And then I yawned and moved on…

Let’s see. Did any Atlanta schools rank in Newsweek’s list of the top 1500 public high schools in the U.S. I see one. Just one. North Atlanta High School came in at 865th and I see Dekalb School of the Arts came in at 307th. Plus a few from suburban/satellite areas.

North Atlanta High is in upscale Buckhead. It hosts the magnet International Studies Program and the magnet Performance Arts program. “The latter, however, saw its last class during the 2007-2008 school year.”

Well, so much for that.

A 2009 article states Georgia’s graduation rate is 49th in the nation. The SAT scores from GA’s high school students in 2008 led it to being ranked 47th in the nation.

What were they drinking?

After Virginia Tech, when I said I needed to teach H.o.p. how to duck and run, I certainly didn’t have anything like this in mind.

Via Raw Story

Faculty fakes gunman attack on crying 6th graders
Published: Monday May 14, 2007

A teacher and assistant principal at a Tennessee elementary school staged a fake gun attack on frightened students during a class trip, sparking outrage among parents, according to a report from CNN’s Newsroom.

According to school board member Lon Nuell, the prank was poorly timed. “Ghost stories are standard, and you scare the kids out of their wits,” said Nuell. “But this was very unfortunate timing, if the timing would ever be good for this sort of thing, this was not it,” referring to the Virginia Tech shootings that killed 33 students and professors in April.

According to one student who participated in the trip, Dalton Brown, the assistant principal instructed the students to get under desks and said that they had a “code red” – reserved for when an individual is in possession of a gun, knife, or bomb. The school later issued a press release classifying the events as a “typical campfire prank.” According to Brown’s mother, the prank crossed the line.

“It’s just appalling that they would classify this as such a thing, because there’s nothing typical about what they did to our children,” said Brown. “The kids were underneath tables crying and praying to God and begging for their lives, thinking that they were gonna die and that they were never going to see their families again.”

Riiiiight. A “typical campfire prank.” What were they drinking when they came up with that explanation?

“Could work.”


P.S. Listened to the video and seems they’re also calling it a “planned” “educational drill”. How “planned” “educational drill” and “typical campfire prank” mesh together, I don’t know. Maybe they just mesh together like “e” is found in both phrases and they could thus meet in a crossword puzzle.

Gee, when I was a kid they would tell us they were mock drills.

P.P.S. has more details:

A teacher wearing a hooded sweatshirt pulled on a locked door, pretending to be a suspicious subject in the area.

The students were told to lie on the floor or crawl underneath tables and keep quiet. The lights went out, and about 20 kids started to cry, 11-year-old Shay Naylor said. Some held hands and shook.

“I was like, ‘Oh my God,’ ” Shay said Saturday afternoon as she recounted the incident. “At first I thought I was going to die. We flipped out. (A teacher) told us, ‘We just got a call that there’s been a random shooting.’ I was freaked out. I thought it was serious.”


Assistant Principal Don Bartch, who led the trip, said the entire scenario lasted about five minutes, after which the teachers gathered the students and explained it was a prank.

“We got together and discussed what we would have done in a real situation,” he said.

Several parents said they were troubled by the staff’s poor judgment.

“The children were in that room in the dark, begging for their lives, because they thought there was someone with a gun after them,” said Brandy Cole, whose son went on the trip.

“This was not a good experience,” said Alisha Graves, whose son attended. “Those kids were crying, and they were terrified.”

Brandy Cole said she found out about the incident shortly after her son returned home from the trip Friday afternoon.

“I was shocked,” said Cole, whose husband, Jimmy, immediately sent an e-mail requesting a meeting with Bartch.

Barbara Corbetta, whose child also went to Fall Creek Falls with the group, said she spoke to several different parents and kept hearing the same details — kids on the floor crying and begging for their lives.

“The circumstance that occurred involved poor judgment,” Stephens said. “My hope is that we can learn from this, and in the end, it will have a positive result of growth for all of us.”

Positive result of growth for ALL.

What? As in, “Kids, don’t follow the example of Assistant Principal, Don Bartch, when you grow up.”

I suppose at Scales Elementary they call that positive growth.

Oops…thar she blows!

Here I have in my Netflix-borrowing hands a DVD of “Cat Women of the Moon”, which far surpasses any expectations I had for it, and I’d planned to blog my giddy, glorious wonder of this film on Friday. But then I opened up the Bloglines and what met my eyes but Pharyngula’s “Demand higher standards for homeschooling!” post, filed under creationism and academics.

Said Pharyngula, who’s all hot and bothered by the Creationists,

At my department, we just got the requirements for state licensure of education students, and we’ve been given the task of making sure our course content delivers what future teachers will need. It’s not trivial getting licensed to teach; but any idiot can declare themselves to be a teacher for purposes of homeschooling, and apparently many idiots do.

Please. Can we bring those laws back?

I’m serious. We need to stop this. I think any politician who professed to be concerned about educating the children of this country, by supporting the NCLB, for instance, ought to be required to support increasing the qualifications and standards for homeschooling…and if a district doesn’t have the resources to monitor the competence of homeschool teachers, they ought to simply refuse to allow the kids to be pulled out of school.

Then I began to read the comments, which were about what I expected.

As I’m not a Creationist, one might think this wouldn’t concern me too much. I do homeschool, and one might say well if you’re doing the job you ought to be doing then you won’t mind stricter standards (which vary by state), and if you don’t have a degree (I don’t) then you must certainly understand, as a reasonable progressive, our concerns. But I’m not going there folks because that’s not what it’s all about. If you know how to cut through the fat then it’s not too difficult to see this hasn’t much to do with Creationism at all, and doesn’t even have a thing to do with a desire to edcuate–at least not outside of what is required for maintaining a certain world of status-quo prejudices.

I have mellowed some over the years. Used to be I had almost no use whatsoever for academics, to the extent that if I showed up at a party of a one-time friend who lacked the instrument but could play the hell out of an air guitar (that’s one way of putting it) and I smelled a nest of his co-worker academics in the vicinity then I’d promptly leave. I was almost kind of fine with them as long as they stuck to the dining room table gossiping about department politics and left the rest of us alone to pursue some bonafide conversation–and they’d almost 100 percent comply as they certainly didn’t want to mingle outside their clique, because, after all, what was the use in their mingling when, as far as they were concerned, they had nothing to learn or gain? Yeah, there are academic bloggers now who let it be known how cool they are, really really how cool they and their musical tastes are as well (come sit at my feet my fellow academic bum-licking friends so we may self-congratulate ourselves on our corporate but oh so individual coolness) and love to blog-party and toy with tittilating the whatnot; and what can I say but hey, things sure haven’t changed, because they’ve always been around. But in pre-blog days my experience was that they tended to get too drunk too fast and were really happy with sitting around and bitching about everything and assessing where they were on the king of the hill playground slide between the persons on their left and right.

In the above instance, the number of academics at the parties grew and as they grew they began to feel more secure with elbowing for the respectful distance due them so the numbers of the rest of us dwindled. The third year I dropped by it was almost all academics (though sometimes not immediately distinguishable individually, this is not the case en masse). Eventually the parties were probabaly all composed of academics. They were happy to have the room to themselves and I was happy to not bother them.

Again, used to be I had almost no use for academics, but I like people and I like to find things to like about people, at least when they’re cut off from their herd, though if you’re not secure enough to stand alone then I’ll give you that chance in your preferred environment. I like to give people a chance, a second and a third, even to the point of shutting my voice off and politely, gamely listening and nodding my head after I’ve fully sized the situation up–which is usually just a matter of mapping out someone’s narrow-minded halls and figuring out the concretized (pro or con) conversational points they’re programmed to run. As all that some prefer for a conversation is a party of one then I don’t mind too much sitting back and simply watching the show and experiencing your world and enjoying you, your face, how you move, how you speak, the stories you’ve accumulated. Indeed, most everyone wants others to experience their world, though some people want only that ultimately. Not too many people are that interested in experiencing another person’s world outside of what the price of a shot glass of cappucino demands of them. Even if they imagine they do, they show up at the table with a bag of regimented prescriptions and run through the doctor’s recommendations twenty times before the bladder asks for a break. And they’ll not have a clue. I know that and it doesn’t bother me as long as you’re not abusive. I can look at a good many people, apart from the herd by which they may define themselves, and find much to marvel about in the individual. One thing you learn from listening to many different people’s stories and asking them about things so they tell you even more, enough to give some idea of landscape or what they see the landscape to be, is, of course, how much people are the same and, of course, how different they are. There’s a lot to be learned from really listening rather than just seeing the world and every encounter in terms of scoring points.

Blogworld, and most worlds of conversation, discussion and debate, are not where you can begin to change the regimented prescription and doctor’s recommendations. Nah, you show up to pat on the back, share a tidy story and sometimes play a regimented role of rebuttal, preferably in the matter of a very few one-liners as that’s about as much time readers and commentors can commit to from their work place seat, which we all know as most people play 9 to 5 and blogworld shuts down on the weekend. Most people who comment at blogs don’t even take the time to read the thread of comments preceding their own, much less the comments that follow. When I first began blogging I’d hoped it might be otherwise but learned quickly enough those were the rules and that blogworld is stranded in a world of prejudices and the exact same power jockeyings that rule the real world. Doesn’t mean the internet isn’t a grand tool for disseminating information. No, making information available, the good and the trash, is where the internet excels. But it’s not much of a place for changing opinion through dialogue, just as in real world conversation.

I thought several times about posting a comment at Pharyngula and politely running through some of my views, but anticipating how the comment thread would run I held back. Well before the thread reached 338 comments, I was glad I’d gone with the judgment of not participating.

Nor am I participating by commenting on the post here. I’m not doing a trackback. I don’t want anyone from there to come over here and read and comment. No, I’m instead remarking on why I chose not to particpate, which is the same reason I don’t want anyone from there to come over here and read and comment.

There, that’s all the thought I want to waste on this right now. I’ve got “Cat Women of the Moon” to possibly blog before returning it to Netflix. But all my browser windows are open to slips of documents concerning Sac and Fox mixed bloods that I want to copy into a database and there are 10,000 other things I need to be doing right now so I might not get around to it. But I will certainly try.

Why can I never remember Karl Rove’s face?

I never can remember Karl Rove’s face. Rumsfeld is easy. When I think Rumsfeld I think Wes Craven’s “Hellraiser”. Rumsfeld has always, always been “Hellraiser” to me. But Rove? Nothing. A suit with a zero for a head.


My son can draw like crazy. This is not one of his drawings-drawings. This is my son doing a quick deliberation on what he was at that moment considering andwhat he was considering was evolution. He brought it in, dropped it in husband’s lap, said, “This is a picture of evolution,” and went on to sketch something else.

He has about as much problem with the idea we arose from an ancestor common with the apes, as he does with our having crawled out of the briney ocean on our bellies. Which is zero. One will note that the stick-human is carrying something. A suitcase. I guess more important than us having a heavy investment in making tools is the fact we move around and carry them from place to place.

We have talked about this and read some to him on it in a casual manner. Then he was asking about all this last week and we spent a while talking time, long stretches of time and mutations upon surviving mutations, and really long stretches of time. Because for him, at seven, there’s the matter of context to be absorbed which in this case is lots and lots of time, and it’s that he ended up trying to comprehend.

Anyway, we homeschool. In red state Georgia. And we believe in evolution.

And because we homeschool I thankfully don’t have to put up with this kind of shit, (via Pharyngula) Beauty Dish being called down to the school to pick up her son who was being suspended for the day for the following:

So she told me what he did. And as she told me, I started to laugh. I didn’t laugh a little, either, but I belly-laughed and grabbed my stomach. My son stood with his class this morning, put small right hand over heart, faced the American flag, and recited his own personal pledge of allegiance:

I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United Federation of Planets, and to the galaxy for which it stands, one universe, under everybody, with liberty and justice for all species.

“Mrs. Jaworski. This isn’t humorous. The Pledge is an extremely important and patriotic moment each morning in the classroom. I am ashamed of your son’s behavior, and I hope you are, too.”

I wanted to say, Hey Lady, it’s a big universe. Why should we pledge allegiance to a mixed-up country? Why shouldn’t my son embrace the potential of stardust? But I stood, extended my hand, apologized for my laughter, slung my purse over my shoulder, opened her door to find my son, 8, red-eyed sitting on the wooden bench bordering the World Map wall.

And there you have one of the reasons for which my son is homeschooled, because had it been me, I wouldn’t have extended my hand and apologized, I would have said something off-the-top-of-my-head down the order of, “Well, rather than being ashamed of my son I happen to be proud of him for exhibiting a measure of sanity and pledging to honor the idea of affinity universal rather than mindless acceptance of imperialist lies and subservience to the slaughtering greed of slave-hungry corporations. My son is learning to measure actions against words and make calls on what’s proven specious and rather than being brainwashed into accepting two and two makes five, believe me, he’s going to call you on it every time. He does it at home, I will not tell him not to do it here. And if you have a problem with this then you and your teachers need to put on the seatbelts and get ready for a hell of a ride, but at least his peers will get an education.”

That’s what I would have done. Ask my husband. Ask my public school teachers, who hated me with the exception of a precious few. Ask the individual I knew from high school, who eight years ago, before son H.o.p. decided to show up unexpectedly, saw us with a van and said everyone he knew who’d gotten a van ended up with a kid in a couple of years and he wanted to be there when I showed up at the PTA meetings.

But continuing, the principal would have gone Karl Rove on me. I would have gone Shakespeare’s Sister on her and then told her all about cutting away shadows.

And I would not have then opened the door to find my son sitting red-eyed on a bench because I would have demanded that he be present at the conference as he should be there to hear exactly what was said about him and be able to voice his side.

I am not criticizing how Beauty Dish did things. I’m just saying what would have happened had it been me, and I don’t even like confrontation. Which is a reason why we homeschool. The school would want to deal with me about as much as they’d want to deal with a boy who doesn’t, in the first place, have the disposition to sit hours at a desk being lectured to and told what to do. He doesn’t like being fed knowledge. He likes being shown what’s available and then pursuing it on his own with someone there to talk to him about it (me or his dad), asking someone to go through it with him on different points (me or his dad), and then he’ll say that’s enough for now and mull and return to it a day or a week or three weeks later to learn and mull some more, or he’ll sit with it for four days straight mulling on one point alone.

I seriously doubt people like Karl Rove had that opportunity, if they so desired it, when they were 6 and 7 and 8 years of age.

Ask Sally, Dick or Jane the value of their privacy and what personal boundaries mean

Talkleft posts a story on inmates, who were stripped and left naked, some for days, winning a lawsuit against the Saginaw County Jail in Michigan.

One was 36 year-old Linda Rose who, arrested for drunk driving, was stripped and left to crouch before a surveillance camera for several hours in a jail cell.

The lawsuit involved 21 plaintiffs who received this humiliating treatment between 1996 and 2001. The county says they discontinued the practice in 2001 but the ACLU and plaintffs’ attorneys contend the practice continues to the present, involving perhaps hundreds of prisoners.

The jail’s excuse? The carte blanche “we have to protect you against yourself”. The offered reasoning was that they were protecting the prisoners from using their clothing to hang themselves, and that the policy was adopted in 1996 after a prisoner hanged himself in isolation. In 2001, after the filing of the lawsuit, the jail says they amended the policy so that the prisoners in isolation now receive a paper gown.

Continue reading “Ask Sally, Dick or Jane the value of their privacy and what personal boundaries mean”

Learning how to honor the truth by being taught how G. W. never told a lie

First off. Despite the fact I was over at Stone Bridge lamenting the fact I used to love movies and how I hate Hollywood movies and how most have no substance, I got all way too excited when I came upon Arvin Hill’s Carnival of Horrors and his profile giving him as liking “Shakes the Clown”. Sure I was enjoying the posts too and saying “yes, hmmm, yes” but I’m hopeless because Monday night if I was going to get excited about anything it was going to be about “Shakes the Clown”. Which no one I know likes. That had me feeling so good I had to go over to Ratsboy Anvil and confess how a real event had melded with fiction in my mind about a bass guitarist’s confrontation with electrical forces, and so I set that right. I’m a sucker for road stories.

Now I’m feelin’ been-to-the-river righteous and that’s bad because I’m bound to wake up in the morning regretting I got all public and confessional.

Something else I (still) get a kick out of is this. THE STEALTH CURRICULUM! I ranted about it back on 14 April 2004 on my son’s blog which was more-or-less a private blog recording some of his favorite internet sites that we come across doing our loose, eclectic homeschooling.

The Stealth Curriculum, by Sandra Stotsky

Put out by the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation, listed on their website on 4/13/2004, the PR is/was:

Widely-used instructional materials that teachers rely upon to supplement their textbooks and their own knowledge may be dangerous to children’s educational health. The creators of such materials (and “professional development” programs for teachers) often inject bias and political manipulation into the minds of teachers and, subsequently, their students. The latest Thomas B. Fordham Foundation study, The Stealth Curriculum: Manipulating America’s History Teachers, casts wary light on resources that teachers frequently use but that seldom come under public or expert scrutiny.

The Stealth Curriculum was authored by Sandra Stotsky, veteran education analyst, scholar and former senior associate commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Education. It takes a close look at some prominent supplemental materials and workshops in the social-studies field.

Published by all manner of organizations and interest groups, these materials mislead teachers, distort the curriculum, and deflect classroom attention from the content that students should be learning. Worse, such materials are reinforced by a network of teacher workshops that focus more on propagating political and social ideas than imparting actual historical knowledge. At best, these materials offer a one-sided biased view of complex issues. In many cases, they go farther, omitting events that paint an interest group in a negative light or fabricating facts altogether.

“Under the guise of heightening teachers’ and students’ awareness of previously marginalized groups, they manipulate teachers (and, thus, their pupils) to view the history of freedom as the history of oppression and to be more sympathetic to cultures that don’t value individual rights than to those that do,” says Fordham President Chester E. Finn, Jr. in the report’s foreword.

This stealth curriculum tends to fly under the radar of historians and other experts as the sheer amount of materials makes any sort of tracking and reviewing process next to impossible. Little is known about the direct effects of these materials on teachers and their students because of the lack of research on them…

The “Stealth Curriculum” book has been out there a year now, but it’s interesting (to me at least) how I came by it.

Only natural for the Bush admnistration to want to correct a ‘liberal bias’ in American education by giving grants to groups that share its philosophy

It was via an Alfie Kohn article noting that the Bush administration has funneled more than $75 million in taxpayer funds to (educational) pro-voucher groups and miscellaneous for-profit entities. Among them is William Bennett’s latest gamble, known as K12 — a company specializing in on-line education for homeschoolers. (Finn sits on the board of directors). “Standards” plus “freedom” may eventually add up to considerable revenue, then. In the meantime, the Department of Education is happy to ease the transition: A school choice pilot program in Arkansas received $11.5 million to buy a curriculum from Bennett’s outfit, and a virtual charter school in Pennsylvania affiliated with K12 got $2.5 million. Continuing, Lisa Graham Keegan (a former Arizona school superintendent, now Education Leaders Council exec director, on favoritism exhibited in the grants said it was
“only natural for the Bush admnistration to want to correct a ‘liberal bias’ in American education by giving grants to groups that share its philosophy.”

K12 offers homeschooling curriculum and the “Virtual Academy”. Homeschooling through K12 will cost you about $1600 a year. Expensive by some standards and cheap by others. They don’t give a good overview (what publisher really does) of materials so who knows what’s on the plate, and what little they do show as samples still doesn’t give you much of an idea, except I think hmmm that was a lot of hooplah and pages to go through for not much info on a topic and much more complex navigationally than it needs to be (the kind of thing that made me wonder if the complexity was supposed to make you feel you were getting more than you were). But for people who want to homeschool it offers an attractive deal of not homeschooling by doing a virtual school at home through the academy as part of the public school system (if you live in a state where it’s currently offered), curriculum for free, computer for free, free supplemental materials not included in the homeschool package, state assessment tests (some districts require homeschoolers test at different grade levels and it costs money to do the tests), a virtual academy community and access to a certified teacher, plus internet reimbursement program. They offer grade and middle school and will eventually offer high school.

Imagine some of the grant money received has gone into the free K12 “Patriotism lesson” offered. And there’s the K12 “Virtues” program for which you can shell out $79.95 if so inclined. The Virtues program “provides a range of tools to support your family’s moral education. With books, videos, and fun worksheets, the program introduces your student to” our common culture, shared ideals, and cherished values.”

I was very curious of course what those shared ideals and cherished values are, not to mention what they offer as the common culture.

Before taking a look at K12’s Patriotism Program, here’s some more info on William J. Bennett. He is the founder of Americans for Victory over Terrorism (information on AVOT at Disinfopedia); founder of Empower America (America needs more power?); Founding member of Project for the New American Century ( Truthout’s William Rivers Pitt on the PNAC click here); an Advisor for the “Center for Security Policy”. He was G. W. Bush’s speech writer and editor in 1999. The Secretary of Education from 1985 to 1988. Chairman of the National Endowment of the Humanities from 1981 to 1985.

Media Transparency gives William J. Bennett, Distinguished Fellow at the Heritage Foundation, as a prime mover of the new right wing movement. He once said of Rush Limbaugh that he was a symbol of encouragement. “Adventures from the Book of Virtues”, based on William Bennett’s “The Book of Virtues”, airs on PBS. A friend of mine, who would have no idea as to its origin, sent H.o.p. a tape. I have never been able to sit through five minutes of it. If my friend knew it was based on William Bennett’s book she’d be mortified that H.o.p. might have watched a moment of the tape.

Teaching Patriotism the K-12 way

Gaining entrance to the K12 Patriotism Lesson requires you give name and phone number, whereas usually at sites one must give a name and email address.

Once in, the eye is greeted with,

Now, more than ever, we’re focused on America — on what makes this nation great, what unites us all, and why we enjoy the freedoms we have today. In the spirit of patriotism, we invite you to teach your child more about this beautiful land that stretches “from sea to shining sea,” the daring of early explorers and settlers, the wisdom of our Founding Fathers, and our enduring commitment to “let freedom ring.”

Looks like the NDN community is already out of luck. Lesson plans include an ultra basic account of a spotless Christopher Columbus. Included is a song you sing (to the tune of “Clementine”) about Columbus, the last of three verses being “Oh, Columbus, Oh, Columbus, Was so brave and wise and true, He sailed from Spain to the Americas, In fourteen ninety-two.”

Right. Brave, wise and true promoted the West Indies with its super cheap labor (lots of NDNs). Millions were dead in a short few decades. The cruelties were a stunning piece of barbarism. “Lies My Teacher Told me” explores the Columbus myth in depth, reporting,

“…Having as yet found no fields of gold, Columbus had to return some kind of dividend to Spain. In 1495 the Spanish on Haiti initiated the great slave trade…Columbus was excited. “In the name of the Holy Trinity, we can send from here all the slaves and brazil-wood which could be sold,” he wrote to Ferdinand and Isabella in 1496…

In the words of Hans Koning, “There now began a reign of terror in Hispaniola.” Spaniards hunted Indians for sport and murdered them for dog food. Columbus, upset because he could not locate the gold he was certain was on the island, set up a tribute system.

Ferdinand Columbus described how it worked:

[The Indians} all promised to pay tribute to the Catholic Sovereigns every three months, as follows: In the Cibao, where the gold mines were, every person of 14 years of age or upward was to pay a large hawk’s bell of gold dust; all others were each to pay 25 pounds of cotton. Whenever an Indian delivered his tribute, he was to receive a brass or copper token which he must wear about his neck as proof that he had made his payment. Any Indian found without such a token was to be punished.”

With a fresh token, an Indian was safe for three months, much of which time could be devoted to collecting more gold. Columbus’s son neglected to mention how the Spanish punished those whose tokens had expired: they cut off their hands.

Pre-Columbus there were an estimated 8,000,000 Indians in Haiti. By 1496 a census, not counting children under 14 or those who had escaped, came up with 1,100,000. By 1516, “thanks to the sinister Indian slave trade and labor policies initiated by Columbus, only some 12,000 remained.” It was after 1516 that the Black Plague struck the Indians in Haiti. By 1542 there were 200 left. By 1555, they were all gone.

The numbers of Indians on Haiti withered, the slave trade moved on to the Bahamas. The Spanish historian, Peter Martyr, wrote in 1516 that a ship needed no compass from the Bahamas to Hispaniola, as one could follow on the ocean the dead bodies of Indians who had been thrown from ships into which they’d been densely packed.

And still, can you beat this, by Jefferson’s time the Spanish were getting apologetic and outlawing NDN slavery and a number of NDN nations would have taken the Spanish any day over the Americans by then.

They are handsome. They do not have weapons.

K12 only notes, on Columbus’ relationship with the Indians, that he wrote “They are handsome. They do not have weapons.” K12 says these words show Columbus had found people who were gentle and kind. It’s not noted that Columbus wrote about their not having weapons in relationship to their inability to defend themselves against the weaponry of the Spanish. And of course doesn’t note that he enthusiastically wrote about Haiti being a prodigious resource for all the slaves that could be wanted.

Another part of the Patriotism lesson is “The Pilgrim’s First Thanksgiving”. They lead one to believe that Squanto visited from a neighboring tribe when in fact Squanto had been stolen as a child and taken to England (for which reason he knew English) and was also sold into slavery. Returning to America, Squanto found his tribe wiped out by the plague and he the sole survivor. Indeed, many of the first settlers moved directly into villages left by NDNs killed by disease and were able to take advantage of their crops, and not having to clear the land. A record from the so-called Pilgrim’s second day gives brief testimony to this:

We marched to the place we called Cornhill, where we had found the corn before. At another place we had seen before, we dug and found some more corn, two or three baskets full, and a bag of beans. ..In all we had about ten bushels, which will be enough for seed. It was with God’s help that we found this corn, for how else could we have done it, without meeting some Indians who might trouble us. …The next morning, we found a place like a grave. We decided to dig it up. We found first a mat, and under that a fine bow…We also found bowls, trays, dishes, and things like that. We took several of the prettiest things to carry away with us, and covered the body up again.

There are some NDNs of course who have a problem with this, with the desecration of burials and the thieving of burial goods.

Anyway good Squanto helped the pilgrims survive (he had no home) and then the pilgrims invite the Wampanoag to a feast, the First Thanksgiving (Thanksgiving didn’t exist until 1863). Oh joy. And you know how the story goes, the Indians and Pilgrims lived happily beside each other ever after. This is attested to by the number of Indians still residing in the East.

Exploring geography of the U.S., you get to clap and chant, “Atlantic to the East, Pacific to the West, U.S.A. is in between, That’s the country I like best!”

Got rhythm, don’t it? And is almost tearily poetic. There’s a folk song wandering around in there somewhere if you nudge around the lyrics a little. Maybe add some majestic purple mountains.

Other short subjects include The American Revolution, Betsy Ross and the First American Flag, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Statue of Liberty, Immigrants to America, and Rosa Parks and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (Nothing about NDNs.)

The majority of historians regard the Betsy Ross story as a myth but K12 presents it as true, making prominent mention that Betsy was a widow but had no time to think about feeling sorry for herself, she was just going to continue sewing to put food on the table. I reason that was put in there for children of single mothers on welfare, though what they would be doing schooled at home I don’t know as who is there to take care of them when moms are out working minimum-wage jobs in order to earn their welfare check.

George Washington being unable to tell a lie (the cherry tree story) as a lesson in telling the truth

One of the two stories given in the Patriotism lesson about George Washington is that of his chopping down the cherry tree and that when his father inquired who had done this, G.W. said that he couldn’t tell a lie and that he did do it. A myth. A story invented by an early biographer and is even given as myth on the Mount Vernon website. But K12 presents it as truth. And the question and answer session? The child is asked why was George’s father proud of George. And the answer is, “Because George told the truth.”

Ten great patriotic places are given as a must visit. Included on the roster is Mount Rushmore. It’s not mentioned that Mount Rushmore was blasted out of the Black Hills by KKK member Gutzon Borglum who also initially worked on Stone Mountain, and that the Black Hills, sacred land promised by treaty to NDN peoples, was within a short few years after those treaties taken back with the discovery of gold. Not a single treaty made by the NDNs with the U.S. was honored.

Included in the Patriotism lesson is then a prominent link to the Fordham Foundation “September 11: What your children need to know.” What do the children need to know?

In April 2004 at the top of the page was the sinister Stealth cover. Behind falls from the sky a litter of papers that I can only take as meant to recall the papers from the Twin Towers that fell on New York on 9/11.

The Stealth Curriculum begins with a flurry of indignant rage that supplementary resource books, “Holocaust and Human Behavior” and “Race and Membership in American History: The Eugenics Movement” make comparisons between white racism in American and Germany, and suggest a link between the American Eugenics Movement and Hitler’s Final Solution. The argument is the materials obliterate the distinction between bigotry and genocide, seeking to reduce the moral status of the United States to that of Nazi Germany.

Well, sorry, but the U.S. did influence the genocide in Europe. Hitler is known to have studied Andrew Jackson’s removal of the Indians to reservations.

I once read through the entire thing. The below excerpt pretty well covers it (except for the furious dramatics over teaching pre 16th century Islam history and the fury over the delving into American eugenics which some connect with the interest in German eugenics i.e. Hitler).

The traditional history curriculum has been criticized for decades for dwelling on political, military, and constitutional history, highlighting only ‘important men,’ and ignoring the daily lives of ordinary people, women and others who did not loom large in political, military and constitutional affairs. Anthropological approaches in curriculum materials address this criticism. However, in doing so, they expand the curriculum to include topics with which most teachers have no familiarity–and which ususually have little or no relevance to the evolution of democratic institutions and individual freedoms. One example in many elementary and middle school curricula is a comparison of River Valley Civilizations…The daily lives and dates of the many Native American tribes have been perhaps the greatest beneficiary of this socio-cultural approach, which now occupies much instructional time. With it, however, comes a strongly negative view of the Europeans who explored and colonized America. Supplemental resources now guide teachers to downplay or ignore altogether what students should be learning about the origins and development of our civic culture.

The critical sentence is “they expand the curriculum to include topics with which most teachers have no familiarity–and which ususually have little or no relevance to the evolution of democratic institutions and individual freedoms. “ The view imparted is that anyone that was crunched by America’s Democratic Evolution Machine needn’t be a concern.

Stotsky doesn’t like it that the Plymouth Pilgrims are portrayed as weak in their reliance on the Wampanoag for the first “Thanksgiving”.

The Stealth Curriculum says one can’t judge the past by today’s standards. Says all this does is rouse affect (was that the phrase used) but does nothing for building the mind. Oh, yes, the phrase used was “affect-forming but intellectually empty assignments”. That teachers teach these things shows they aren’t schooled in history and need to be appropriately re-educated.

Guess the students need instead to be taught that G.W. chopping down the cherry tree is true, and that he always spoke the truth. If this is what passes for history or social studies in the K12 curriculum you’ve gotta wonder what else is taught if setting forth as true a known myth, expecting children to believe it (and thus believe for the rest of their lives for those who never question) is conceived of as sharpening and building a discerning intellect.

We recognize Margaret Spellings is a sensitive issue and we wanted to make sure that parents had an opportunity to introduce this subject to their children in their own time

Settle down to watch “George Shrinks” on WPBA with H.o.p. and there it is, a brand new commercial, swear it is (though I could be wrong) which gets down to business with big white script on the screen informing 84% of you see Public Broadcasting as a Safe Haven for your child. They may as well have substituted with footage of Department of Education’s Margaret Spellings, PBS and the Coalition of Vigilante Mom and Pop Justices clubbing poor Buster Rabbit bloody senseless for getting into the maple sugar patch. What’s disturbing is I doubt the message was concocted to reassure people like me that PBS is only doing what the majority wants. Instead the message is crafted for those who have already won, a scramble to beg their pleasure, frothing desperate, a pandering declaration of submission to Bush’s All-Consuming Mandate.

Disgusted, I go check email and find that WPBA has finally gotten around to responding to my protest on their not airing Buster’s Vermont adventure.

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