Ethics Signs And Portents, 5/10/2022: Langella’s Lament, Kellogg’s Indoctrination, Lightfoot’s Incitement, And Yellen’s idiocy.

That photo of the dueling signs in my neighborhood (Alexandria, VA) is from the Washington Post last week. Ethics Alarms first noted this obnoxious phenomenon here in 2016, with several updates since.

That’s some scoop there, Lois Lane!

1. Now here’s an even more obnoxious sign of the times: cereal boxes presuming to indoctrinate kids. What possible excuse is there for this, on the side of this Kellogg’s box:

I don’t care about the box design or the cereal: it’s a product, and if a parent wants to buy it, swell. It’s a marketing gimmick. Yuck, but so what? However, this, on the side panel, steps over the line into the culture wars and indoctrination. Not on my breakfast table…

2. Oh, fine: the Treasury Secretary is an idiot as well as an Ethics Dunce. Janet Yellen is now on record as endorsing one of the more offensive and cretinous arguments in favor of Roe v. Wade: snuffing out more children in the womb is good for the economy! “I believe that eliminating the right of women to make decisions about when and whether to have children would have very damaging effects on the economy and would set women back decades,” she said in response to a question at a Senate Banking Committee hearing. Continue reading

The First Rule of “Anti-Racism Fight Club” Is Do Not Talk About “Anti-Racism Fight Club”…

Nah, the public schools aren’t indoctrinating children!

Admittedly, this happened in Washington D.C., which has an anti-white, racist, Black Lives Matter-supporting mayor, but still…

The principal of Janney Elementary School in the District casually informed parents in a letter last November that

Today students in grades pre-k through third grade participated in the Anti-Racism Fight Club presentation with Doyin Richards. As part of this work, each student has a fist book to help continue the dialogue at school and home (be sure to check out the helpful links on page 18). We recognize that any time we engage topics such as race and equity, we may experience a variety of emotions. This is a normal part of the learning and growing process. As a school community we want to continue the dialogue with our students and understand this is just the beginning.

“Just the beginning!” Richards, a Critical Race Theory consultant and propagandist, spoke about the themes in his  “Anti-Racism Fight Club Fistbook for Kids” explaining that “white people are a part of a society that benefits them in almost every instance,” and that “it’s as if white people walk around with an invisible force field because they hold all of the power in America.”

“If you are a white person,” the Fistbook for Kids” explains, “white privilege is something you were born with and it simply means that your life is not more difficult due to the color of your skin. Put differently, it’s not your fault for having white privilege, but it is your fault if you choose to ignore it.”

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A “Curmie” Comment Of The Day Double-Header, #1: “Ethics Verdict: Non-Math Propaganda Does Not Belong In Math Textbooks”

Curmie,” whose lively and erudite blog has been a favorite of mine for many years, weighed in on Ethics Alarms with his usual force on several substantial issues last week. Here is his first of two Comments of the Day (the other will be along shortly), both involving Florida controversies. This one takes off from the post, “Ethics Verdict: Non-Math Propaganda Does Not Belong In Math Textbooks”

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Meh.

Certainly the injection of any kind of political agenda into elementary school math textbooks is a significant problem. Or at least it would be, if it actually happened on anything like a regular basis. What I find most interesting about this case is the fact that neither Governor DeSantis nor anyone on the Board of Education has (yet, as I write this) shown an example of the offending material from any of the books that have been sanctioned. I presumed that since the list of books has indeed been made public, numerous such examples will soon be forthcoming. Then we can make an informed judgment. Except, of course, now the governor is claiming the specifics are “proprietary information” as publishers weigh possible appeals to the rejections. Were I of a cynical disposition (perish the thought!), I might suggest that that delay ought to get him past the November elections. [JM Note: Subsequent to Curmie’s comment, some examples of varying persuasiveness (see above) were made public.]

What we have by way of example, at least that I can find, is an obviously absurd question that appeared on a homework sheet in a Missouri school. Back when I was blogging more regularly, I’d write about similarly stupid assignments several times a year. I’ve got to yield here to Florida State Representative Carlos Smith’s observation that “The best his [DeSantis’s] propaganda machine could do was deflect to a Missouri district that apologized for a homework assignment they didn’t approve.” Importantly, the worksheet was pulled from a website, not a textbook. So we can’t blame McGraw-Hill or Houghton-Mifflin-Harcourt for that particular outrageousness. Continue reading

Ethics Verdict: Non-Math Propaganda Does Not Belong In Math Textbooks

The New York Times reports that Florida has rejected 42 of 132 math textbooks proposed for use in public school classrooms because they “incorporate prohibited topics or unsolicited strategies” including social-emotional learning and critical race theory, according to the state’s Department of Education.

Good.

The tone of the Times article is framed to advance the “Wow, look at what radical conservative hate-mongering Neanderthals they have running the asylum in Florida, with that racist, transphobic Ron DeSantis as governor!” narrative. But this is only a partisan issue because one party’s core ideology, the Democratic Party, has, in “Happy Days” parlance, “jumped the shark,” or in my parlance, is in the process of sliding toward totalitarianism.

Here’s reporter Dana Goldstein’s second paragraph:

But Florida has a new law, which goes into effect in July, limiting the way that sexual orientation, gender identity and social-emotional skills are taught. Gov. Ron DeSantis is also expected to sign legislation, known as the “Stop W.O.K.E. Act,” prohibiting instruction that could prompt students to feel discomfort about a historical event because of their race, sex or national origin.

What does that have to do with a Department of Education deciding that mathematics textbooks should be entirely–not substantially, not mostly, but entirely, about mathematics? It doesn’t matter, or shouldn’t, what distractions, pet agendas, tangential advocacy or ideological indoctrination is in a math textbook. It doesn’t belong there. Standing for that rather simple and, I would think, obvious principle is not a partisan position, unless one party is interested, indeed invested, indeed determined to advance in something other than education. That something is indoctrination, and indoctrination of the young is essential for totalitarianism to grab a nation, culture, society and people by the throat. Continue reading

Georgetown University Law Center Decides To Teach Systemic Racism Rather Than Law

Well, it looks like this is going to be All-Race Wednesday. Sorry: I wanted it to be “Don’t Say Gay” Wednesday, but I don’t completely control these things. Incidentally, I know everyone is thoroughly sick of the Will Smith matter. However, the cultural implications of what should have been a meaningless blip are significant, and both this morning’s first post the comments to it are worth reading.

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The last time I relied on the Washington Free Beacon, I was hoaxed by an inappropriate “satire” article that, was subsequent events have sadly proved, was too close to reality to signal that it was fake. So I checked this Free Beacon exposé on Georgetown Law Center, my disgraceful alma mater, particularly carefully, hoping it was a bad joke. It isn’t.

Ironically, just yesterday two old friends emailed me about whether I would be attending the class reunion next month, a major one. After reluctantly telling them that I could not, for the many reasons I have discussed here and here, most lately the Dean’s suspension of  professor Ilya Cohen for daring to suggest that limiting a Supreme Court nomination by race and gender was not the best way to ensure the most able jurist would replace Justice Breyer, I started having second thoughts. Was I just being an old poop, one of those alums who are bitter that things aren’t like the old days? Why not just accept it all and party with pals?

Then I saw the report. That graphic above is a slide from a First Year mandatory property course, one of many re-published by the Free Beacon. It reports in part, Continue reading

Another Fake Conservative News Or Mainstream Media Cover-Up Conundrum: A School’s Transgender Brainwashing

If this astounding tale is true, then public schools are even more dangerous than I thought they were. If it is false, some conservative provocateurs are getting awfully creative, not to mention bold. In either case, wouldn’t it be great if the U.S. had journalists it could trust to relay the news in an honest and objective fashion?

The Washington Times, New York Post, Fox News, and other conservative news outlets all are reporting that a lawsuit has been filed by Jessica Konen, a California mother, claiming that two teachers and a principal in the Spreckels Union School District manipulated her middle-school daughter into believing she was transgender beginning when she was in the sixth grade.

Starting in 2019, Konen says, teachers recruited her daughter, then 11, into a club for gender anxious students. They “planted” the idea that the student, identified in the lawsuit as “A.G.” was transgender and bisexual, even though she did not understand then what those terms meant. They encouraged her ”to assume a new [male] name and use it at school, but warned her not to tell her mother because she “might not be supportive and that she couldn’t trust her,” Konen’s claim states.

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An Indiana School Allowed Parents To Let Parents Opt Their Kids Out Of Black History Month Lessons? GOOD!

Two Washington Post Ethics Dunce-worthy episodes, back to back!

The Post published this headline as if it was an obvious, res ipsa loquitur, outrage:

An Indiana school planned Black History Month lessons. A letter sent to parents allowed them to opt out.

“Those crazy, racist conservatives again!” was the unstated assumption of the Post’s article. After the consent form…

….was circulated on social media, such an uproar was raised by fans of anti-America indoctrination in the public schools that the school district Superintendent Emily Tracy felt that she had to send a letter to families and staff members, acknowledging the opt-out form and promising that the school district is “gathering more information on the matter” but “In the meantime, know that we support teaching about the facts in our history including historical injustices. Our District is and will continue to be committed to having compassion for all and supporting an education community that will allow all students, staff, families and community members the opportunity to feel welcome.” Continue reading

Is This Real? I Hope It’s A Hoax. I Fear It Is Not…[UPDATED]

So far, the story is only on Tik-Tok, and I don’t trust Tik-Tok. In a video you can see here (I can’t figure out how to embed non-YouTube videos), a group of little children at an unnamed D.C. school can be heard chanting “Black Lives Matter” while marching around holding BLM signs.

It’s a chilling scene: tiny kids wearing masks being subjected to school indoctrination. Is it a private school? Constitutionally, that makes a difference; ethically, it makes no difference at all.

Given that this is the Ditsrict, and that more than one school class in other locals were taught to sing songs extolling Barack Obama, I will not be shocked to find that this chilling scene is real.

UPDATE: Sharp-eyed reader/sleuth Edward spotted “Lowell School” in the video, so we know that this is taken at a real private school in the District. [https://www.lowellschool.org/] It still could be faked: the soundtrack could have been added.

Maybe they really were chanting “Let’s Go Brandon!”

Unethical Tweet Of The Month: The ACLU

I think it is fair to conclude at this point (if it was not already obvious) that the American Civil Liberties Union has abandoned its original mission of being a neutral and non-partisan guardian of individual rights to being one more activist political tool of the Left. Its hostility toward transparency for school curricula marks a 180 decree turnaround for the ACLU, which has traditionally  argued for government transparency in all its activities, including public school education.

One more time, the corrupting influence here is race and “social justice,” which increasingly are regarded as taking priority over all else. Enacting the racial agenda of Black Lives Matters and its allies (like the Democratic Party) now justifies tactics and activities that the ACLU once opposed consistently. Government indoctrination is no longer an offense to freedom of speech and thought, apparently. The ends justify the means.

Once upon a time, Nevada’s ACLU fought fought for transparency when The Silver State’s schools were establishing their sex education lesson plans. Staci Pratt, Legal Director of the ACLU of Nevada, said at the time, “The days of back door decision making are over. Compliance with the open meetings law is meant to secure the opportunity of parents, students, and community members to have a meaningful impact on the development of policy. We are all well served when decisions on the appointment of sex education advisory committee members is subject to public scrutiny, rather than the result of the presentation of a narrow range of interests.”  The ACLU of Kentucky used records requests to uncover curriculum plans in all of Kentucky’s 173 school districts, seeking to find evidence of religious instruction:

The ACLU-KY sent requests to all of Kentucky’s 173 school districts seeking policies and curriculum for “Bible Literacy” courses.  While most districts are not offering these courses, the ACLU-KY found many of the courses that are being offered do not fall within constitutional strictures, which require any use of religious text in the classroom to be secular, objective, nondevotional, and must not promote any specific religious view.

The investigation uncovered public school teachers using the Bible to impart religious life lessons (Barren, McCracken, and Letcher Counties), use of online Sunday School lessons and worksheets for course source material and assignments (Letcher and Wayne Counties), and rote memorization of Biblical text (McCracken County) — practices which fall far short of academic and objective study of the Bible and its historical context or literary value.

But that was baaad indoctrination, you see. Teaching Critical Race Theory-ish interpretations of American history that tar whites as intrinsically racist, blacks as handicapped by intransigent systemic racism, and, as a special bonus, that a person is whatever gender they decide to be are all good indoctrination, and if overly conservative, contrarian or controlling parents are inclined to interfere, well, the ACLU holds that schools are justified in making sure the Neanderthals don’t find out what’s being taught. Continue reading

Unethical Quote Of The Month (But Thanks For The Candor, Terry!): Former Va. Governor And Current Gubernatorial Candidate Terry McAuliffe

“I don’t think parents should be telling schools what to teach.”

Terry McAuliffe, Democratic candidate for Governor of Virginia, in  the televised debate with Republican adversary Glenn Youngkin

Every now and then one of the crypto-totalitarian Democrats or progressives slip up and rip his or her mask off, and McAuliffe’s sudden outburst of damning truth was a real Jack Nicholson “You’re damn right I did!” moment. I know virtually nothing about Glenn Youngkin, but I know too much about Clinton bag-man McAuliffe, and if God’s in his heaven and there is justice in the cosmos, this outburst will keep McAuliffe, who is corrupt and almost as slimy as the Clintons, out of the Governor’s mansion. It isn’t the reason I won’t be voting for Terry, who was Bill’s fundraiser, only because it doesn’t have to be. There are so many other reasons, as his Ethics Alarms dossier shows and the alarming essay below from my previous platform, The Ethics Scoreboard, amply demonstrates.

But enough of McAuliffe for now, for this post isn’t really about him as much as it is about his quote and what (and who—Terry was also Chair of the Democratic National Committee) it represents. For it expresses fairly the current attitude of the Left regarding public education. Children are in school for progressives, Democrats, Marxists and anti-American activists to indoctrinate. Gabriel Gipes, the so-called “Antifa Teacher” was an extreme case, but lazy parents and apathetic citizens allowed the Left to take over the educational establishment (as well as other institutions) a long time ago. Now they are shocked—shocked!-–with the advent of critical race theory and the “1619 Project’s” pollution of public school curricula—to find that our children have been and are being programmed to accept progressive cant as truth, and even to oppose the Bill of Rights as well as the foundational culture of the nation itself.

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