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Re: Re: Foundation First, Then Criticism, OK? :>)

Posted By: Susan Williams on December 6, 2005
 
When the kids are only fed one side of the story -- the Darwin, Marx, Freud side -- then they have nothing with which to compare that ideology, and therefore, they accept it. We used to call that hogwash, in my day. :>) zYou can't be building analytical power if you're only fed one side of the story in K-12 public schools and radicalized college classrooms, now, can you? But the rads have successfully driven out most of the quality, classical literature from our public-school classrooms in order to jam their point of view down our kids' throats, and at our expense, too. WAH! :>)

Naw, I'm not really crying. People are waking up to this. It'll quit, one way or another. It may wind up collapsing our public school system as the nice and smart families pull their kids out and put them in private schools where they will be educated, not just "trained," so that might not be all bad.

FYI, the "Worst 10 Books" is at:

www.humaneventsonline.com/article.php?id=7591

There's a good list of classic books at:

www.eagleforum.org/educate/1997/june97/list.html

These are the books we'd LIKE to see in high-school classrooms. But, for the reasons I stated, they don't go with the deconstructionist paradigm, so they're out. WAH! At least, in public schools. Many private schools have retained the classics, and I hope more and more public schools will turn back to them ASAP.

For an idea of the erosion in quality, consider my fifth-grade reading list from a suburban school district in 1965 (yes, I'm old, but these books are REALLY old! :>) ):

Aesop, 82 fables

Medieval tables, 5 French folk stories

The Brothers Grimm, 9 Household Tales

Nathanial Hawthorne, The Gorgon's Head, The Three Golden Apples

Hans Christian Andersen, Five folk stories

Robert Browning, The Pied Piper

Jean Henri Fabre, 16 nonfiction science essays

Leo Tolstoy, 13 Russian fables

Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

Oscar Wilde, 3 irish stories

Robert Louis Stevenson, Treasure Island

Richard Kipling, The Jungle Books

-----

OK, now compare that fine quality to these books, which were assigned to my fifth-grader in the same school district approximately 30 years later. Not a classic in the bunch; these are what I call "TV sitcom" type lit:

Katherine Paterson, Bridge to Terabithia

Marion Dane, On My Honor

Elizabeth Speare, The Sign of the Beaver

William Howard Armstrong, Sounder

Barthe De Clements, Nothing's Fair in Fifth Grade

Roald Dahl, James and the Giant Peach

Johanna Hurwitz, Aldo Applesauce

Ivy Ruckman, Night of the Twisters

Bette Greene, Philip Hall LIkes Me. I Reckon. Maybe.

John Reynolds Gardiner, Stone Fox

George Selden, Cricker in Times Square

E.L. Konigsburg, Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler

Scott O'Dell, Island of the Blue Dolphins

Robert O'Brien, Mrs Frisby and the Rats of NIMH

-------

Now, not all of the contemporary books are horrible . . . but there's a lot of nihilistic, anti-family, anti-Christian, anti-American, depressing, violent and disturbing content, and I think all of these were written within the last 25 years. Not a single classic in the lineup. WAH! On the other hand, look back at the list from 1965, and see the enduring quality of the language, characters, plot, themes, even multicultural settings. They take on the big, juicy themes -- parental abandonment, crisis, self-identity, etc. -- even more effectively than the contemporary pseudonovels being taught today, only they did it with grace and style, rich vocabularies, great writing, etc. They're soooooo much better, it's pathetic.

Teachers say they can't teach the classics 'cuz the kids can't handle the degree of reading difficulty. That in itself is a testament to what's wrong with our schools today.

One last recommendation for you: the book, "The Burden of Bad Ideas: How Modern Intellectuals Misshape Our Society," by Heather MacDonald.

Hope you'll look in to this further, and hope you'll do whatever you can to influence your local schools' curriculum choices toward the classics.
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 Foundation First, Then Criticism, OK? :>) by Susan Williams on December 6, 2005  * 
 
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