Educating children to always obey government

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What are your children learning in school?

I came across something pretty unsettling (although not surprising) tonight when I was browsing around the internet.  The following are two pages from a workbook published by Pearson PLC, which is the largest book publisher in the world and the second largest education company.

So what do they have in one of their books?  Take a look.  This is from “Grammar and Writing Practice Book.”

New Picture“What is more, the commands of government officials must be obeyed by all.”  “The wants on an individual are less important than the well-being of the nation.”

What?  Can the brainwashing of children be any more obvious?  Teachers are instructing their students to repeat this?  “Remember, students, always obey the government!”

And then there’s this page, which takes a turn towards the environmental side of things…

New Picture (1)This would be comical if it weren’t so sad.  “We are poisoning ourselves slowly.”  What a great thing to tell a bunch of little kids.  Do we really want our children’s education to involve telling them that they are destroying the earth, driving is bad, and that oil tankers are ruining the ocean?  Maybe some parents want to tell their children this stuff, and that’s fine, but what about the parents who don’t want to teach their children this?

Or do people even care about this?  Have we reached the point that we’re so used to government involved in our lives that society sees nothing wrong with this?

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lance
Guest

While it is clearly obvious that the ubiquitous presence of plastics in food containers and pesticides in the vegetables are poisoning us daily, is your issue with the content of the message or the mechanism of delivery? Because the statement “what about parents who don’t want to teach their children this” sounds more like a concern for the content.

And to answer that question, parents who are fussy about what their sons and daughters are being taught probably shouldn’t be putting them in public school.

Rollo McFloogle
Guest

It’s mostly the mechanism. If you want to teach your children to worship the state, that’s up to you. I just don’t want to be forced to pay for your child’s education, especially when I’m so ethically opposed to what you’re teaching.

Alex C
Guest
The questions in the first page are direct references to themes within Ken Mochizuki’s “Passage to Freedom” (the title of which is named in the upper right corner of the page). It is a narrative, from the POV of a Japanese diplomat’s son, about said diplomat’s choice to disobey governmental orders to not issue visas to potential Holocaust victims during WWII. You’ll find a lot of parallels in those questions from the link below from instance. http://www.umich.edu/~childlit/Passage/Passageframeset1.htm Considering the book is about a man who was praised for his disobedience of his government, they’re probably not trying to brainwash children… Read more »
Alex C
Guest

*for instance

Rollo McFloogle
Guest

Why not touch on the points about disobeying the government? Isn’t the way they put those sentences creepy?

Alex C
Guest
As creepy as quoting 1984 would be, which – since you and I have both likely read the book – isn’t really that creepy and makes sense from how the story is written. But that’s the whole point, neither of us have read the book and we would do well to consider the context in summaries about it. Take for instance that the story is told from the POV of a 5-year old; is it unlikely a kid whose father works as an official for an overbearing government would have heard and partly internalized the sentiment that government orders are… Read more »
Rollo McFloogle
Guest

Remember, this is a workbook for a young child. They’re not going to be able to adequately process this…they’re likely to take the workbook section as it is written. If is wasn’t on purpose, it was pretty careless.

I don’t judge this as an isolated example. This is the kind of stuff that is constantly peddled in schools.

Alex C
Guest

“they’re likely to take the workbook section as it is written.”

The workbook questions directly follow the excerpts from the books they’re based on! Any wonder why there are pages missing from the preview before each new section? That’s how all of these are set up. Not to mention it’s a grammar book anyway.

Rollo McFloogle
Guest

I understand your point that this is a workbook used in conjunction with the reading textbook. I understand your summary of the story. What I don’t understand is why they’re reinforcing points are in contradiction to the point of the story.

Alex C
Guest

They’re not contradictory. These were positions to serious moral and personal questions that the diplomat faced. And that diplomat made choices that reflected an agreement with the sentiment in one of the questions, and disagreed with the sentiment in the other. This isn’t slew with contradictions such that a totalitarian narrative is being pressed, this is entirely your own projection, and is very weakly founded IMO.

Rollo McFloogle
Guest

I’m not questioning the author, I’m questioning the choice of the sentences that are to be repeated by the students. The next selection about pollution only drives that point more.

I guess what originally set me off was seeing this picture, which has some similar lines, but is even worse in my opinion…
comment image

It’s conjecture on my part, but they set this up to have a very convenient defense of the page, which is the exact defense you’re giving.

slappyjones2
Guest
I’d be interested to see how often they prop up the individual. @Alex, I agree we need context. If the next passage in the textbook is Animal Farm, then maybe this isn’t as bad as it initially looks. However, is there any reason to think common core approved books would teach anything other than to be obedient to the state? The government has a monopoly on education, why wouldn’t they use it to advance their authority? Outside of a few teachers who teach their own way, I think it is naive to assume the government would want its population to… Read more »
Alex C
Guest
Rollo McFloogle: “I’m questioning the choice of the sentences that are to be repeated by the students.” So what you’re saying is that you want the students to be taught a message, and think that since your message is better in whatever metric you’re judging than another is, if it *seems* like that other message is being taught, they’re in the wrong. But you’d be correct to give your message. That doesn’t have the interest of the students’ education at heart, that has your political interests at heart. Again from my previous comment about the story being from the POV… Read more »
Rollo McFloogle
Guest
“That doesn’t have the interest of the students’ education at heart, that has your political interests at heart.” It appears I didn’t do a good enough job explaining my position in the article. I don’t think “my position” should be taught in schools. However, when I’m forced to pay for people’s education, I’m going to be annoyed when my money is being used to teach positions that I’m ethically opposed to. So is there ever a chance that we’re all going to agree on everything? Of course not! This is one of the problems with public education. When you make… Read more »
slappyjones2
Guest
Alex, all your points are valid. I don’t think the goal of the article is to convince everyone that schools run by the state actually teach what the state wants, especially when they adopt nationwide standards and approved books. “I would also think it is naive to presume that a unionized and educated group of individuals would be drones for their employer” I do think an overwhelming majority of teachers are drones for the state. I base that on my life experiences by having gone to school, having several teachers in my family, having coached high school football for several… Read more »
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