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BS: Pre-Sanitised Education - listen to show

29 Apr 03 - 01:49 PM (#942903)
Subject: BS: Pre-Sanitised Education - listen to show
From: katlaughing

There are four publishing companies which dominate 75-80% of the US textbook market. One is American, one is Dutch, one is English, and the last is French owned, though the French are working on selling theirs.

Terry Gross, host of the NPR radio show Fresh Air has a very interesting show today which focuses on how the "Language Police" have effected education so much that publishers "pre-sanitise" all textbooks. I know this is not news to a lot of us, but her guest has written a book about it and, in the interview, which you can access by clicking HERE she brings up some very incredible extremes of the far left and far right and their "Bias and Sensitivity Committees" and school boards which have dictated textbooks. Here's the blurb from the website:

Diane Ravitch is the author of the new book, The Language Police: How Pressure Groups Restrict What Students Learn. In her book she chronicles the efforts of school boards and bias and sensitivity committees to edit and shape the textbooks that end up in classrooms. Some examples of this include: omitting the mention of Jews in an Isaac Bashevis Singer story about prewar Poland, changing the expression "My God!" to "You don't mean it," and recommending that children not be shown as disobedient or in conflict with adults. Ravitch writes that the process has evolved into a practice that excises "words, images, passages and ideas that no reasonable person would consider biased in the usual meaning of that form.

She talks about how the initial movement had merit until it veered off into censorship. Some of these things which have been banned include any references to fire and earthquakes lest it effect some child, somewhere, adversely and cause them not to work at their best level! Also, things such as the original versions of the Dr. Doolittle books. Apparently they've been re-written and even the NYC Public Library has the originals in a "Special collections" division.

I would urge any of you who care about education, censorship, and brainwashing to listen to this program. It is well worth it.



29 Apr 03 - 06:12 PM (#943110)
Subject: RE: BS: Pre-Sanitised Education - listen to show
From: Gavin

For UK folkies over 50 (NOT me for another 10 months!)

This reminds me of the first film I ever saw on TV in Egypt. "Goodbye Mr Chips" (OK, this was 25 years ago, in the late 70s).

It was censored!!!!!!!!

How on earth do you censor such an innocuously old-fashioned British film - it was 50 years out of date when it was made in the 50s (???).

Only by cutting out that wonderful little section where the public school boys have a sit-down strike in the play-ground to stop Mr Chips being got rid of. "Could have been an incitement to pupils" to express opinions in the Egypt of the day.

But it didn't stop the then president (Sadat) getting bumped off!

All best - Gavin

29 Apr 03 - 07:34 PM (#943161)
Subject: RE: BS: Pre-Sanitised Education - listen to show
From: smallpiper

They've got their heads up their arses. They censor books but allow easy access to guns and violent Computer games. I'm not saying that watching violence leeds to violence but I heard a story where they are using arcade games to teach soldiers in the US to shoot and kill with impunity just like in a game. I'm afraid that the US is moraly bankrupt!

29 Apr 03 - 07:43 PM (#943170)
Subject: RE: BS: Pre-Sanitised Education - listen to show
From: Alba

Scarey Stuff Kat.
Brainwashing. Shaping a Brave New World me thinks!
Sent shivers through me. I was aware that censorship was happening but NOT to this degree!
Bias and Sensitivety Commitees! My God..oops.. I mean they don't mean it do they...unfortunately it would seem they do and are getting away with it.
Include this in with the Video stores that edit Scenes from Films to make them suitable for "Family" viewing and it paints a rather alarming picture.
Thanks for the Post. Very illuminating.

29 Apr 03 - 08:02 PM (#943184)
Subject: RE: BS: Pre-Sanitised Education - listen to show
From: katlaughing

Interesting comments, folks. Thanks!

29 Apr 03 - 08:39 PM (#943199)
Subject: RE: BS: Pre-Sanitised Education - listen to show
From: Greg F.

Unfortunately, not much new- pick up a copy of Frences Fitzgerald's America Revised Boston; Little,Brown 1979. Nobody paid any attention to it then..... so here we are.

29 Apr 03 - 11:30 PM (#943262)
Subject: RE: BS: Pre-Sanitised Education - listen to show

I work in the schools. I'm a whole lot more concerned with the stultifying dullness of textbooks, not the PC quotient. What good does it do to debate what children will or will not be allowed to read, when they won't read the textbooks because...well, you wouldn't either.

29 Apr 03 - 11:45 PM (#943273)
Subject: RE: BS: Pre-Sanitised Education - listen to show
From: GUEST,ozmacca

Selective censorship of textbooks is not just happening in the US. A few (not too many!) years back, we were host parents for a number of Japanese High School children. They knew that the US had bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but not that Japan had been an aggressor in China for some years before WW2, or even that they had attacked Pearl Harbour. About half of the dozen or so kids we had, over four-five years, did not even know that they had been at war with Australia, and were surprised at TV specials being shown around ANZAC Day which showed action in PNG etc.

Just another example of modifying history to paper over the unwelcome reminders..... And it happens everywhere too - like the old textbook bias against the aboriginal culture in Oz, and the emphasis on the white civilising influence. The biggest problem is that when the corrections do finally get done, they tend to swing alarmingly far the other way!

29 Apr 03 - 11:56 PM (#943279)
Subject: RE: BS: Pre-Sanitised Education - listen to show

Modern textbooks do little to educate anyone, as they are written to show how smart the author is. not to impart knowledge to the student. The plethora of spelling and gramatical errors (rarely caught by spell checkers or proof readers) indicate that the educational system is failing to produce decent teachers.

By open discussions, and allowing students to read and comment on uncensored, original books, teachers can illustrate, and demonstrate how important it is to remember how far we have come to change our bad habits. I admire folk singers who, (when appropriate for the audience) change swear words or inappropriate verse or chorus; but usually explain (as many do here) the history and intended use of the songs. This not only stimulates group discussion, but enhances an interest in history.

PC behaviour stiffles imagination and clarity, it is an attempt impose restrictions on freedom of expression, by people who only want their version of the world imposed on us all, with or without consent of the majority.

30 Apr 03 - 12:28 AM (#943289)
Subject: RE: BS: Pre-Sanitised Education - listen to show
From: katlaughing

To the first GUEST posting, that was one of the things the author noted was that textbooks are so boring and boringly the same these days. She said a lot of them are written by committee and that some even have names of authors from so long ago that they are dead; the books are kept going with committee updates, etc. of course, it was pointed out that teachers can buy different books, but what teacher has that kind of funding?

Most children today cannot write well, from what I saw a few years ago when I graded high school English papers and when my youngest was in college. I've seen nothing, recently, to make me think it has improved at all.


30 Apr 03 - 12:37 AM (#943292)
Subject: RE: BS: Pre-Sanitised Education - listen to show
From: RangerSteve

I missed the part about Isaac Singer, and I'm shocked. He wrote about Jews, you need to know that to understand what's going on in his stories.

I was stunned by the bit about the blind mountain climber. He climbed Mt. McKinley in Alaska during an ice storm. The two reasons given for deleting this story from schools was about as bone-headed as you can get: By mentioning that this feat is unusual implies that blindness is a handicap, and that would be wrong. And the concept of an ice storm might not be grasped by students living in warm climates. It's called regional bias. I guess geography won't be taught any more, and there won't be any more talk about saving the rain forest, since those of us that don't live near the equator are too stupid to grasp the concept. And no more mention of Helen Keller.

After listening to the show, I am now ready to write a novel that would be acceptable in US schools. Ready? Here it is:

There was a group of people. They were of various races, ethnic and religious backgrounds with an equal number of non-believers. They did not have sexual preferences, since mention of sex might offend some one, so ignore this sentence as it will be censored. They all got to gether and did some things, neither bad nor good. THey all did the same things equally well. No one got hurt. I can't tell you what they did, because you, dear reader, might not be able to do some of those things, and it might traumatize the weak brains that we have decided you possess. The end.

No mention of weather or surroundings. City people might not be able to understand what a farm is. Iowans might have trouble understanding mountains or oceans. No mention of food, either. Different people like different things, and it might trouble our childrens little brains if they try to figure out why.

What a bunch of crap.

30 Apr 03 - 12:44 AM (#943298)
Subject: RE: BS: Pre-Sanitised Education - listen to show
From: katlaughing

Bravo, RS, that oughta get by without too much censoring! How bland, eh?

30 Apr 03 - 12:55 AM (#943301)
Subject: RE: BS: Pre-Sanitised Education - listen to show

Kat. Many school boards agreed that teaching reading by the old phonetics method was wrong. Teachers where I live were instructed not to teach reading by using the phonetic system. Now it is back in use, but only for slow learners. An attempt to re-create the wheel by people who have forgotten the meaning of circumference?
In the 1960's Inuit children were judged to be retarded, because when they were given the standard school tests, they could not recognise different trees, or identify city road signs. ( not many of either around in Baffin Island) Challenge a young person with interesting subjects, and promote discussion in class, they soon start to learn.
Sometimes the old methods are best.

30 Apr 03 - 01:16 AM (#943305)
Subject: RE: BS: Pre-Sanitised Education - listen to show

Another way of answering questions in a test... This is why they brought out multiple choice exams I think ;-)

Subject: Forrest Gump meets St. Peter
The day finally arrived: Forrest Gump dies and goes to Heaven. He is at the Pearly Gates, met by St. Peter himself. However, the gates are closed and Forrest approaches the Gatekeeper. St. Peter says, "Well, Forrest, it's certainly good to see you. We have heard a lot about you. I must tell you, though, that the place is filling up fast, and we've been administering an entrance examination for everyone. The test is short, but you have pass it before you can get into Heaven." Forrest responds, "It shor is good to be here St. Peter, sir, but nobody ever tolt me about any entrance exam. Shor hope the test ain't too hard; life was a big enough test as it was." St. Peter goes on, "Yes, I know, Forrest, but the test is only three questions. First: What two days of the week begin with the letter T? Second: How many seconds are there in a year? Third: What is God's first name?"
Forrest leaves to think the questions over. He returns the next day and sees St. Peter who waves him up and says, "Now that you have had a chance to think the questions over, tell me your answers." Forrest says, "Well, the first one -- which two days in the week begin with the letter "T"? Shucks, that one's easy. That'd be Today and Tomorrow." The Saint's eyes open wide and he exclaims, "Forrest, that's not what I was thinking, but you do have a point, and I guess I didn't specify, so I'll give you credit for that answer. How about the next one?" asks St. Peter. "How many seconds in a year?" "Now that one's harder," says Forrest, "but I thunk and thunk about that and I guess the only answer can be twelve." Astounded, St. Peter says, "Twelve? Twelve!? Forrest, how in Heaven's name could you come up with twelve seconds in a year?" Forrest says "Shucks, there's gotta be twelve: January 2nd, February 2nd, March 2nd. . ." "Hold it, " interrupts St. Peter. "I see where you're going with this, and I see your point, though that wasn't quite what I had in mind...but I'll have to give you credit for that one, too. Let's go on with the third and final question. Can you tell me God's first name"? "Sure" Forrest replied, "its Andy." Andy?!" exclaimed an exasperated and frustrated St. Peter. "Ok, I can understand how you came up with your answers to my first two questions, but just how in the world did you come up with the name Andy as the first name of God?" "Shucks, that was the easiest one of all," Forrest replied. "I learnt it from the song. . . . "ANDY WALKS WITH ME, ANDY TALKS WITH ME, ANDY TELLS ME I AM HIS OWN. . . ."
St. Peter opened the Pearly Gates and said: "Run Forrest, run."

30 Apr 03 - 01:23 AM (#943310)
Subject: RE: BS: Pre-Sanitised Education - listen to show
From: katlaughing

Thank gawd I had phonics AND challenging teachers!

30 Apr 03 - 02:48 PM (#943735)
Subject: RE: BS: Pre-Sanitised Education - listen to show
From: TIA

Ranger Steve:

As a member of the animal rights committee, I am insulted at the exclusionary language of your novel that begins "There was a group of people".

30 Apr 03 - 07:06 PM (#943941)
Subject: RE: BS: Pre-Sanitised Education - listen to show
From: RangerSteve

TIA - according to the new rules, you can't mention things like slavery, genocide or natural disasters, especially on tests, as sensitive children may become upset and won't be able to complete the tests (really, they said that in the interview that started this whole thread). So, mentioning animal rights implies that there are hunters and fishermen and scientists testing animals and Lord knows what else, so I'm really sorry, but there'll be no mention of animal rights. In our happy little world, the animals go about their business without fear of us. There won't be any carnivores in Happy World either. All the animals eat berries. Even sharks.

I mentioned the Deity, didn't I? I'm so sorry. Please accept my apology, you non-believers. Or, you can just bite me.

30 Apr 03 - 07:13 PM (#943956)
Subject: RE: BS: Pre-Sanitised Education - listen to show
From: katlaughing

Does that mean we CAN write about cannabalism?

01 May 03 - 08:30 AM (#944312)
Subject: RE: BS: Pre-Sanitised Education - listen to show
From: Grab

Steve, I've got a book "Politically correct bedtime stories", which take the piss extensively. What they've done to some of them is superb! Well worth getting.


01 May 03 - 08:45 AM (#944324)
Subject: RE: BS: Pre-Sanitised Education - listen to show
From: RangerSteve

Kat, cannibalism is out. It might upset folks. In Happy World, nothing upsetting ever happened. I have a feeling that most of the world's history is going to be erased. Our children will grow up to be wimps.

01 May 03 - 04:49 PM (#944450)
Subject: RE: BS: Pre-Sanitised Education - listen to show
From: katlaughing

Who're you callin' "wimp", sissy boy?**BG** Looks like those'll be OUT, too!

Graham, I've got one of those books! Hysterical!!!

01 May 03 - 05:06 PM (#944467)
Subject: RE: BS: Pre-Sanitised Education - listen to show
From: Ely

We had a series of books from which we used to read when I was in early elementary school at a (private) Montessori place, that were quite interesting. I've forgotten the name of the series, unfortunately. I remember that one story featured a child thief, one involved the idea of government-mandated "handicapping" to dumb-down smart people, and one featured a swear word (I forget which word). They were written by real authors, not committees. They were a little disturbing but obviously our teachers didn't think they would scar us (and they didn't), although I cannot imagine them being used now. They were much more challenging to discuss and MUCH more interesting than the things we had to read when I went back to public school. I'm only 25, so I haven't even been out of elementary school that long.

Frankly, I don't remember ever learning that much in school until I got to college. Most of my education was the result of my parents' interests and encouragement. I went to some really bad schools in really bad neighborhoods and the emphasis was more on holding the chaos at bay and keeping the gangs out than teaching. I can't "blame" anyone in particular for this--I certainly had some incompetent teachers but I also went to school with some thoroghly impossible kids whose parents had neither the educational background nor the interest/energy to support them.

The area I live in now is mostly affluent middle- to upper-middle class, and they are into old-fashioned German discipline and old-fashioned Bible rhetoric. I've been asked why I don't teach (I have a history degree) but, even if I wanted to, I couldn't do it.

01 May 03 - 06:04 PM (#944504)
Subject: RE: BS: Pre-Sanitised Education - listen to show
From: greg stephens

Text books in England now describe Vikings as efficient entrepreneurial traders, no mention of any unplesantness. An interesting combination of the combination of political correctness and Thatcherism around ten years ago when they were being written.

01 May 03 - 06:05 PM (#944506)
Subject: RE: BS: Pre-Sanitised Education - listen to show
From: GUEST,Lyle

I agree with the initial premise that there have been some silly things done in education under the banner of "positive self concept" or some such assertion.

However -

Way too often there is a fundamental flaw in proposed solutions to improving education, and one has entered in this discussion. The example given about phonics implies that if only students had been taught phonics all would be better readers and spellers. Not true! In order for phonics to work, one has to be able to hear minor differences in sounds. Since many here are musicians, you may not realize that your ability to hear well is not a characteristic of everyone. I have seen several people (myself included) who wonder what the heck is going on when people try to say, "Hear the difference between the -int and -ent sound?"

My point is this; there is NO single approach to any part of education that will work with ALL students. Someday we will realize that people are INDIVIDUALS and will provide INDIVIDUAL instruction for them. But that will only happen when educating students becomes as important as making war.

I could go on for hours, but - - -


01 May 03 - 06:36 PM (#944526)
Subject: RE: BS: Pre-Sanitised Education - listen to show
From: katlaughing

Lyle, my two sisters who are elementary teachers and who did not have phonics would agree with you. One of them, as a mater of fact, has had extra training in "learning styles" in which she learned how to gear her teaching to the best ways for each indidivual child to learn. No, she wan't able to work with them one on one, but was able to have different "stations" in her classroom which were more conducive to different learning styles than conventional classrooms were.