For the young, it’s normal to be weird

Half of under-30s think they’re “weird,” reports YouGov. Sixty-three percent say weird is good.

Older Americans are much less likely to see themselves as “weird” or value weirdness. However, 78 percents of Americans of all ages think it’s better to be “a distinctive individual.” Only 11 percent believe it’s better to “fit in with the crowd.”

Equity or racism?

“White culture” includes “promoting independence, self expression, personal choice, individual thinking and achievement,” according to training required for administrators (and optional for teachers) in Oregon’s Gresham-Barlow district. A belief in upward mobility also is “white,” according to the training documents obtained by a school board member.

The Portland-area school district spends $100,000 each year on an “educational equity” conference, reports EAG News.

“Many white people in Oregon have no idea that our schools and state are immersed in white culture and are uncomfortable and harmful to our students of color, while also reinforcing the dominant nature of white culture in our white students and families,” one of the conference documents explains.

Administrators and teachers are told to stop “blaming when students don’t meet standards” and instead start “examining our beliefs and practices when students don’t meet standards.”

One participant is quoted as praising the “journey” that led him to realize: “I am a white male racist with power and a stake in the dominant culture for that is what has allowed and given me social and financial success.”

This approach to “equity” sounds incredibly racist to me. Not to mention “harmful to students of color.”

My Little Pony vs. equality

My Little Pony is showing children the dangers of “enforced equality,” writes Brandon Morse on The Federalist.

In “The Cutie Map, Parts 1 and 2”, the main-character ponies visit a town where the smiling, ever-pleasant ponies bear a gray equal sign in place of the distinctive “cutie mark,” that shows a pony’s distinctive traits and powers.

. . . They have given up the things that make them unique, because uniqueness causes animosity between ponies, and thus discord. The main characters meet the leader of the town, Starlight Glimmer, who soon takes them all up to a cave that holds all the cutie marks of the village inhabitants.

Springing a trap, Starlight Glimmer steals the cutie marks from the main characters, replacing their marks with the black equal sign. The main characters are quickly thrown in jail until they have properly resocialized into the correct kind of thinking.

The hero ponies expose Starlight Glimmer as a phony who’s kept her own cutie mark.

After the leader has been exposed, the town revolts, reclaiming their cutie marks and thus their individuality. Using their reclaimed unique skills, they rescue the main characters’ marks and thus their powers, while chasing the villain into a mountain cave system, where they lose her. The show ends with the now-unique and fun-looking village having a party.

To children, this message is clear. It’s better to be yourself than to be the same as everyone else.

Morse sees the story as a blow at Marxism. It also could be seen as a stand in favor of diversity.

The Lego Movie is awesome

The Lego Movie, like its theme song, is awesome, writes Boris Zelkin on PJ Media.  It’s “a paean to individual liberty” and creativity — and to “the value of collective effort.”

Emmet, our everyman mini-fig,  lives in a world where Everything is Awesome, even drinking overpriced coffee. Yet he discovers an underground resistance.

In this seeming utopia, people’s individuality exists within a very narrow framework; namely the instruction book. This book, a Lego instruction manual, clearly and vividly, through the use of simple pictograms, lays out out the required steps necessary to live a good and productive life as a citizen.  Deviation from the instruction booklet is illegal.

The society is presided over by President Business, a charismatic politician and owner of the only business in the Lego world. In our LegoTopia, it turns out that the corporation and the government are, in fact, one in the same.

The creative but quarrelsome “master builders” need to unite to fight for freedom. 

Core-aligned lesson: Obey government

In the rush to align curriculum to the Common Core, Pearson came up with a real doozie: A third-grade lesson tells students that “the commands of government officials must be obeyed by all,” and that “the wants of an individual are less important than the well-being of the nation,” reports EAG News, which links to MinutemenNews.
lady liberty in shock
The unit on Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War – “Hold the Flag High” – doubles as an English assignment on possessive nouns. Students are told to make sentences “less wordy by replacing the underlined words with a possessive noun phrase.”

All six sentences are about the president.

It starts: “The job of a president is not easy.”

Students are supposed to write: “The president’s job is not easy.”

Problems start with the fourth sentence: “(The president) makes sure the laws of the country are fair.”

That’s the judicial branch’s job, notes EAG News.

The president – as head of the executive branch of our government – is only charged with administering the laws passed by Congress, the legislative branch.

The Pearson Education lesson leaves students with the mistaken idea that American presidents have king-like powers, a concept our Founding Fathers would find abhorrent.

The indoctrination continues with sentence five: “The commands of government officials must be obeyed by all.”

That’s a chilling concept, one that any constitutional attorney would be quick to take issue with.

Sentence six states: “The wants of an individual are less important than the well-being of the nation.”

Perhaps Mr. Spock would agree, but a constitutional lawyer might wonder what happened to the Bill of Rights.

Abolish social studies

“Social studies” — as opposed to history, geography and civics — was invented in the Progressive era to socialize children for a future planned by technocrats, writes Michael Knox Beran in City Journal.  It’s become dull, vacuous and a waste of time.  Abolish social studies!

Social studies is hostile to individualism, Beran writes. A 1931 social studies book for junior high school students condemned the U.S. economy’s wasteful lack of central planning and extolled Stalin’s first Five-Year Plan, which “resulted in millions of deaths from famine and forced labor.”

In the 1940s, as social studies took root in elementary schools, there were no more paeans to central planning. Paul Hanna’s texts were designed to teach children  “desirable patterns of acting and reacting in democratic group living.”

A lesson in the second-grade text Susan’s Neighbors at Work, for example, which describes the work of police officers, firefighters, and other public servants, is intended to teach “concerted action” and “cooperation in obeying commands and well-thought-out plans which are for the general welfare.” A lesson in Tom and Susan, a first-grade text, about a ride in grandfather’s red car is meant to teach children to move “from absorption in self toward consideration of what is best in a group situation.” Lessons in Peter’s Family, another first-grade text, seek to inculcate the idea of “socially desirable” work and “cooperative labor.”

Hanna doesn’t acknowledge “individual exertion, liberty of action, the necessity at times of resisting the will of others,” Beran writes. It’s group, group, group all the time.

Today’s social studies books are big on group spirit.

Lessons from Scott Foresman’s second-grade textbook Social Studies: People and Places (2003) include “Living in a Neighborhood,” “We Belong to Groups,” “A Walk Through a Community,” “How a Community Changes,” “Comparing Communities,” “Services in Our Community,” “Our Country Is Part of Our World,” and “Working Together.”

“Social studies textbooks descend constantly to the vacuity of passages like this one, from People and Places” aimed at third graders, Beran writes.

 Children all around the world are busy doing the same things. They love to play games and enjoy going to school. They wish for peace. They think that adults should take good care of the Earth. How else do you think these children are like each other? How else do you think they are like you?

Beran prefers the “old learning” which awakened children to their cultural heritage. McGuffey’s Readers introduced  eight-year-olds to Wordsworth and Whittier, nine-year-olds to tShakespeare, Milton, Byron, Southey, and Bryant and  ten-year-olds to Sir Walter Scott, Dickens, Sterne, Hazlitt, Macaulay,  Pope, Longfellow, Shakespeare, and Milton.

In my younger days, I loved to read history. We didn’t study it till high school. Social studies consisted of memorizing the three principal products of every Canadian province and every country in Latin America. I also learned that Birmingham was the “Pittsburgh of Alabama” and the “Pittsburgh of England.” Malmo produces ball bearings.

French parenting? Non!

French children behave well in public, because parents and teachers have crushed their spirits, writes Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry in The Atlantic.

Now that I have a child, my almost monomaniacal obsession is how to protect her from French parenting and French education, which is why we are considering Montessori schools and homeschooling/unschooling rather than put her in French schools. (Let me rephrase that: I am considering setting myself on fire rather than put her in French schools.)

The way French education works, and I don’t know if I could put it in a more charitable way, is that it seeks to mercilessly beat any shred of nonconformity out of children (the beating is now done mostly psychologically) so that they may be slotted into a society that, itself, treats nonconformity the way the immune system treats foreign elements.

American parenting and education “leaves more room for children to express their individuality,”  Gobry writes.  French parenting turns out well-behaved children, but “I wouldn’t recommend it if you want healthy, happy adults.”

Study: Education doesn’t liberalize views

Highly educated whites and minorities are no more likely to support workplace affirmative action programs than are their less educated peers, according to a new study in Social Psychology Quarterly.  Education does increase support for race-targeted job training, said Geoffrey T. Wodtke, a doctoral student in sociology at the University of Michigan, who wrote the study.

“I think that some of the values that are promoted through education, such as individualism and meritocracy, are just much more consistent with opportunity-enhancing policies like job training than they are with redistributive or outcome-equalizing policies like affirmative action.”

While educated blacks and Hispanics are believed to be the most likely to benefit from affirmative action, they don’t support it.  They may feel stigmatized, speculated Wodtke.