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Article posted Nov 02 2010, 10:32 PM Category: Big Brother/Orwellian Source: Techdirt Print

Virginia High School Says Barring Students From Doing Outside Research Helps Them 'Think For Themselves'

by Mike Masnick

A few folks have sent over this bizarre and slightly scary story of the the Westfield High School in Fairfax Virginia, which recently sent home a notice of "Expectations of Integrity" for the school's Advanced Placement (AP) World History class, which admonished students not to do any outside research at all:
"You are only allowed to use your OWN knowledge, your OWN class notes, class handouts, your OWN class homework, or The Earth and Its Peoples textbook to complete assignments and assessments UNLESS specifically informed otherwise by your instructor.''
Internet? No, not allowed. Other books? Nope. Talking to anyone? No. Not other students, friends, family, experts or even strangers. The teacher made this clear:
"You may not discuss/mention/chat/hand signal/smoke signal/Facebook/IM/text/email to a complete stranger ANY answers/ideas/questions/thoughts/opinions/hints/instructions."
The school has suggested that the letter was "a little tongue-in-cheek," though that doesn't really make sense. Yes, I'm sure the bit about the smoke signals, etc. was "tongue in cheek," but it sounds like the general sentiment remains. But, the thing is, the school's defense of the policy doesn't make much sense either:
"The idea was to think for yourself," he said, "rather than to pick up something from somewhere else and parrot it back."
Huh? If you want people to "think for themselves" and not "parrot back" what they picked up from somewhere else, I can't think of any better way than encouraging students to find multiple sources and multiple viewpoints (including differing viewpoints) so that they learn to think through things from multiple perspectives, which really pushes people to "think for themselves" by weighing the different bits of information to decide what's credible and what's not. By requiring just a single resource, none of that happens.





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Comments 1 - 6 of 6 Add Comment Page 1 of 1
Anonymous

Posted: Nov 03 2010, 1:00 AM

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20289 You're missing the point here.

By insisting that the students only use the single source to encourage them to "think for themselves" the system is ensuring that the students think for themselves the way the system wants them to!
Anonymous

Posted: Nov 03 2010, 12:40 PM

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216228 O baloney! If you only use ONE source, you are going to "think' the way that SOURCE wants you to think. DUHHHHHHH. Evidently, anonymous above is a product of the system. If I were one of those students I would tell that teacher that I will use the Bible as my "one" source. Bet that would go over REAL big with these benevolent, government employed "encouragers".

"The ruling class has the schools and press under its thumb. This enables it to sway the emotions of the masses." Albert Einstein

Anonymous

Posted: Nov 03 2010, 12:43 PM

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216228 "Education is useless without the Bible."Noah Webster

"If we abide by the principles taught in the Bible, our country will go on prospering and to prosper; but if we and our posterity neglect its instruction and authority, no man can tell how sudden a catastrophe may overwhelm us and bury all our glory in profound obscurity." Daniel Webster

"Those people who will not be governed by God will be ruled by tyrants."William Penn
EndtheFED&IMF

Posted: Nov 03 2010, 2:58 PM

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7616 Anonymous 216228 I suggest you reread Anonymous 20289. You are saying the same thing. You need to read the whole post slowly, stop making snap judgements.
Anonymous

Posted: Nov 03 2010, 3:19 PM

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67253 THE BIBLE IS A TOOL OF THE OPPRESSOR A BOOK OF EVIL READ IT. SELL YOUR CHILDREN INTO SLAVERY,IS A GOOD THING ACCORDING TO THE BIBLE. DELUSIONAL HUMANS HAVE BELIEF SYSTEMS, DELUSIONAL HUMANS HAVE FAITH SYSTEMS. OUR PLANET IS IN A STATE OF DECLINE BECAUSE OF DELUSIONAL THINKING. WE MUST CHANGE AND ADOPT A SYSTEM OF TRUTH. A SYSTEM THAT TEACHES TRUTH. FAITH ISNT TRUTH, BELIEF ISNT TRUTH. UNTILL WE TEACH OUR CHILDREN THE VALUE OF PEACE,THE VALUE OF COMPASSION, THE VALUE OF LOVE, THE VALUE OF NOT MURDERING OUR FELLOW HUMANS. ALL WILL BE LOST UNTILL WE MAKE THIS ONE CHANGE!~!!!
TerraHertz

Posted: Nov 03 2010, 5:36 PM

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122106 I don't suppose this 'World History' class happens to have a strong emphasis on one particular 'Peoples', and their alleged persecution during WWII?

That would certainly explain the insistence to not read or research anything, other than the set text. Because otherwise the students might get contaminated with certain forbidden doubts. Possibly, they might even start to question the nature of Things As They Are.

The ultimate horror would be if they connect enough 'outside information' dots, and realize they are enslaved by this false 'World History.'
Comments 1 - 6 of 6 Page 1 of 1


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