    So one day, I was talking to my dear sweet little daughter. I happened to inquire (wanting to at least think of myself as being a good father) what she had learned in school that week. (With the whole “divorced” thing I don’t see my kids everyday.) Her reply?

    “We learned about the government daddy.”

    “That’s good, honey. What did you learn about the government?”

    “We learned about how, like, the government get taxes and gives us stuff for it.”

    Excuse me? ECK -FREAKING-SCUSE ME!?!?!?!?

    I’ve heard the theory that government provides services in exchange for tax dollars before. But, as far as I’m concerned, that is NOT the job of government, nor is it what _I_ want _MY_ daughter taught. I was furious.

    Listen, these leftist anal orifices have the right to believe that crap if they want to. I won’t deny that. They have no business telling my daughter that’s how the world works. Sorry. You’re all full of it. Preach your crap to your kids if you want. That’s your right. You can, however, leave mine alone.

  10. Read Lord of the Flies in the early 60’s right after the movie came out in 63? It was required reading in junior high and it was pretty well dissected by us country boys with the assistance of our English teacher. Her husband had been a WWII pilot and I remember him coming in and explaining how they actually searched islands from the air, and the other holes in the book were picked apart shortly thereafter.

    But to get back to Cedar and Dave’s point, many parents today have ‘delegated’ the formative years of their children’s development to TV, computers, games and lastly the education system because they are ‘too busy’ to take an active role. The SJWs are more than happy to step in, and many of the teachers today have already been indoctrinated in the left wing ideologies as they got their teaching degrees, so they fall right in line. The outlier parents who ARE actually involved in their children’s moulding and actually showing them the real world and right from wrong are now labeled as (insert -ist of your choice here).

    It IS time for parents to put down the toys and take back the role of actually BEING parents to their children. Teach them right and wrong. Teach them responsibility. Teach them human interaction. Teach them that the world is not all flowers and unicorn farts. Give them the basic skill sets they will need to survive. Teach them how to fight for what they believe. Teach them ethics. Teach them about winning and losing, and how to do both gracefully.

    kicking soapbox back in the corner now…

  11. That post seemed to cover all the bases. I trotted over to the Mad Genius site and skimmed Freer’s post, which is somewhat more narrowly focused. To be honest, I felt Amanda’s post was a bit broad and much about schools was in Your Mileage May Very territory. If a board is unresponsive to the parents, the parents have the option of ranging from boycotts to total recalls of all board members and the superintendent.

    That said – let me don Nomex &trade coveralls – I disagree on one significant point: Up to a certain age, it is precisely the job of educators to indoctrinate students. Learning how to behave in a society is basically indoctrination, as well as helping parents instill values (especially if the parents are negligent on this point), and schools used to be more heavily involved in this than they are now, particularly on the issue of morals. The only question is what our children are being indoctrinated in, and whether we want it.

    When an elementary school teacher came to us, ecstatic that our kids were reading on a level several grades above their own, she was concerned about the issue of age appropriateness of some of the concepts found in books on their level. That’s a big can o’ worms in itself, but she had a point. She wasn’t asking us to forbid reading above their grade level; she was wanting us to be careful of what they read.

    I appreciated that. I wouldn’t have let ours read what I had at an early age, and didn’t until they were older. Yeah, it’s a big can o’ worms, and varies from child to child. On the other hand, they were mostly into mysteries, and not, say, Mario Puzo. so I didn’t have to dance around outright banning a book. Now that they’re older I don’t have to worry about that, but it was a real issue at an age.

    Looking back, maybe the county librarians should have asked my parents about some of the stuff I was reading. That’s opposite of what Freer ran into, but something to think about as well.

    I don’t know how old Freer’s librarian is, but there’s a real question of whether she read for entertainment. Thanks to our teachers’ quiet revolt – dusting off “discarded” readers and literature books instead of using the recommended texts – until high school we were insulated from “In a lit class, dark and dreary,” that other students of that same era endured, and is currently endured by students. Fortunately, we’d already prepared ours, and a trip to the library or the book stacks for a fun read to purge the drek works wonders. Most of our kid’s friends don’t read for enjoyment, and don’t seem to associate reading with entertainment. My guess is that Freer’s librarian never strayed beyond the boundaries of school recommendations, never found reading really fun, and thinks all reading is supposed to be dreary, preachy, dreck, with “the message” as the only purpose. That, and literary analysis, which in the “right” circles conveys “the message” as well.

    This means there are at least two generations or more who do not grasp that fiction is to be enjoyed. If it fails to entertain, it fails as fiction, regardless of “the message.” It doesn’t not surprise me that Freer encountered a librarian who thinks fiction is only about “the message.” I doubt she knows any better. At this stage in life she probably never will.

    Likely she is not the only librarian with such a view, just as there are teachers hamstrung by administrators who neither enjoy reading or grasped this is the point of fiction. If parents don’t challenge these reading lists, and play the subversive by giving their children books they actually want to read, then this will never change.

    • How old are your kids? I was amazed at how education was discarded in favor of indoctrination in the last twenty years.
      Also on that, now the teachers try to “level” the kids in kindergarten and first grade. They’re not ecstatic your kid reads above grade, he’s supposed
      to read at the same level as the slacker-parents’ kids. I.e. none. you know, I screamed “Stop guessing and sound it out” so often that my husband offered to record the phrase and play it back at the push of a button. The kids went to school reading, and came home “guessing” because the teachers said that was what they were supposed to do.
      Mom said I screamed like a fishwife and the entire mountain village could hear me. Good.

      • When our oldest went into a public school in kindergarten back in 1990, the teacher there was horrified that he already knew how to read. He was taught using phonics and she was again horrified. She did her damn level best to try to teach him not to read.

        We withdrew both of the older ones from the public schools 4 years later when alternatives became available.

        • Yep, same thing on trying to teach them NOT to read.

        • How did the teacher justify her efforts at maleducation? Your son knew how to read; what did she imagine her goal was?

          • Some “teachers” think their goal is for all the kids to be exactly the same. Not all equally competent (the normal goal for reading classes), but all the same mistakes.

          • In her opinion, he was not taught to read in the correct fashion (whole language), and also he already knew how to read, putting him ahead of the other kids, which was non-egalitarian.

            To this day, I think that teacher, several others, and the principal all shudder when someone says my or the wife’s name, especially the wife. She got flat out vicious.

        • Funny thing, some teacher tried to do that when my mom was a kid, because she “hadn’t learned to read the right way.” My Nana threw a righteous fit and didn’t let that slide.

          My family has a long history of reading early, and of fighting with teachers who have the gall to think there’s something wrong with that. (I haven’t had to deal with that; at my son’s IEP meeting, we were about 2/3 of the way through when the person writing things down asked us to start talking about why my son needed assistance, lest the whole document be gushing about his academic achievements and confusing the poor sap who would need to know why my kid needed an aide.)

          It’s common enough that I have to keep reminding myself that it’s okay that my four-year-old doesn’t read by herself yet, not more than the alphabet and a few words, that’s normal

      • Reluctant to say, Internet what it is. I will say this conversation with the teacher took place about nine years ago.

        We had a much different experience than what you encountered. For one thing, their school system doesn’t go for “whole words” crap. This was good, because our eldest stumbled on “whole words” on their own, and was immediately discovered by the teacher. The recommended solution was to have our eldest read to us, and to sound out words guessed at. It worked.

        There was also none of this holding the kids back to a certain reading level. Each was tracked individually, with checks on reading comprehension. This is what led to that conversation. The teacher’s fear was that, to keep from being bored out of their skulls, they would move on to books that contained subject matter they weren’t emotionally mature enough to handle, so we needed to monitor what they read.
        We already did that, anyway.

        It also led to some books I wrote specifically for them, in chapter book form, that closer to their level but didn’t get into subjects they weren’t emotionally mature enough to handle. I still accidentally stepped over the line, such as a nightmare sequence that began one book.

        Daddy, it’s supposed to be a children’s book.”

        The nightmare sequence was dropped.

    • Exactly – you’re supposed to have fun reading, it’s not supposed to be a grim PC slog through gloom, despair and dysfunction. No wonder so many kids have been put off.
      My second-oldest brother and I were lucky enough to have learned to read fluently and confidently by second grade. My sister caught phonics in the neck and never really got into it the same way I did. My youngest brother also had phonics at school, but I read aloud to him at home – stuff like Lord of the Rings by age six or seven, and he was motivated to read in spite of everything his schoolteachers could do to discourage him.

      • Oh, to have had The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings at that age! The first chapter of The Hobbit in a book of fairy tales left me wanting more, but in those days the book could not be found at either the school or county library. But we did have Jules Vernes, Daniel Defoe, and Robert Lewis Stevenson. Then we found Poe.

        • Professor Badness

          My mother reading The Hobbit to my siblings and I at an early age will forever be appreciated.

      • I now have an idea for a video game. A kid at school sloging through the gloom, despair, and dysfunction… and applying a ray gun to it all, finding power ups in good books.

        On Phonics, I have a weird brain, they didn’t work well for me, at least in school. My brain naturally processes things in word and sentence groupings. (It gave me fits when learning Russian but meant my translations were more accurate when I got them right at all because when I got it I got ALL of it.)

    • I have a cousin who still has a grudge against librarians because of the one who thought bunnies meant kid’s, and put Watership Down in the kid’s section.

      He was very precocious reader and could read it.

      • I have seen Crichton’s Eaters of the Dead in the non-fiction section of a library.

        • That was one instance where the movie (13th Warrior) was much much better than the book. Why Crichton felt he had to write it all in somekind of dialect…..

          • It’s a send-up of an academic translation. The “bibliography” lists the Necronomicon as a reference.

      • Watership Down was my favorite book when I was eight years old, but then, I also had a thing for “real” fairytales—that is, the early versions with the scary bits in. I still love it, but I’m not introducing it to my much more easily scared daughter until she is much older than I was.

        I read an article on Richard Adams recently where he stated that Watership Down started with him making up stories specifically to scare his kids. I guess they were the “creepy campfire tale” sort of family.

        • Oh, I’ll give it to my Grimm Bros. fan. That’s a great idea. FWIW, I liked Watership Down because Richard Adams did his research on rabbits and got their habits right. Since I raised rabbits, this was very important. (The University library even had the book he used as a reference. No one had checked it out for years before me.)

          • One of my local libraries i went to back east had a text on aerodynamics that , at one point, i went to check out and the last person who did so was three years before… and it was *me*. Sometimes i wonder if they ever sold it off, i would have liked to have it.

  12. OK, hold it.

    I know it’s a natural reaction, but could we please stop pretending that OUR educating kids is NOT indoctrination, and theirs is?

    All education partakes of indoctrination. Why? Because, dammit, so much of what it true and works is because. Just because. Why does C A T spell cat? Because at some time in the remote past, somebody decided it did, and sold the idea to the rest. And there aren’t enough hours in the day, or in a millennia for that matter, to debate it with each little sprout that comes along.

    The reason we make this mistake is that we have failed to understand where the basic disagreement is. The disagreement isn’t on whether children should be indoctrinated; of course they should. Those that are not taught to at a minimum UNDERSTAND what society expects from them spend the rest of their lives bumping into taboos, strictures, and expectations and hurting themselves.

    The disagreement is what they should be indoctrinated IN.

    This is an argument that the SJWs and the LIRPs desperately, DESPERATELY want to avoid, and if they pretend that education is not necessarily indoctrination they can kinda get away with it. But once we accept that we have a choice – indoctrinate the little darlings, or have them behave like so many rabid baboons – then we have to decide what values to inculcate. Since the SJWs and the LIRPS have little but a record of hypocrisy, derangement, failure, and misery to point to, that is a contest they are fated to LOSE. Even stacked up against their pet straw-men, the Victorian Patriarchy, they lose. THEIR picture of Victorian Britain and America is obviously preferable to the mess they are making now.

    For me, it keeps coming back to the Scopes Monkey Trial, and how the SJWs and LIRPs deliberately misunderstand it. Scopes was guilty as a cat in a goldfish bowl. His defense team knew it. Mencken (whose account of the trial is the best available) knew it. He lost, and lost on all appeals. He had no more right to teach anything other than what he was hired to teach than a painter has to paint your house blue when you hired him to paint it white. The SJWs and LIRPs don’t want to hear that. They don’t want to hear that the entire point of defending Scopes was to hold the educational standards of Tennessee up for ridicule, and that that was ALL THAT COULD BE DONE.

    So the answer is IT IS her job to indoctrinate your children, and she shall bloody well do so in the manner you dictate, or she can get used to asking “Do you want fries with that”.

    • The question is who gets to choose the indoctrination your kids will get? and how do we resolve the issue of whose indoctrination will be used in a government school system? And you can’t say “the parents”, because Mr and Mrs Leftist aren’t going to accept your indoctrination either.

      My solution is no public schools for anyone; let each set of indoctrination have their own.

      • Check the box…

      • Control of schools used to be much more local. I have little actual evidence, but I bet the LIRPs HATED that. They could control thier own schools, and maybe screw around with inner city schools if the inner city poor hadn’t yet learned to pay the game. They had to leave most other schools alone.

        In the last forty years, control shifted. A lot of it is on the Federal level, and much of the rest at the State.

        I have no idea how to shift it back, unless vouchers can be made to work.

    • No, it’s not indoctrination.

      It’s perfectly clear the use of “indoctrination” here is to imbue with a usually partisan or sectarian opinion, point of view, or principle, not to instruct especially in fundamentals or rudiments, and your summary of why “C-A-T spells cat” is misleading; it’s not because “someone” decided it, it’s because if you’re going to communicate you need a shared language and that’s how it developed. Lots of people made lots of decisions that resulted in “C-A-T” spelling “cat.”

      I’m all for semantic precision, and agree that debating rudimentary stuff is BS, and even appreciate the fighting of misrepresentation of history to their shameful just-so story BS, but I also really dislike equivocation.

      Perhaps: “Indoctrination: ur doing it wrong,” as my generation says?

      • But it IS indoctrination. If schools only taught basic scholarly subjects I might buy your position, but they don’t. Further, I don’t see how they can. Grade school children must be taught to conduct themselves as members of society. Then there’s the issue of point of view. You can’t very well teach children to read without showing them at least one.

        The issue is, are the children in your school going to be indoctrinated in the moores of the society YOU want to support, or the one supported by someone else.

        Who do the teachers work for?

        Who does the STATE work for.

        I think that the SJWs and LIRPs think that both work for some vague, mushy, “common good”, defined by them.

        We need to stop arguing with them about side issues. The core question is do they work for us or do we work for them? We KNOW what THEY think.

        It is time we disabused them of that.

        • You’re arguing with things I didn’t say, and not answering the objections I made.

          You’re right that they need to be reminded they work for us– things done at the lowest effective level.

          • I’m arguing that our preffered culture is just as much a collection of “partisan or sectarian opinion” as theirs. The issue is, do we prefer their culture or ours?

            Since their culture has racked up, in a single cemtury,a record of mass murder, genocide, bigotry, and destruction that might have the Mongol Empire saying “that’s a bit much”, I prefer ours. But i also insist on saying that what I am doing is passing judgement on their culture. I’m being judgemental.

            I really think that if we get sidetracked into the “is what we wanh indoctrination or is what they want indoctrination” argument we give up ground we shouldn’t. Our answer should be “Of course we are indoctrinating our kids, just like YOU want to. The difference is that our “faith” produced America and YOURS produces an endless string of gulags.

            • You’re assuming what you’d have to argue, and in the effort to avoid getting sidetracked you give up ground that shouldn’t be given.

              Not all education is indoctrination, and assuming it is helps their goals more than ours, especially because they wish to insist that there is no teaching of the basics, there is only brain-washing.

              • Teaching kids values and culture is “formation.” It’s a whole different word.

                • Eh.

                  I form the children.

                  You instruct them.

                  He indoctrinates them.

                  Let us be reasonable. The efforts to make the New Soviet Man were as much as attempt at formation as any parochial school trying to make the children good.

      • Acually “C-A-T spells cat” is the result of someone saying that’s how it’s spelled (usually credited to Noah Webster). English as a language has little history of common spelling for various words.

        Try reading something in it’s original form sometime; Chaucer is a good example. Many of the words sound the same or similar to the English spoken today. but the spelling is sometimes close only in one’s imagination.

        what happened last week with Brian Williams
        I watched the news yesterday when the anchor interviewed an “expert.” This person stated (with a straight face) that memorable events can become a personal memory that one believes happened to the person recounting the story. I have a story that I’ve told many times of an event that happened 55 years ago. I have never mis-remembered that I wasn’t there.

        • That’s standardizing for ease of communication.

          Also, ‘cat’ is a really bad example for things changing, probably because it’s so simple; there’s conjugations, but not a lot of spelling variations.
          Origin
          Middle English Old English
          900before 900; Middle English cat, catte, Old English catt (masculine), catte (feminine); cognate with Old Frisian, Middle Dutch katte, Old High German kazza, Old Norse kǫttr, Irish cat, Welsh cath (Slavic *kotŭ, Lithuanian katė̃ perhaps < Gmc), Late Latin cattus, catta (first attested in the 4th century, presumably with the introduction of domestic cats); ultimately origin obscure

          • I agree. I didn’t choose the example. Thank you for looking up the variations.

            A better example would be London, which has at least 7 common spellings that I know of.

            • It’s actually hilarious when people claim that Shakespeare wasn’t Shakespeare because he spelled his name differently.
              That aside, this is all much ado about nothing. Standardizing makes reading EASIER, but it was possible to read when it was a will improv club for spellers because it IS phonetic. You can spell cat catt or catte but you can’t spell it wyrgog and read it “cat”.
              That is why whole word is a poison on the world of reading. It treats English as if it wrote in ideograms. And it makes it impossible to read what you haven’t memorized/is misspelled, etc. It also seems to restrict the mind linguistically. As in you read ‘cat’ and you flash to the meaning you heard for it. You don’t realize CAT (scan) is a different thing.
              It is in other words, a way to control the peasants. Having seen that in those languages with ideograms it was easier for the peasants to be kept under control, our aristos decided to give it a try.

              • Much ado about nothing, I agree.

                I’m currently reading a novel set in early 10th century Britain. I can read and understand most of the 10th century spelling in the book. But then, I learned to read over 70 years ago. The words I have a hard time with are names beginning with the AE letter. e.g.. AEsc’s Hill.

                • Present a book of Uncle Remus stories to a whole-word reader, and watch the fun.

                • how do you pronounce ae?

                  • No idea. But it is also the way the Finnish alphabet’s a with umlaut is sometimes spelled when people don’t have access to it, and/or when somebody tries to explain how it is pronounced to somebody whose language’s alphabet doesn’t use it. And that would be about the same as ‘a’ in ‘mad’ or ‘cat’.

                    • So maybe it is that. And maybe not.

                    • And in Finnish the letters are usually pronounced almost exactly the same no matter what the word is or what letter combinations there are. Ours hasn’t had a written version of the language as long as English has, so there hasn’t been that much drift, and it was designed in a lot more controlled manner than written English to start with. This guy did most of it: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mikael_Agricola

                      Not that I can understand that old written Finnish particularly well… but it gets a lot more clear once you figure the different usage of some letters, like using ‘w’ when we now write ‘uu’.

                      Now could I have understood Finns of that time? No idea. Depends on the dialects, I suppose. Some of the older versions of some dialects can be a bit hard (heard on old recordings, nobody uses something that heavy anymore).

              • Even Chinese ideograms are really more phonetic/syllabic than most Westerners want to know. Same with Mayan and Egyptian hieroglyphs.

    • Who would you rather have for a neighbor, Sarah or that Shanley person from #GamerGate?

      Some indoctrination is better than another.

  13. RealityObserver

    Probably the best teacher I had was a Vassar graduate – and taught English and Ancient History in my high school.

    Forced me to read “The Jungle” – and spend my entire sophomore year dissecting it, including the world around it. Which taught me a great deal about the actual environment of the South Slavic people in that time period (things like the probability of dying from tuberculosis was *higher* on the farms they left), the state of food and worker safety in *other* countries (for the most part, much worse than the practices in US slaughterhouses), etc. At the end of the year (reaching the part where the POVC has his Socialist “enlightenment”), we had to analyze the consequences of most West European countries moving to the Left – and gained an appreciation for just how screwed up they were even then (1976-77).

    Parenthetically – this was not quite as tortuous as my next year. Book of Job. Although it heightened my appreciation of the RAH work when it came out many years later…

    I learned from her Ancient History class why a *successful* tribe of “Noble Savages” usually numbered around 30 to 40 people huddled in a cliff cave (this was in the desert Southwest). Nothing like trying to raise food with stone and wood tools to give you an appreciation of technological progress – and contempt for those who see morality in leaving “others” in their unspoiled barbarity.

  14. This is just another confirmation that when SJW’s invoke “Social Justice,” they mean “the rule of society by just us socialists.”

  15. Reblogged this on The Wandering Witchling and commented:
    Amanda here outlines many of the reasons why I will be home-schooling my kids.

    And while those kids might be a several months to several years off, the curriculum is already being plotted out. Everything from learning cursive by writing the Founding Documents of our nation out by hand to being told if you pick up it off the bookshelf, focus on that one and it’s 400 word at least book report when you’re done.

    • being told if you pick up it off the bookshelf, focus on that one and it’s 400 word at least book report when you’re done.

      Er… what is this intended to accomplish? I was a ravenous reader as a child, but I think that would have either put me off it or taught me to hide it.

      • Called literature class. *squinty eyes* what’d your teachers call it?

        Rabid reader here too. Reports never bothered me.

      • Also helps you gauge *reading comprehension skills*…..

      • Depends on how you introduce folks to it– if it’s “I want you to tell me about the book when you’re done, and tell me about it” instead of “a report,” it’s less scary.

        • When you can read twelve books a day (okay, short ones), or an adult novel every two hours, demanding a book report for every book is a particularly cruel form of drudgery.

          Especially since a book report would require at least half an hour.

          I mean, I guess maybe if you didn’t sleep? Or if you could do it in limerick format, that would be pretty quick.

          • It was kind of rough on my mom to go over dozens of “Hank, The Cow Dog” books, but it also made me slow down enough to THINK about what I was reading. 😀 It’s less than four minutes of talking, and while you don’t get the sheer bulk of consumption, you also don’t end up swallowing things as normal just because you ran into them a lot, and it makes the reading much richer.

        • I had a rule never to write a book report on a book I really liked, because the format would taint the book until time passed.

          Like reading books in class. There are books I liked before we did ’em in class and quite some time after. The class was enough to make them bitter.

          • Reading aloud is painful…..

            • But sometimes there’s no substitute for it.

              Like, I have this crazy urge to read the recent “No Excuses, No Regrets” post to myself out loud. Maybe record it. So I can listen to it in the mornings and remind myself that I should be writing.

              • And sometimes it’s impossible. I pretty much outsource reading to my kids to my mom now that I can, because it’s hard to read slowly enough to say all the words. The kids get confused and annoyed when my mouth jumps to where my brain and eyes are. (The last book I tried to read aloud to them was The Hobbit. They took it away and read it themselves.)
                The interesting side effect of this is the two that were reading before we moved in to take care of my folks are very strong independent readers–adult level readers. The next two prefer to be read to, still, and the eight year old is really dragging his feet on reading alone. (Mom is the person you want to get if you need a dramatic reading done. She’s amazing. She draws the adults into the room to listen to the children’s stories.)

  16. Also the “Kill off evil humans and save Mother Gaia” comment made me die laughing.

    Simply put, humans are a part of Gaia. These tards don’t get how much damage would be done by removing humans.

    As a pagan, I find it is my solemn duty to live as closely in a relationship with the earth as possible. Tending the plants, being responsible with waste, enjoying the tasty tasty things like mangos, pineapples and spare ribs… 😉

    • I struggled to keep a properly straight face (professional setting, reception) as an environmental Twoo Believer pontificated about how humans were not part of nature even though humans are the worst animals ever to evolve and how humans ruin everything for all other animals. Because Rene Descartes. And organic, vegan food will save your soul except humans no longer have them, souls, you see, because we are not animals and are no longer in Nature and noble savages might be excepted and . . . He managed to talk for probably three minutes like that before having to stop for air.

      • Ascher Goodrich

        A wild self-righteous vegan, in it’s natural habitat, can pontificate for minutes at a time without coming up for air. This is due to a massive hot-air reservoir located in the cranium.

    • Humans are, so far, the only part of Gaia which might help her to spread beyond this one planet. If you assume that she is the creator, and created us, who are we, any of us, to say she didn’t create us for that precise purpose? So wouldn’t it be about time to get serious about it… ?

      (No, I’m not serious. Not completely, anyway. 🙂 )

      • Whyever not? Certainly you have decent justification. Even Christians have scriptural backing for colonizing space. “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” If that doesn’t translate “Grow a pair, and get your butt off this rock”, I’m seriously confused.

      • They are just projecting their self-hatred onto the world.

        • I think that they want no humans anywhere except them and their friends. They haven’t a clue that they aren’t self-sufficient and that it takes a large modern industrial civilization (which includes millions of people) to maintain themselves as they are now.

          They remind of the disturbed tweens who say “I hate you. Now take me to the mall.”

  17. Back before I apostasized (love that word) I used to listen to a lot of the taped speeches of my church’s general authorities. In one of them, discussion of schools came up: a history book that gave a couple of sentences scattered over a few pages, about George Washington while dedicating five whole pages to Marilyn Monroe. Other things like a civics book that spent a great deal of time on how to apply for welfare. There was more, a lot more, but

    I listened to this taped speech sometime back in the early to mid 80’s. The speech was given sometime before that.

    This just goes to show that the process has been going on a long time.

    Sarah has mentioned from time to time that cultures, in times of stress, revert to their founding myths. I think the SJW’s actually recognize this in their hearts so they’ve been working for decades to change those founding myths. What scares me is how much they’ve succeeded. We’ve got a generation (at least) who have grown up with these altered myths. It doesn’t even matter if the new stories are “more (factually) accurate” (don’t believe they are, and I don’t think they care) because those myths tell how things should be. You’ve heard the line “when the legend becomes truth, print the legend.” Well, print the legend and it becomes the truth after a fashion if only because the legend gives an example for others to strive for. So we get new “legends” about how awful we are. How our legacy is murder, theft, and rapine. Perhaps the idea is to knock the underpinnings out from under patriotism but I wonder if they’ve thought through the consequences of these altered myths.

    If the new “founding myths” are built on savagery then in times of stress, will they not lead to a new savagery?

    “Interesting times” indeed. I’m not worried for my own sake. I’m an old fart and so long as I get the chance to go down fighting (physically or metaphorically) I’m good. It’s my daughter I fear for.

  18. BTW, OT, sorry, but everyone would love and should go see “Kingsman.” That is all.

  19. I just love this lawsuit filed in New Mexico on Friday.
    From the Santa Fe Newmexican newspaper, “The American Federation of Teachers New Mexico, the Albuquerque Federation of Teachers, seven teachers from districts within the state and five state legislators filed the lawsuit Friday in District Court.

    It charges that the system, which places a heavy reliance on student test score data to evaluate teachers in one of five categories from “minimally effective” to “exemplary,” is “arbitrary and capricious.”

    Somehow I fail to see how evaluating teachers on the results of their teaching is “arbitrary and capricious.” I grant that standardized tests result in teaching to the test. But, still if even that information is not retained, then what are the teachers teaching?

  20. Heaven help today’s kids (and not just because of cray-cray teachers, bureaucrats, busybodies, and the rest of it).

    There’s a part of me that wants to ignore those people. Ignore them good and hard. But doing that sort of lets them run wild. I imagine it’s like saying “well, we’ll ignore that kudzu, and I’m sure it’ll go away”. HAH.

    Of course, the thing to do is to kill it with fire. With awesome, amazing, adventurous, romantic (in the classical sense of the word – I’d like my kid educated, but I don’t really want her educated if you know what I mean) literature.

    And I say literature, but you know that kind of leaves a bad taste in the mouth. What we need are good stories. Stories of good and evil, where despite difficulties and imperfections, people do good and defeat evil. Choices and consequences. Story saved me, in a very real sense, from totally buying in to Skinnerian motivational theory when I was in college. It was all stimulus and response, stimulus and response, until I went home for a weekend and went to see Braveheart with my brothers. There was NO WAY any kind of stimulus I could comprehend could explain William Wallace’s actions at the end of that movie. It completely flew in the face of what I was being taught at school. And I told the professor so when I got back.

    Not to say that that theory doesn’t hold at least SOME truth, but it couldn’t explain everything.

    Story is one of the most potent weapons the thinking man has. Done right, it moves past the intellectual defenses to the emotions, which is where most decision making happens. We like to think we’re super-logical about things, but a lot of times, we fall in to that stimulus/response loop. So we need to make sure that we instruct people what the appropriate response to certain stimuli is.

    And done right, it creates a vicarious experience. It trains the brain and the person to react in certain ways. We tell (good) virtuous stories, we get virtuous actions. We tell (good) stories about honor, we get honorable actions. We tell (good) stories about western civilization and the good things it brings, we start regaining our cultural confidence.

    But the story HAS to be good, or you’re doing it wrong.

    • Hey–at least kudzu is (or so I’ve been told) edible if you’re adventurous enough. Sadly, no amount of adventuresome will make those people edible or useful in any other fashion. 😉

  21. All your children are belong to us now.

  22. I do not have any children myself and am too old to start, but I do have a suggestion for those who wish to home school there children… and especially to those who can’t… hire a tutor more then one for more subjects.. too costly well get a group together to split the cost. three or for parents (or nine or ten). teaching in some ones basement… rotate to each parents house… or if you have enough parents/money rent a small building, storefront, etc. you will control what your child will be taught. you will be come your own school board. after all its “for the children”

    • Check your laws first. State laws.
      Splitting a tutor among a group of parents may be a private school, not a home school or tutor.

  23. Heh, back when I was in elementary school they made a mistake one year and assigned ‘The Girl Who Owned a City’ as summer reading. It was only years later that I realized that it has rather strong conservative/libertarian messages in it. All I knew at the time was that it was a fun read and gave me a lot to think about that summer.

  24. I think you’ve left out one major expense – computers. Since we’ve decided that schools must have computers for their students, schools suck up an increasing amount of money. You must have techs to deal with them, money for upgrades, money to upgrade hardware. It never ends and the schools tend to have newer computers than I do.

    Personally, I think that we should eliminate computers in the classroom until at least high school. If we did that, we’d have enough money to fund the arts.

    • The price of computers is low enough now that it’s not really affecting the overall costs that much. The real cost suck is in Administration. There is far more money spent on education per pupil than would be needed to include the cost of computers.

      It’s also in how the money is allocated, because money allocated to one thing cannot be spent on something else, and a lot of money goes to waste on things that don’t really need it that year. I’m convinced that such shortfalls are engineered on purpose, so that the school districts can plead for more money all the time.

      • It also helps if they run it like my daughter’s high school did, letting the tech savvy students do most of the support work.

        • And who vets the tech savvy students? I’ve fixed the problems from letting tech savvy students have their way in a computer lab or class room computer, especially if the teacher isn’t tech savvy.

          Wayne is correct, the Administration is a major funds grabber, though there are hardware bits that could REALLY cut costs. (The school shall remain nameless I know people who still work there.) But iPads and iPods are not reasonable school purchases. And they could have saved a huge pile of money if they’d bought PCs instead of Macs for the elementary schools, but even all that was a drop in the bucket compared to the Admin side of things.

          I would disagree that computers don’t belong in the classroom at all until highschool. Typing and computer usage is becoming an essential skill and no, not all kids get it at home. I do think extensive computer time (and mandatory typed reports) should wait at least until middleschool/Jr. High.

          • Daughter’s school had two or three adult staff overseeing a crew of about a dozen students. It was considered a plum gig among the geeks, daughter was really bent when she didn’t get in junior year. Pull one stupid prank and you’re out. It worked there, YMMV.

          • A half-hour of typing practice once a week in the school lab, probably using the old “Oregon Trail” program, was probably the most useful thing my grade school taught me.

            • And having the typing practice and a basic understanding that ‘Wikipedia is a tertiary source therefore not good for more than a research springboard’ as well as ‘this is a computer it is not going to bite you nor will it solve all your problems and anything you can find on the internet so can we’ are solid skills for semi early grades. More on the last two points as they get older. The typing practice becomes subsumed into ‘write this report two pages, double spaced one inch margins.’

          • Can’t say anything about any specific school, but I know a lot of classrooms have Apple products because they were donated or the cost extremely lowered) by Apple (Pretty sure it was a marketing gimmick).

            • Apple’s educational discount in the Apple II days was 50%.

              Now its somewhere around 10%.

              The problem is, you can get a cheap but serviceable ‘business PC’ to use as a classroom PC for $300. Apple has nothing in that price range. PC admins are cheaper, too.

              • There’s also at least one California district that “got a deal” to pay roughly 10% over retail for the iPads they got for their students. (It’s near LA, heard it on the news down there.)

                If it was really needed, the could’ve gotten androids that were specifically tailored to only be useful for their intended purpose for a third of the price.

                • and I’m sorry, schools use can be done with really really crappy android tablets, the ones you can get for $60 at wal-mart. If you *must* have slightly better ones, there is an army of 8″ android and windows tablets at the $150-$200 mark, less than half the cost of an ipad mini.

                  • Goodness, yes; the only argument for the specialized is that the argument offered for iPads is that they were more secure.

                    Husband worked up a cost thing for locked-down android tablets for the pilots at work– would’ve been at most two thirds of the cost of an Apple product, without the upkeep cost, especially since they couldn’t even use the existing software. They still went with iPads because people who don’t know tech assume that they’re always the best option.
                    (Possibly BECAUSE you can do it for half the price with another option.)

                    • It’s actually just tech history repeating itself: for decades, IBM was #1 in computers simply because they were the “safe” recommendation.

              • Heh. Well, obviously my information is out of date. Just a tad. 🙂

                • Don’t worry, my grade school had computers only because of that really awesome program. (would’ve been about… ’89? Before ’92, at least) Probably still has the computers, actually, and no good reason to upgrade to anything else for just teaching typing……

                  • My middle school had C64s. High school had the IIes.

                    • You know how to make a person feel old. Our Trig class had two calculators for the class to share.

                    • Those were in the computer lab. Calculators in Trig class were the responsibility of the students… i think the school had a few POS scientific calculators at the beginning of each year but they usually disappeared or failed within a few months. IIRC, my sister used my dad’s ancient TI calculators when she took trig

                    • I don’t think any of our classes had calculators. A couple of guys got TI-30s while I was in High School.

                    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                      I had graduated from High School before I first saw an electronic hand-held calculator. $500 for an engineering calculator with all the functions an engineer might need. Oh, desktop computers may have existed then but they were not very common. By the way, I graduated HS in 1972.

                    • I’m not sure the two we had weren’t Mr. Vore’s personal property. Anyway they were always busy, so I learned to interpolate from the tables in the back of the book mentally. Annoyed people no end that I could get as good an answer as them without scratching it out on paper.

            • Thing is that advertising gimmick went the way of the dodo at least a decade ago, though it was effective. It got schools thinking that Macs were a better deal, a lot are drifting away because they can’t afford to pay an extra 200-300 per computer (Or more on the higher end ones for things like graphic design classes. They are not necessary for even the graphic design classes, though some people prefer them). Right now Apple offers schools the same kinds of discounts that HP or Dell or any other computer company does. At the district I worked for, there’s a guy in admin who’s a Mac fanboy. (To the point that he irritated the fire out of the mac tech who was my direct supervisor.)

              Side note, it’s amazing what you can learn about the inner workings of whatever when you sit there imaging computers for a couple of hours and keep your ears open.

              • Especially if you sit next to the head IT guy for the VFX facility you work at (that’s just my case, I know)