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Article posted Dec 22 2007, 8:36 PM Category: Big Brother/Orwellian Source: Matt James Print

Little Manchurian Candidates

By Matt James

"One ring to rule them all, one ring to find them, One ring to bring them all, and in the darkness bind them."

Our six-year-old daughter was so excited to start school. At our first parent-teacher conference, Barb and I expected to hear the usual compliments and heartwarming anecdotes about our bright little angel. From our experiences with activities like T-ball and soccer, or dance and music recitals, we had learned that parents always say nice things about the children of others. If the compliments are sometimes unrealistic or excessive, well, parenting is tough work. We can all use the encouragement.

I guess we had been spoiled. Jenny's teacher got right to the point. She had some negatives to address. For one thing, Jenny was struggling with her reading. The teacher confessed that one of the most difficult parts of her job was deflating parents with the news that their children were simply not exceptional. Jenny was, at best, an average reader. She was not an Eagle; she was a Pony. Our job was to learn to enjoy her as a 40-watt bulb rather than a bright light. Was it my imagination, or did this middle-aged matron's sweet smile contain a trace of malice as she related these tidings?

I was confused by this assessment of Jenny's reading abilities because it simply didn't fit in with her prior history. She had a love affair with books for her entire childhood. We have a photograph of her at 11 months of age staring earnestly at the contents of an open book. I remember reading to her when she was three. I stopped for some reason, but she continued the narration. She knew her stories by heart. Like many other children, Jenny had learned to read at home. She was a bookworm, and she was an experienced and passionate reader before she ever started first grade.

The teacher went on to explain that Jenny cried too much at school and that we needed to correct this problem with the appropriate discipline. Barb and I exchanged glances but didn't argue. We were in shock.

I was curious about the crying. Jenny was such a happy child. I asked her that night what made her sad at school. Expecting to hear about something on the playground, I was surprised by her answer. The listening-hour stories made her sad:

Once upon a time there was a daddy duck with seven ducklings. They ranged in age down to the youngest (who reminded Jenny of a first grader). The daddy was mean. One day he demanded that all his children learn three tasks, such as running, swimming, and diving. If a duckling was unable to master all of the tasks, he would be banished from the family to live with the chickens. The youngsters struggled under the cruel eye of their father. When it came to diving, the first grader floundered and was sent away to live with the chickens.

This was the story Jenny related, in her own words, as an example. I heard it told a second time several years later, by my cousin Nancy, as a sample of objectionable curriculum. We were impressed with the coincidence, since our families resided in different states.

Jenny told me she also cried over stories in her readers. They made her sad and frustrated in some way. What a mess! In one evening we had found out that Jenny was unhappy at school, that her teacher thought she was a poor reader and a dim bulb, and that she heard mean tales during listening-hour that I wouldn't repeat to hardened convicts. What in the name of heaven was going on at this school?

I was determined to get to the bottom of things. Since they didn't send books home with students in the younger grades, I went to the school the following day and spent a couple of hours reviewing the elementary readers. As I read, my eyes opened wider and wider. I had assumed the purpose of the reading curriculum was to stimulate the juvenile imagination and teach reading skills. Instead, I saw material saturated with, to borrow another parent's language, "an unadvertised agenda promoting parental alienation, loss of identity and self-confidence, group-dependence, passivity, and anti-intellectualism."

I once daydreamed through a basic psychology class in medical school which described the work of Pavlov and B.F Skinner in the twentieth century. Their conclusions were that animal (and human) behaviors can be encouraged or discouraged by associating them with pleasure or pain. This is such an obvious fact of nature. It is amazing that anyone would bother to prove it with experimentation, as if the carrot and the stick haven't been used since time began.

In behaviorist experiments various stimuli, such as food or electrical shocks, were used as rewards or deterrents. Over time, due to animal memory, a pattern of behavior could be established without food or shocks coming into play. This educational or training process is called "conditioning." With enough conditioning, the dog will stop chasing cars.

As I read the stories and poems in Jenny's readers, I was astonished to discover that they were alive, in their own way, with the theories and practices of these dead scientists. But the animals to be trained weren't dogs or rats. They were our young students. Pleasure and pain signals were embedded into the reading material in a consistent way. Given the vicarious nature of the reading experience, and by identifying with the protagonists in the stories, it was our first graders who were "learning" certain attitudes and behaviors.

When a child-figure in the stories split away from his group, for example, he would get rained on, his toes would get cold in the snow, or he would experience some other form of discomfort or torment. Similar material was repeated ad infinitum. Through their reading, our students would feel the stinging rain and the pain of freezing toes. They would learn the lesson like one of Pavlov's dogs: avoid the pain, stay with the group.

The stories in the readers consistently associated individual initiative with emotional or physical pain. Consider the example of the little squirrel whose wheel falls off his wagon. When he tries to replace it, the wagon rides with an awkward and embarrassing bump, noticeable to his friends, who then tease him about it. Another attempt to repair the wheel results in an accident, with bruising and bleeding and more humiliation. The cumulative effect of this and similar story lines, given the vicarious nature of the reading experience, would be to discourage initiative and reduce self-confidence in the first grader.

Animal dads, moms, and grandparents were portrayed over and over in various combinations as mean, stupid, unreliable, bungling, impotent or incompetent. Relationships with their children were almost always dysfunctional; communication and reciprocal trust were non-existent. A toxic mom or dad, for instance, might have stepped in to help our youthful squirrel repair his wagon, only to make matters worse and wreak emotional havoc in the process. Jenny's heart would be lacerated by stories which constantly portrayed parent/child relationships as strained, cruel, or distant. I could see her crying with hurt or frustration.

It occurred to me that over the long run, at some level of consciousness, our daughter would have to hold us accountable for permitting her to be tortured in school. Logically, Barb and I had to be stupid, unreliable, uncaring, or impotent, just like the parents in the books. By sending her to school, we were validating the message in her readers, contributing significantly to the parental alienation curriculum. Continuing in her school-based reading series, Jenny's relationship with us would have become tarnished or eroded, and an element of bitterness or cynicism might have crept into her personality.

I borrow the term "anti-intellectualism" to describe another dominant theme in the readers. Many of the compositions were, essentially, word salad. They lacked intrinsic interest, coherence, or continuity, and they often demonstrated a sort of anti-rationality. The stories and the corresponding questions seemed to require the student to suspend the natural operations of his intellect, such as the desire to make sense out of things or the impulse to be curious. Under this yoke, a student could learn to hate reading or even thought itself.

The following "story" and "comprehension" questions are representative of the anti-intellectualism that I found in the readers:

Once upon a time there was a little green mouse who hopped after a tiger onto a yellow airplane. The plane turned into a big red bird in flight, and the mouse turned into a blue pumpkin. The pumpkin fell to the ground and its seeds grew into pots and pans. Blah, blah, blah

1) "What color was the mouse?"

2) "Why do mice turn into pumpkins?"

3) "How do seeds grow?"

I can see children getting frustrated over material like this. It is debatable as to which facet of the exercise is more onerous, the reading or the "comprehension." I almost incline to the latter. Among other concerns, I wonder if it is a good thing to pressure children to respond to stupid or unanswerable questions. Such a process would lead to passivity and a loss of confidence, to a little engine that couldn't.

According to Pavlov and B.F. Skinner, repetition of unpleasant reading experiences would turn a student off to the reading activity. Predictable consequences would be a child who hates reading and loses out on vast intellectual benefits and development. In addition, his reading failure would tax his self-confidence, and he could be branded with one of society's popular labels such as dyslexia.

I considered Jenny's reading struggles in the context of performance expectations as well as grading and comparisons with other children. It seemed as if she faced a nasty dilemma: force herself to read alienating material, or disengage and then disappoint parents, teachers and self. What an impossible predicament for a young child. Once sunny and blue, the skies had turned dark and stormy for our happy little girl whose only offense had been to attend her friendly neighborhood school at the innocent age of six.

It has occurred to me that the cause of America's illiteracy crisis has been discovered. It is the reading curriculum in our schools. Unfortunately, the damage to children appears to extend way beyond reading failure. One wonders if the hidden agenda in the readers has created our victim culture, a generation of withdrawn and resentful children, alienated from themselves, their parents, society, books and ideas.

I was reminded of the plight of our neighbors. The father and mother were loving, dedicated parents. He was an accountant and she was a homemaker and community leader. They were nice people, and so were their children. The two teenagers were bright but got poor grades and hated school. They hung out with the crowd and participated in the kind of self-destructive behaviors that are commonplace today. I asked these young people why they would behave in ways which would cause pain for themselves or their loved ones. They smiled quizzically and professed not to know. Maybe the ideas that moved them truly were subconscious.

We are all familiar with kids like this (Our own kids are kids like this, or they come too close for comfort). They spend a lot of time "doing nothing" with like-minded friends. Passive-aggressive with suppressed individuality, they all seem cut from the same mold. Self mutilation with tattoos and body armor is almost universal. Some of their groups are virtually masochistic cults. Sadism is the other side of the masochism coin.

That so many of these dysfunctional teenagers come from loving homes and neat families is inexplicable and shocking, until you realize that they have all been tortured together in school since the first grade. They are a batch of little Manchurian Candidates with attitude, victims of the obscure behaviorism that I found, and that others have found before and since, in school readers.

Barb and I had seen some perplexing changes in Jenny's reading since she started in first grade. For one thing, she had stopped reading her favorite books and stories at home. Before starting school, she had feasted on Grimm's Fairy Tales. Although she still begged us to read these to her, she now explained that she was not supposed to read them herself, according to her understanding from her teacher, because they contained big words and content in advance of her abilities. Barb and I, holding our tongues, exchanged tortured grimaces and cross-eyed glances.

When reviewing the school readers, I had noticed an impoverished vocabulary, composed mostly of three and four letter words. I brought this up with the teacher. She explained that the readers were integrated into a district policy that no more than five hundred new words be introduced to students during any grade level. The idea was to protect children from the dizzying and confusing effects of an overabundance of words and ideas. I nodded as if I understood, but I didn't really get it.

Barb and I had clearly used the wrong approach with Jenny. We had allowed her to read anything she wanted and had provided her with a flourishing home library. Furthermore, we had encouraged her to run around in the grassy meadows and on the sandy beaches. She must have collided with great numbers of unfamiliar words and ideas, as well as a perilous diversity of flowers and sea shells. It's a wonder she survived at all.

We considered the various elements of Jenny's brief experience in first grade. She had a clueless teacher. She was regressing in her reading skills, vocabulary, and enthusiasm. She was being indoctrinated with character destroying qualities like passivity and group dependence. Her intellectual development was being stunted and she was being bombarded with a curriculum of parental alienation.

Judging by her crying in the classroom, she was part of a captive audience being repeatedly exposed to painful stimuli. To put it plainly, she was the victim of ongoing torture and cruelty. Along with her classmates, she was becoming, as one of her school poems pointed out, "Small, small, small, just a tiny, tiny, tiny piece of it all."


In our state at that time, compulsory education began at the age of eight. Jenny was not obliged by law to attend school. With our various concerns, we pulled her out of school while we tried to figure out what to do.

Related: The Seven-Lesson Schoolteacher - By John Taylor Gatto, New York State Teacher of the Year, 1991

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Comments 1 - 20 of 25 Add Comment Page of 2 >

Posted: Dec 23 2007, 12:22 AM

208101 This was a wonderful read. thank you.

Posted: Dec 23 2007, 4:15 AM

Thanks Matt James for the great article. The described dumbing- down process has been going on for quite a few years. It shows too in that many of the young people that I interface in stores can't even add a column of figures of make change if there's a need to do so. If their hand calculator is out of order many times they will push the invoice my way and say, "Mr., could you please add this up for me"...I'm not joking either. I've already figured the amount upside down with the added sales tax while they laboriously sweat bullets pounding on their calculator. As they say "go figure" as to why this is so ...?! I also understand the dropout rate in American public high schools is mind-boggling. Even many of the teachers are sub-standard and challenged not much differently than the students.

At 62 , I came from an entirely different school system. We surely didn't read little mouse, blue pumpkins, or seeds that morphed into pots and pans stories...duh! :))

I remember when the Russians launched Sputnik in the 50's, which virtually sent a torpedo into the heart of the American school system. Everyone was scrambling as to why our American based science curriculum was so lacking. In "Life Magazine" they showed "sixth grade" kids in Russia standing at a chalkboard doing advanced algebra, spherical trig, and the equivalent of our high school youngsters defending celestial mechanics problems on the board. No simpish multiple choice games for them, not then, not now...! :|

While we as a nation are still foolishly fighting the concept of teaching two languages in our schools, the rest of the worlds children not only speak two languages fluently, but some cases three or four.

America has indeed become dumbed down and is nothing but a nation of feedlot consumers. Our balance of trade deficit now pushing one trillion attests to the fact.

We have become like the Eloi in H.G. Wells, "The Time Machine", a nation of weak, shallow-thoughted, inbred weaklings while the rest of the world; ie., the hungry producers like the Chinese and the Indians are the Morlocks, the underground race who keep the Eloi well fed with goods and services, soft and plump, and soon to be devoured as a nation. America is soon to become a footnote in history.

Our "melting pot" nation has become a "crockpot".

All I can say to parents that are witnessing this nightmare happening to their children is to consider home-schooling if you have the time and the acumen to do so or to work your butts off to send your kids to high order private schools as the wealthy do from an early age on up. You need to find schools that task these youngsters to the max and to insure they are learning meat and potatos subjects in math, literature, language, philosophy and hopefully some "ethics" along the way.

Be afraid, very afraid as to what this New World Order crowd has planned for "we the people"...! They are working feverishly to turn America into simply AmeriKa a minor plantation in their greater global plantation.

Carl Nemo **==

Posted: Dec 23 2007, 4:23 AM

[Deleted: Please do not spam the same message in multiple threads, try to keep your posts somewhat relevant to the topic at hand]

Posted: Dec 23 2007, 10:35 AM

7187 What is the moral to this story? I'm thinking of all kinds of horrifying conspiracy theories. The description of what she was being taught immediately brought to mind Fox News and other cable news and how they simplify the information we are told to sound bytes and don't even really talk about news. Is this in preparation for an adulthood free from thought about currrent events? It sounds like this goes way beyond something placid and veers into conspiracy to train people to not think, not question, not even be individuals. Is this the fault of the Department of Education or the fault of the government or the teachers unions? I can't believe this would be a call by the teachers. This has Big Brother worldview written all over it.
After all, when people choose the Army over college, it's not always because they don't have any other options. It's often by outright choice, and often when they are perfectly aware of other options like the Peace Corps, etc.
This was a fascinating article, thank you.

Posted: Dec 23 2007, 1:27 PM

757 I thought I was alone in these experiences with my own child. She was able to read, do simple math, etc before entering first grade.
Within months of starting school, she couldn't even recite the alphabet, recognize letters and lost the ability and joy to read and math became triggers for sobbing.
She has never regained the joy of reading yet won't let us donate her massive library as if it is like a toy she's keeping but doesn't play with anymore for sentimental reasons?
She stopped being interactive with us within months of starting 1st grade, seemed distant, almost seemed to have contempt for us . . . and within months of starting school actually said "YOU are NOT my teacher, you are ONLY a parent". After probing why she said such a thing, she said that the teacher told them that parents are only the parent, SHE is their teacher and parents don't know how to teach.
The dichotomy was horrific since the elementary school was deliberately creating 3-4 hours of homework claiming it was to force parents and their kids to spend more time together (suddenly they were social workers?)
while at the same time the message kids were getting from teachers is that parents had no right to interfere in their education.
The battle has raged and escalated these many years now, she's a senior in High School and the attitude not only continued, it's become blatant contempt for us as her parents whenever education is in discussion.
In any other venue we are considered idols by her she never hesitates to tell people are family is a "team" . . but as far as education, discussions of careers, culture, or intellectual conversations etc . . .we are the enemy and "stupid" because people don't need to know this or that anymore . . .that's your generation, not ours. whether it is basic math to even count money or TELL TIME for that matter.
It's been a devastating and horrific decade of nothing but battles with the school, teachers, administration and other parents can't be bothered(?) to see there's a problem so I always end up sounding like some LONE crazed banshee when trying to point these things out and told "other parents aren't complaining, maybe you should have you and your child in therapy" to shut down the discussion.
That adds to my daughter's "attitude" about her stupid parents -- they need therapy, there's nothing wrong with me.

Posted: Dec 23 2007, 1:27 PM

757 sorry, just caught some typo's . .

Posted: Dec 23 2007, 3:41 PM

These are the indoctrination centers called schools where they are determined to get the kids as young as possible and screw with their little sponge like brains soaking up everything indiscriminately replaceing the good knowledge with cruelty and dispair. Between the schools from kindergarden to college and the Television you end up with what we have today .....dumbed down social misfits ready to do what ever they are told just how the globalist like their slaves. The one's in defiance are too stupid to do anything about it so they are outcasts as well. This is how they teach the slaves from craddle to grave. Once again government proves they don't belong in our lives what-so-ever. Vaccinations, dumbing down, emotional distress, and mind fucking are the norm so what is it that will makes you mad enough to pull your kids out of these slave prepatory centers? uh? In case some parents haven't noticed they are taking your kids away from you by disassociation and lies.

Posted: Dec 23 2007, 4:38 PM

206173 So there, we have figured it out, go back to bed America, your government has figured out how it all transpired. Go back to bed America, your government is in control again. Here, here's American Gladiators. Watch this, shut up. Go back to bed America, here's American Gladiators. Here's 56 channels of it. Watch these pituitary retards bang their fuckin skulls together and congratulate you on living in the land of freedom. Here you go America, you are free... to do as we tell you. You are free, to do as we tell you."

Transcript from "I'm Bill Hicks and I'm dead now"
Nancy Lebovitz

Posted: Dec 24 2007, 5:54 AM

76161 I'm from an earlier generation--I started school in the sixties, with those Dick and Jane readers. As far as I can remember, they weren't nearly as pernicious as the books you're talking about, but they were still "stories" in which nothing happened.

I knew how to read before I started school and didn't lose my love of reading, but being exposed to a system that seemed mostly designed to teach me to endure boredom and having parents who didn't seem to think there was anything wrong with that has probably contributed to depression and inertia for me.


Posted: Dec 26 2007, 8:21 AM

I, too, remember how school was a tool of indoctrination (because you don't call it brainwashing when it's done to children). This is why my children do not go to school. I remember how conformity and obedience were rewarded, while individualism and intellectualism was punished, often violently, not just by the teachers and principle, but by the other kids as well.

But what suprises me the most about this article, is how the parents were so suprised at what was going on in their child's school? Do they not remember it themselves? I guess not, or they would never have considered sending their precious child to the government indoctrination center disguised as "education" system.

I am of Native American descent. But the history my family tried to teach me did not agree with the history I was being taught in school. guess whose story I believed? guess which history was right? there are so many examples folks can give. Bottom line is that education is intended to create a certain type of "good citizen" one who is unquestioning of authority, and unable or unwilling to think for themselves.

Posted: Dec 30 2007, 1:32 PM

209204 I would be interested in learning the titles of these books and/or the name(s) of the publishers of the "readers" containing these stories. I have been teaching for almost 10 yrs in CA elementary schools, and none of the quoted passages ring a bell.

While I agree with the author's point about many of the comprehension questions (which are truly incomprehensible), I contend that the author's generous use of hyperbole undermines his conclusions. The contention that a school's reading curriculum might be part of a "hidden agenda" creating a "society of victims" is a specious argument. The author supplies no evidence showing a causal or correlative relationship.

The author goes on to suggest that stories read in primary school are a major force in the corruption of children's personalities, creating adolescents who are "(p)assive-aggressive with suppressed individuality, they all seem cut from the same mold. Self mutilation with tattoos and body armor is almost universal. Some of their groups are virtually masochistic cults. Sadism is the other side of the masochism coin." One hopes the author was equipped with a reliable parachute before jumping to that conclusion.

The reading and language arts curriculum currently being presented in CA schools (and in most other states, since CA's and TX's respective textbook purchasing power narrows the curriculum options available elsewhere) certainly has its share of shortcomings. However, I feel we have come a long way from the days in which "whole language" was the predominant methodology. A balanced curriculum emphasizing skills-based instruction within a context of a rich collection of literature seems to be the strategy of choice today.

Many classrooms offer a multitude of "leveled readers" to students which are fine-tuned to their reading level. These readers offer the same stories regardless of difficulty level; the vocabulary and syntax are "leveled" to student ability, providing a challenging reading experience with a greater likelihood of success.

The high-stakes test-oriented NCLB legislation has restricted teachers' flexibility in their instructional strategies. To some degree, the breadth of literature available as well as rich vocabulary development have suffered from the narrow focus of NCLB. However, the conclusion that there is a "hidden agenda" to sap the joy out of reading and to develop a generation of dysfunctional "Manchurian Candidates" is baseless (and rather paranoid in my humble opinion).

Might I suggest that the author research the origins of the concept of "adolescence" and its relationship to industrialization. Why does every new adult generation perceive that it was different when they were growing up? Adolescent turmoil isn't a recent phenomena; it dates back to at least the Industrial Revolution.

"We considered the various elements of Jenny's brief experience in first grade. She had a clueless teacher. She was regressing in her reading skills, vocabulary, and enthusiasm. She was being indoctrinated with character destroying qualities like passivity and group dependence. Her intellectual development was being stunted and she was being bombarded with a curriculum of parental alienation."

OK. So, in response, you volunteered in her classroom? You met with the principal? You joined the PTA? You attended school board meetings? You contacted a private educational advocate? You requested a transfer?

There is plenty of blame to go around for the faltering achievement of our children and youth. Dropping it all onto one target is a convenient way to avoid your share of the responsibility. Education will improve when we demand it, when we contribute to it, when we work together for it.

Posted: Jan 09 2008, 10:19 AM

66175 I believe this article describes the environment in which the final outcome is an emo kid. The recent rise and popularity of emo needs to be investigated. What thing(s) do all these different emo kids have in common? It is their schooling experience and their response/reaction to it?

Posted: Jan 13 2008, 1:28 AM

60234 " Don't mend Rend" Orwell. What was played over and over again to the embryos. It means Don't repair it, render it useless and buy another.

Posted: Jan 17 2008, 6:23 PM

205188 Here in Minnesota schools are supposed to be excellent, people smart and bright, and everyone healthy and happy. Not always so. NCLB is from NCS Pearson(now Pearson Plc.) which benefits the largest testing etc. company in the USA. Sandy Kress the co-author was GW Bush's buddy from Texas and is the paid lobbyist for the testing company. He works for Akin&Gump the most powerful law and lobbying firm in the west which also had a lot to do with Bush/Cheney being "appointed in 2000. If you trace programs back from Bush, a lot of them benefit clients of Akin&Gump and a few others. As to the kids and schools here? More than half the tax money goes for social workers, prisons, jails, police, not schools or libraries. In fact they've been closing libraries for lack of funding but get more money for police. It's a weird place if your from another area, and people here seem almost scared to step out of line, think independently, or even talk about anything but approved subjects. It's still the bible belt, Lutheran, and Germanic and you'll be arrested if your grass is not kept perfect. Of course they say the kids get the best test scores, they have the testing company. Unfortunately the company made a mistake and wrongly flunked kids and has made numerous mistakes nationwide too. Very hard to fight. I had one professor write and tell me their test had a bad algorythm which wrongly flunked her students at her University. When she figured it out they threatened her rather than fix it. (she felt afraid for her life.) This is a BIG business and a lot of money. People here like to all do "groupthink" and pat themselves on the back a lot like everything is OK. Sometimes it's not, and a lot of times it's just their cheapness and strict rightwing Christian atitudes that make them good little order followers. Not everyone is that way and a lot of "liberals" were around before but they seem to be on the defensive lately. When your paycheck comes from Lockheed Martin, Pearson, United Health Group, etc. you tow the company line and if you don't the 24/7 video survellience captures your transgressions for management action. Yes they have a lot of "emo" kids here and the schools can be oppressive and mind numbing. I guesss it's too get them prepared and programmed for their mindless corporate cubicule futures. You have to talk to teachers and take an active role or your kid gets the shaft.
(NCS bought by Pearson Plc. was a politically connected company with a Government "Solutions" division in Arlington, Va. They processed INS, defense, IRS, medicare, etc. and after 911 were the first company to get a TSA contract from Bush. CNN and other media reported that the 103 million dollar contract was billed nine months later for 742 million. When they were called in to Congress along with Halliburton and Bechtel to explain their billing they couldn't at least in public. The Government Solutions division was sold to Veritas Capital after the Democrats won the November election.(They'd been caught and exposed) They still retain a minority interest. They also have done elections, consumer surveys, psychological profiling, security profiling, and have a whole building full of psychologists to analyse and profile you. Still haven't figured out what exactly "normal" means to them.(I no longer work there.) By the way the suicide rate here is quite high.(could also be related to the climate) It's Brave New World out here.

Posted: Jan 25 2008, 12:58 AM

2471 Ever since I can remember my mother was always so vigilant when it came to my spelling. She would go over my homework, point out mistakes, gave me a dictionary and made me correct it. I made it a point that my spelling didnít matter because my teachers never corrected it. Obviously my mother thought that was ridiculous. She went to my teachers and asked why they were not encouraging proper spelling. Their reply was that computers have spell check, therefore it was not necessary for the children to learn how to spell properly. My mother stated that if children can not spell how are supposed to read? She never did get an answer.
Citizen xxx-xx-xxxx

Posted: Feb 23 2008, 3:02 PM

2410 As a father myself (8&15yrs old) I have witnessed the effort to dumb-down/program our culture through the children for the purpose of ultimate control. However, I believe the effort started several generations prior, leading us (the world community) to the place we are now. I submit that the concept received full backing in the Reagan administration (G. Bush Sr. Ė VP) through the anti-drug propaganda campaign, where children were asked to inform on their parentís activities. This was a highly successful program that demonstrated the ability to infiltrate the family unit and society.

Realizing the threat to our childrenís future, my wife and I have taken the stance (since birth) that we must extricate our children's mind from the grip of the 'controllers'. To do this, we have reinforced uniqueness, creativity, individuality and the need to question everything from birth. We have also reinforced our relationship with our children with the understanding that family is the most important relationship.

To those that through around the term "conspiracy": I submit that you not turn to media for your opinion/information, rather for reconciliation of the facts. It is clear that those appealing to the talking points are the programmed minions of today.

Let us not repeat the faults that lay within our past history. Those of us that choose to be truly free are 'the main stream'.

Posted: Mar 03 2008, 10:49 AM

6770 The purpose of school is to produce compliant workers and consumers. So what do you want from school? Or more specifically in this case, what do you want from school for your children?

I recently had a wonderful experience with my daughters principal. Both my kids had 'accidents' which lead to my discovering that the school had a policy that stated the children were allowed to use the restrooms only during their predefined restroom times. The school was clamping down and enforcing compliance even when it came to biological functions.

I say it was a great experience because it provided me with a wonderful opportunity to show my kids that it is our responsibility to thwart and subvert unreasonable authority. So I went to the school and presented this concept to the principal. Together we came up with an escalation method for dealing with authority.

1) respectfully request permission (can I go to the bathroom please, NO.)
2) respectfully state justification (but I really need to go. NO)
3) ignore the authority and do what you need to do.

Kids have no problem with this. It gives them a way to rebel against authority and while they may have a problem with their teacher, as a parent it's your responsibility to support them and help them develop their own confidence in challenging unreasonable authority.
Andrew Douglas Atkin

Posted: Jun 04 2008, 5:45 PM

203184 This is really excellent. Save it on your computer, and send it to your friends. It doesn't just state some of the problems within modern institutional schooling - it *shows* them. On that level it is quite distinct, and gives tangible credibility to the assertions associated with article.
This article reminded me of my own experience of primary school - overwhelming boredom. A torture of boredom, and an intense violation to my freedom and wellbeing.

The reader might like to entertain some of own understandings and insights on the topic:

Posted: Jul 02 2008, 10:15 PM

6742 Very reminiscent of my childhood, I remember the story lines still, there in most tv shows and movies and music just much more sutler. when I joined the military was when I just couldn't accept the lies anymore I just wasn't that stupid, since then I've seen more and more to open my eyes and just as much to make me want to close them.

Posted: Jul 02 2008, 10:28 PM

6742 In thinking on this topic more I remember history texts being overly boring to the point were I felt I wasn't getting any real info just a bunch or unimportant information presented in a very boring way with out the important lessons highlighted or brought to the foreground, they were hidden behind all the unimportant info. kinda like hiding a password in a todo list or something similar.
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