Wednesday, July 02, 2003

Lunatics Teaching

The theory:

"The educational publishing industry follows very specific guidelines to ensure that school children are not exposed to words or topics that might be controversial, especially those that are related to gender, race, religion, or sex."

The practice:

"In Michigan, the state does not allow mention of flying saucers or extraterrestrials on its test, because those subjects might imply the forbidden topic of evolution. A text illustrator wrote to say that she was not permitted to portray a birthday party because Jehovah's Witnesses do not believe in celebrating birthdays. Another illustrator told me that he was directed to airbrush the udder from his drawing of a cow because that body part was "too sexual."

"a well-known local writer for children sold a story to an American textbook company, along with illustrations. The U.S. publisher, however, informed her that she could not show a little girl sitting on her grandfather's lap, as the drawing implied incest. So, the author changed the adult's face, so that the little girl was sitting on her grandmother's lap instead. A contributor to a major textbook series prepared a story comparing the great floods in 1889 in Johnstown, Pa., with those in 1993 in the Midwest, but was unable to find an acceptable photograph. The publisher insisted that everyone in the rowboats must be wearing a lifevest to demonstrate safety procedures."

"When it comes to illustrations in textbooks, certain images--women cooking, men acting assertive, scenes of poverty, and old people walking with the aid of a cane or a walker--are likewise considered unacceptable. The specifications for photographs, I have learned, are exquisitely detailed. Men and boys must not be larger than women and girls. Asians must not appear as shorter than non-Asians. Women must wear bras, and men must not have noticeable bulges below the waist. People must wear shoes and socks, never showing bare feet or the soles of shoes, and their shoelaces must be solid black, brown, or white. People must never gesture with their fingers, nor should anyone be depicted eating with the left hand. Things to avoid: holiday decorations and scenes in which a church or a bar appears in the background."

"On the last administration of the Regents' English examination in January, the state (NY) asked high school seniors to write about a poem by Matthew Arnold. However, the examination did not mention the name of this famous poem ("Dover Beach"); it inexplicably offered only one stanza of the four-stanza poem; and it changed or misquoted an important line. Instead of Arnold's exclamation, "Ah, love, let us be true to one another!" it stated, "Ah, friend, let us be true to one another!"

It's a wonder anyone learns anything in public schools these days.

You can read the article here.

I tend to agree with Neal Boortz on this: "I learned that, in short, sensitivity sucks. It's a trap. Think about it - the truth knows no sensitivity. Life can be insensitive. Wallow too much in sensitivity and you’ll be unable to deal with life, or the truth.   So, get over it."

Point to ponder: Our Declaration of Independance, our Constitution, and our Bill of Rights could not be written and passed through Congress today.

Speaking of Neal Boortz

I've known about this Commencement Speech for a while now and I don't believe I ever linked to it. It's about time.

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