Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Reds Under the Bed

The NSW English Teachers manifesto wants to politicize the teaching of the subject of English. Or to put it another way, they think that English is politicized and want to teach it that way.
Methinks I smell the burning embers of communism. Within the hallowed halls of Universities must lurk the sleepers of the old Comintern espousing their ideology to unsuspecting teaching undergraduates who then move on to form the AATE. I've been reading the Statement of Belief of the AATE and have realized that this is a political statement.
It seems a long long way from the time when I was at school when English as a subject implied English comprehension. In other words the meaning of what is embodied in written language.

I quote from the AATE Statement of Belief
The ‘human condition’ has been a central historical concern of English. The development of self-understanding and a better understanding of others are key aims of the English curriculum.

Reading further down we see this,
Students achieve this through:
· consideration of what the study of language, literature and other types of text reveal about the connections between people across social, cultural, temporal and geographic divides
· exploring ethical and moral issues to develop and understand their own values and perspectives, and the values and perspectives of others
· engaging with different representations of ethnicity, culture, class, gender, language, sexuality, and socio-economic status
· respecting Australia’s Indigenous cultural heritage, and by learning more about its traditions, history and achievements through a culturally balanced curriculum
· valuing the multicultural nature of Australia
· their study and use of language in written, spoken and visual modes and through different types of texts, including: classic and popular texts, multimodal texts, fiction and non-fiction texts
· recognising that texts have a range of purposes, not the least of which is to provide pleasure

And the key words that crop up again and again are "culture" "ethnicity" not to forget "ethical" and "moral" issues.

Now the thought crosses my mind, what kind of training and education does an English teacher have to equip them to confront innocent and inexperienced children with issues or ethics and morality when these children have yet to be taught the basics of language and comprehension?

Here is a comment by Assoc. Professor Peter Morgan regarding the AATE push to politicize the teaching of English in Australia.

One problem with the NSW English teachers' manifesto is that they don't understand what an academic discipline or a teaching subject is.English is primarily a language. Matters such as racism and sexism are not the focus of English education...
Anyone who reads literature , both the classics and the products of our own times, will know that reading is not "political" in the sense offered by the NSW teachers' association.

Do you now understand why I see reds under the bed?

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Jeannie said...

You are correct that the subject of English is about the language and reading - but because reading requires content, there has always been issues that require discussion as well. And some content has always been deemed unacceptable for students. Agendas have always been followed.

Putting their agenda in writing was just stupid - they could have flown their ideas under the wire otherwise.

nanc said...

ten planks of communism:

1. Abolition of private property and the application of all rent to public purpose.

The 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution (1868), and various zoning, school & property taxes. Also the Bureau of Land Management.

2. A heavy progressive or graduated income tax.

Misapplication of the 16th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, 1913, The Social Security Act of 1936.; Joint House Resolution 192 of 1933; and various State "income" taxes. We call it "paying your fair share".

3. Abolition of all rights of inheritance.

We call it Federal & State estate Tax (1916); or reformed Probate Laws, and limited inheritance via arbitrary inheritance tax statutes.

4. Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels.

We call in government seizures, tax liens, Public "law" 99-570 (1986);

Executive order 11490, sections 1205, 2002 which gives private land to the Department of Urban Development; the imprisonment of "terrorists" and those who speak out or write against the "government" (1997 Crime/Terrorist Bill); or the IRS confiscation of property without due process.

5. Centralization of credit in the hands of the State, by means of a national bank with state capital and an exclusive monopoly.

We call it the Federal Reserve which is a credit/debt system nationally organized by the Federal Reserve act of 1913. All local banks are members of the Fed system, and are regulated by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).

6. Centralization of the means of communication and transportation in the hands of the State.

We call it the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Department of Transportation (DOT) mandated through the ICC act of 1887, the Commissions Act of 1934, The Interstate Commerce Commission established in 1938, The Federal Aviation Administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Executive orders 11490, 10999, as well as State mandated driver's licenses and Department of Transportation regulations.

7. Extention of factories and instruments of production owned by the State, the bringing into cultivation of waste lands, and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan.

We call it corporate capacity, The Desert Entry Act and The Department of Agriculture. As well as the Department of Commerce and Labor, Department of Interior, the Evironmental Protection Agency, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, Bureau of Mines, National Park Service, and the IRS control of business through corporate regulations.

8. Equal liablity of all to labor. Establishment of Industrial armies, especially for agriculture.

We call it the Social Security Administration and The Department of Labor. The National debt and inflation caused by the communal bank has caused the need for a two "income" family. Woman in the workplace since the 1920's, the 19th amendment of the U.S. Constitution, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, assorted Socialist Unions, affirmative action, the Fedral Public Works Program and of course Executive order 11000.

9. Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries; gradual abolition of the distinction between town and country by a more equable distribution of the population over the country.

We call it the Planning Reorganization act of 1949 , zoning (Title 17 1910-1990) and Super Corporate Farms, as well as Executive orders 11647, 11731 (ten regions) and Public "law" 89-136.

10. Free education for all children in government schools. Abolition of children's factory labor in its present form. Combination of education with industrial production, etc. etc.

People are being taxed to support what we call 'public' schools, which train the young to work for the communal debt system. We also call it the Department of Education, the NEA and Outcome Based "Education" .

we are so there. now imagine mandatory public schooling for babies as young as three...

Lexcen said...

Nanc, your comment certainly deserves the title "reds under the bed". Although bad government policy deserves criticism, I doubt that it would rank as examples of communism.
Personally I would equate the increasing restrictions on personal freedoms imposed by governments as creeping communism. I would consider the ever increasing intrusion into our personal lives by by government surveillance as creeping communism.

nanc said...

it only seems to be creeping so it can get under the pole!


Anonymous said...

This is certainly frightening. It's worse even since I was in college, and that wasn't long ago. I was astounded then that in every class I attended, I heard the same lecture over and over. It didn't matter if it was Zoology, Botany, Political Science, or Physics...I heard: population control, big bang, multiculturalism, and civil liberties.

The classes all blurred together, which is true of life, to some degree. But at the same time, I felt that I didn't get a true education. I wasn't taught to think for myself. It was an attempted brainwashing.

Unknown said...


You are right, children do not need political training that undermines their enjoyment and introduction to their country's majority culture.

That said, these leftist communist professors are right. Language does encode a culture and secretly imply a value system. That is exactly why we do need to emphasize English in English speaking nations.

The problem is then the spin on the accompanying history. They think it represents oppression and silencing of voices. Well, it represents the fact that Australia is a western nation. And, as such, it should teach the western side of things. That isn't propaganda when the record is so good. But English language hegemony is a triumph. Overtly teach the politics if you want, but not as a source of shame.

BTW, did anyone see the move "the Class?" It is a terrible documentary about French schools. One of the few French girls says she is not French. The teacher points out that she is. She says, "Okay, but I'm not proud of it." Wow. She has been miseducated.

Lexcen said...

Reminds me of the fact that indigenous tribes carry their culture,traditions,laws,values within their language. These tribes have no written language so the significance of the spoken language is apparent.

I think that children should first master the use of language before embarking on issues of morality and ethics.