Sunday, January 01, 2006


Patriotism Tests in School?

An article on Portland IMC and linked to by the Global Indymedia page is suggesting:
Children in Washington State are being given "patriotism tests" which are completely unrelated to their studies. The paper gauges whether or not the student shows fealty to the power of the state and whether the student believes in the right to overthrow a corrupt government.
A copy of the 'opinionnaire" is provided and demonstrates students may agree or disagree with a number of statements therein such as:
1. It is never right to kill another person.

2. Political leaders usually act in the best interest of their countries.

3. If a political leader has done something wrong, it is alright to get rid of him/her by what ever means necessary.

4. "Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely."

5. In certain situations it may be justified for a political leader to bend or break the law for the good of the country.

6. People should never compromise their ideals or beliefs.

7. "My country right or wrong" is not just a slogan; it is every citizen's patriotic duty.

8. No cause, political or otherwise, is worth dying for.

9. "cowards die many times before their deaths; the valiant taste of death but once."

10. "The evil that men do lives after them; the good is (often buried) with their bodies."
According to the original writer:
They are grooming our kids"
For what exactly? Having an opinion? Or grooming them to become goosestepping drones shouting "Heil Bushitler"? Comments follow:
to test a child on their patriotism? how many shades of national socialism are there? heil bush.
Did you think I was exaggerating?

A subsequent commenter adds his own suggestion for a question:
Would you grant several multi-billion dollar contracts with high tech companies of the Zionist crusader state while hundreds of thousands of high tech workers loose (sic) thier (sic) jobs in the US, like democraps and republitrash did in 2002??
After whipping the Indymedia readers into a frenzy, comes this rather disappointing observation:
Taking one of the questions in the "opinionnaire" (I used #2) snd plugging it into Google Advanced Search turns up multiple hits. It turns out that they all have something in common.

English Teachers

Yep, it seems that this set of questions is used for classroom discussions of the play "Julius Caesar":
link to (from Sandpoint High School Ponderay, Idaho) (from Tarleton State University in Texas) (A more general teaching aids site)

It's been used in other contexts. This article, published in 1998 in the ALAN Review by the Assembly on Literature for Adolescents of the National Council of Teachers of English:
is particularly interesting. It describes the use of, among other things, this questionnaire, in conjunction with the reading and discussion of two novels, as part of a project aiming at learning how classroom discussions of literature can improve students' critical thinking skills.

So, to sum up:

This is a tool used by English teachers in teaching a Shakespeare play.

It's been around for quite some time.

The original article presents it completely stripped of all context, seizing on something which in isolation can be made scary-looking.

Since we have no context about this instance, we can't be absolutely certain about its import, but, given what one can easily find out about the history of this teaching tool, I know which way I'd bet.

Looks to me like the paranoid conspiracy theory industry is keeping in shape for the Olympic conclusion-jumping event.
It's going to be a highly competitive event this year too! How embarrassing.

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