Ethics Alarm! The Public School Political Indoctrination In Fairfax, Virginia Rates Two “Geenas”

I know Geena has already appeared here recently, but Americans really should be afraid of this story out of Fairfax, Virginia, and be especially afraid as they consider how long such sinister brain-washing of our young has been going on. The incident has a lot more relevance to the elections next week than an isolated attack on Nancy Pelosi’s husband, which has none. If we had a responsible journalistic establishment in the country any more, there would be an uproar over such strategies aimed at public school students. As it is, only Fox News has bothered to cover the story at all, and not very well at that.

Fifth graders were assigned the task of critiquing an anti-gun, anti-Second Amendment, anti-NRA essay as part of a persuasive writing fifth-grade unit from the teachers’ aide, “Units of Study in Opinion, Information, and Narrative Writing.” The screed is a fake child’s essay, obviously written by an adult. The clear purpose of the exercise is not to develop critical thinking skills but rather to embed anti-gun beliefs in children too young to evaluate and resist them. Here is the essay:

No fifth grader—even one like me, and I was a history nerd in the fifth grade until I graduated to being just a general nerd—- has the knowledge, perspective or sophistication to challenge that propaganda. I do now, and I know that it is legal, logical and historical crap, though the “essay” does regurgitate most of the anti-Second Amendment distortions and half-truths we have heard for decades.The assignment asked students to analyze the piece from a “neutral perspective” and determine whether it made a convincing argument, but that is disingenuous. A fifth grader’s perspective on gun policy and the Bill of Rights isn’t “neutral,” it is almost certainly ignorant. This is transparently indoctrination…political, ideological, unethical indoctrination using the schools to build public opinion supporting an anti-gun ownership perspective. See that ending? “Guns were great when the constitution was written, but now they hinder instead of help. We must embrace the changes the future brings us for the common good, and ban guns from our country.”

Ah yes, strip away individual right for “the common good.” What fifth grader will be able to identify the poison in that exhortation?

Yet as far as we know, only one Fairfax County, Virginia parent was either paying enough attention or possessed the basic civic education—-or sufficiently gave a damn—to object to the assignment. That would be mother of six Darcey Geissler, a family law attorney, who blew the whistle by sending Fox News the essay. Geissler described the assignment as “a poorly written, factually and legally inaccurate ‘essay,’ written by an adult parading as a child, being used to once again advance a political agenda.”

I’d disagree with the “poorly written” part. It was very cleverly written to seem like a child’s work, and the arguments made calculated to appeal to its targeted audience.

The spokesperson for Fairfax County Public Schools issued a statement that acknowledged no fault, and concluded,  “The school is working closely with the parent who complained about the assignment, so her concerns are addressed.” Creepy. ‘We will be dealing with the troublesome parent who complained.‘ I would have been encouraged by an immediate admission that the assignment was inappropriate, and that “Units of Study in Opinion, Information, and Narrative Writing” will be discontinued as a resource for teachers.

Meanwhile, Fox News publicized the story by burying the lede and demonstrating that it doesn’t appreciate the significance of what it was reporting. “Virginia mother blasts anti-Second Amendment writing sample 5th grade students were assigned to analyze” was its inept headline. The news isn’t that a mother is upset; that’s incidental. “Fairfax Virginia Schools Use Writing Assignment To Indoctrinate Students Against Guns” is what citizens in Virginia and elsewhere need to know. The article should have included interviews with experts on indoctrination techniques and child psychology.

Th episode is emblematic of an ongoing process that is sinister, widespread, and a genuine threat to democracy, unlike what a deranged illegal alien does with his hammer. The mainstream media is doing its job by burying it, and the best Fox news can do is miss the point.

I think we need Geena bookends…

14 thoughts on “Ethics Alarm! The Public School Political Indoctrination In Fairfax, Virginia Rates Two “Geenas”

  1. Random thought, but the first thing I would try to teach those first graders is that when someone starts handing you raw numbers, find out how those numbers fit in the larger picture. If 13,000 people were killed by gun-inflicted injuries, where does that stand in the general death toll? Would that seem significant or insignificant when the overall death toll of that year was 2.4 million people?

    That same sort of reasoning should apply when someone talks about CO2 emissions. People are very quick to spout how many tons of CO2 are emitted each year, but that number is meaningless unless compared to the total amount of CO2 in the atmosphere, and the total amount of atmosphere there is.

    Just as this sort of reasoning should apply when told there have been so many black people killed by police in a given stretch of time. How many people overall were killed by police in that amount of time? What were the racial statistics?

    Similarly, if someone tells you that exposure to a particular carcinogen increases your chance of cancer by X percent, ask what the baseline chance of getting that cancer is. This is especially important in medicine in general when weighing risks of procedures and treatments that will themselves have side effects. If something, like a vaccine, eliminates the risk of death by a particular disease, but has the potential side-effect of causing a lethal heart condition, then one needs to understand the risk factors involved. If the mortality rate of the disease is 3% for your demographic, and the risk of the lethal heart condition is 1 in 10,000, then the vaccine is a gamble worth taking. If, on the other hand, the mortality rate for your demographic is 0.1% and the the risk of a lethal heart condition is 1 in 1000, then you’re not actually gaining anything by taking the vaccine; instead you’re trading one risk for another.

    Wrapping this back around, then if you’re told that having a gun in your home quadruples your chance of dying by an accidental gun shot, what is the probability of dying from an accidental gunshot otherwise? If dying by accidental gunshot is 1 in 40,000, then a 1 in 10,000 risk is not that much riskier, truth be told. But, then, what about the other side? What are the chances of dying from other causes that owning a gun could actually prevent? How do those chances go down if you own a gun and keep it in your house?

    I think if a teach approached the essay with this kind of critical analysis, that would be fine. Fifth graders should be old enough to start into that kind of critical thinking. However, expecting them to provide a well-reasoned critique at this point would be premature. I think you need good, algebra-ready brains (i.e. the capacity for more abstract reasoning) to take on the challenge of critique. Just handing the kids the essay and then asking them to evaluated without any additional training in critical reasoning is simply irresponsible even if we assign the best of motives.

    • Random thought, but the first thing I would try to teach those first graders…

      Ack, fifth graders! I’m surprised I didn’t write “…the fifth thing I would try to teach those first graders…”

  2. The whole assignment is toxic dung heap because any 5th grader who does challenge the essay will get suspended or expelled for “making threats” by speaking of guns in “any-anything-but-horrified” light. The average 5th grader would not be able to challenge that loaded crap with skill, but they might still recognize it as a bad-faith arguments, and get themselves in trouble by responding to this deliberate crap with the intelligence of a real fifth grader. Some truly poor souls might naively parrot back the strong opinions of their parents, thus throwing gasoline of this self inflicted fire.

  3. Maybe if fifth graders were coherently taught that the Bill of Rights is a sort of “10 Commandments” – a set of “Thou Shalt Nots” that prevent our government from usurping our freedom – some of them might be able to look at the essay conclude “if I give up my right to keep and bear arms, the government may have a much easier time taking away my other freedoms.”

    But I would guess that if Fairfax County is indoctrinating kids against the 2nd Amendment, they probably aren’t spending much time teaching them the importance of any of the others. And after reading their response, I’m pretty convinced that I’m not wrong.

    • Remember, Joel, that the rights the Left values are completely fluid based upon who is in charge and who is not (“Freedom of the Press” is essential when Pres. Trump is criticizing CNN; not so much when Fox News is providing an alternate perspective).

      The only so-called rights the Left values are the rights to have sex with whomever you wish with no stigma attached and the right to handle whatever consequences develop at taxpayer expense, up to and including murdering one’s unborn child.

  4. Neutral perspective?

    How can they analyze the piece neutrally? It is literally anti-gun propaganda. It does nothing but spew statistics and refute the arguments of gun rights advocates (no one hunts in urban areas, no one needs a gun to defend themselves….except a “police man” who will just scare the bad guy away! Unless, of course, he’s a racist and then he will use his gun for evil….sorry, couldn’t help myself).

    There’s no way a fifth grader can provide any neutral perspective. Any fifth grader that reads that knows what to regurgitate in order to get a good grade and the approval of the teacher so as not to be singled out in front of his or her peers.

  5. With their incessant brainwashing and grooming of these children for a queer lifestyle, it’s a wonder they have the time to indoctrinate them into embracing an unconstitutional anti gun bias.

  6. Gun violence? What about hammer violence? When are we going to take reasonable actions to eliminate hammer violence? With nail guns, who needs hammers?

      • Yes and using a hammer is taking work away from carpenters. After all isn’t it better to contract a carpenter and wait on their waiting list for a few months so you can be assured that the nails would be straight?
        But if you were still allowed to buy a cheap nail gun at about $200 that’s only $100 per nail. Well worth it.
        But then aren’t nail guns another type of gun, therefore they should be banned altogether. We will have to use glue.

    • What about the police? Paul Pelosi wasn’t injured until the police intervened. When the police officer told both of them to drop the hammer, the (relatively) law-abiding one (Paul Pelosi) did let go of the hammer, leaving it solely in the hands of the deranged criminal. Only then was Paul Pelosi injured. What a great parallel for gun control. When the police try to take away guns, only the law-abiding comply. This leaves the law-abiding at the mercy of the armed criminals. Even if the police are standing right there, they can’t stop the criminals from beating or killing you.

  7. My late beloved 7th-grade social studies teacher, Mr. Frank Scala, would have “red marked” that document beyond recognition. In any assignment, he gave us we were to write three paragraphs of three well-constructed sentences. We had to amply use the dictionary and thesaurus. Our document had to be cogent and congruent. It was not to rattle on with needless repetition.

  8. I will be happy to provide Fairfax County schools an essay in similar form for the children to compare the countervailing arguments. You cannot teach critical thinking by providing only one side and assuming the children have the prerequisite knowledge to evaluate the argument presented.
    If the school system is unwilling to allow the opposing arguments then their claim that this is a legitimate teaching exercise is pure BS.

  9. No fifth grader—even one like me, and I was a history nerd in the fifth grade until I graduated to being just a general nerd—- has the knowledge, perspective or sophistication to challenge that propaganda… Ah yes, strip away individual right for “the common good.” What fifth grader will be able to identify the poison in that exhortation?

    Don’t be so sure. Sometimes, events can thrust things on you. When I was eight, I wrote a short piece for a school magazine on how our European community in Luluabourg had defended ourselves two years earlier. It was not accepted, which enlightened me about editors to the point of writing a doggerel poem about a donkey, which was accepted. (My motive was the half crown offered for each article – which could buy a paperback in those days.)

    That earlier experience, and my parents’ later accounts, taught me enough to recognise two egregious errors in that propaganda now:-

    – Sometimes, you want a gun for defence, not for hunting. The Belgians were amazed that my father didn’t already have a gun of his own, and had to lend him a pistol (my brother and I were impressed by the sight of it when he came upstairs to visit us and our mother on breaks). I was also impressed by the sight of a man with a sten gun when we came in to fort up, and later by the spent cartridge casings lying around after we were rescued by an unauthorised paratroop drop.

    – Sometimes, the police – like the Force Publique gendarmerie – can’t or won’t do a better and more professional job of defending you than you can and will yourself, because they themselves are the ones attacking you (yes, AJG, they were racists – it was us whites they were after). They were the ones attacking in the Congo, anyway. We had to buy time until relieved.

    Oh, and I always had a healthy disrespect for vague “good” (like the “common good”) when I was only old enough to understand concrete good and bad to this or that person. I kept it once I appreciated abstractions better, as by then I also knew their limitations. In Luluabourg, I didn’t understand what my parents meant when they said we had to go away for a while, and I thought they meant they had to, so I concretely promised to look after my little brother until they got back. But I didn’t have to.

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