American Elephants


Newspeak: cultural cancer in the brave new world by The Elephant's Child
December 8, 2008, 9:14 pm
Filed under: Education, Freedom, History, Socialism | Tags: , , ,

From The Times in London:

Traditional subjects such as history, geography and religious studies will be removed from the primary school curriculum and merged into a “human, social and environmental” learning programme as part of a series of education reforms.

Under the plans, information technology classes would be given as much prominence as literacy and numeracy, and foreign languages would be taught in tandem with English.

The reforms are the most sweeping for 20 years and aim to slim down the curriculum so that younger children can be taught fewer subjects in greater depth.

Sir Jim Rose, author of the interim report to be published today said that the changes were aimed at producing a curriculum for the 21st century.

Why is it always “for the 21st century?” You can always tell that it is a really sappy program if they have to tell you that it is new and fresh by identifying as century appropriate.  And be sure to indoctrinate the kiddies in environmentalism, so they can turn in their parents if they don’t recycle.

Teachers get really bored teaching the same thing over and over. A new batch of little kids, and you have to start over teaching them their letters and beginning reading and beginning numeracy again.  Computers are more fun.

I suspect we were far better off back when we had teacher’s colleges that offered a two year course in how to teach elementary school children to read, write and cipher with a little beginning science, geography and history thrown in.

Schools are no longer teaching kids basic math because now the kids can do it on a calculator.  They are just poorly equipped to figure out the tip on a bill in a restaurant or make change if the power goes off or even add, subtract or multiply if they don’t have their calculator at hand.  Schools no longer teach cursive writing because kids will mostly use a keyboard.  But children cannot write a simple thank you note, as you have perhaps noticed.  When was the last time a sales clerk (excuse me, sales associate) counted your change back to you?

The 10,000 word Oxford Junior Dictionary published by Oxford University Press is intended for the use of UK schoolchildren, large numbers of whom are increasingly not English.  Words considered no longer useful for children have been removed, words related the Christmas like “carol, holly, ivy, mistletoe,” fantasy words such as “dwarf, elf, goblin” or words related to Christianity  such as “altar, bishop, chapel, minister, monastery, monk, nun, psalm, saint or devil,” and even such ordinary English animals like “piglet, magpie, starling, weasel or wren.”  They have been replaced with words like “blog, broadband, MP3 player, voicemail, chatroom and celebrity.”  How very, very important that an English child should know the word “celebrity.”

Roger Kimball also discusses language today.

Last winter, Department of Homeland Security issued a document called “Terminology to Define the Terrorists: Recommendations form American Muslims.”  While you ponder why the Department of Homeland Security is gathering recommendations about how to combat radical Islam from American Muslims, let me mention a few things this document recommends.

Because we are supposed to be “communicating with, not confronting,” Muslims, the document advises us not to “insult or confuse them with pejorative terms such as ‘Islamo-fascism’ which are considered offensive by many Muslims.”  The word “progress ” is OK, but — George Orwell where are you? — “the experts consulted” rejected the word “liberty” “because many around the world would discount the term as a buzzword for American hegemony.”

He goes on to say:

While emissaries from the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security are making Herculean efforts not to do or say anything to “offend Muslims,” radical Muslims are busy extending the list of things they are offended by while also seeking new ways to  insinuate elements of Sharia law into the West — a mode of theocratic imposition that, far from being “fully compatible” with secular democracy, is something close to its antithesis.

Do read the whole thing, linked above.

It is time to reread George Orwell’s 1984 and familiarize yourself once again with “Newspeak”.   There is a disease abroad in our bureaucracies that seems to involve a worm in the brain.  Highly contagious apparently.

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