Brian Sussman at AT reports on a disgusting display of Marxist-socialist propaganda being pushed as curriculum for 4th-7th graders by the California Teachers Association. The inspiration for this latest scholastic infusion of leftism: Occupy Wall Street.
"Considering Democracy in Occupy Wall Street," was the title of a teaching guide recommended for grades 4-7. The lesson plan was assembled by the Morningstar Center, a leftwing organization that teaches "social responsibility."
In the guide we read,
"...there are some ways that our country isn't always democratic, even though people do have rights such as a vote and free speech. Ask students if they can think of some examples. (Examples include: people and corporations with lots of money can make political contributions that give them more influence over our government than other people. Another: people who have a lot of power and resources can pay to have their opinion heard.)"
What's ironic is that this material is being offered at a resource area sponsored by a very wealthy teachers union. Unions are corporations, and influence politics as much, or more, than most other organizations -- especially in California! [Exactly!]
As for people "who have a lot of power and resources," ask gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman how that worked out for her. She spent nearly $100 million of her own money in her quest to become the governor of California, but was defeated by union-backed Jerry Brown.
The guide goes on to describe the Occupy movement for the school children:
Occupy Wall Street is a group of activists who want to change the way money, wealth, and income are distributed in the U.S. They want to change the fact that there is a very big difference between how much money and wealth rich and poor people have. Also, they want to make our country more democratic so that even people with little money and power can have more of a voice.
Did you catch that? "Change the way money, wealth, and income are distributed". The economically illiterate Left continue to operate on the false premise that wealth (in the U.S. at least) is a zero-sum game: that is somebody lacks something, it's because someobody else has it.
It gets worse:
Also on the resource table was another lesson entitled, "Ten Chair Simulation of the Distribution of Wealth." The plan was produced by Polly Kellogg, a teacher at St. Cloud State University in Minnesota (her specialty is "neocolonialism and global consequences of corporate capitalism").
Kellogg contends that, "The corporate elite who own the majority of the wealth not only control our economy, but also own most of the media and influence government policies. When students become aware of this concentration of wealth and power they begin to see the necessity of thinking critically about the system in which we live."
Kellogg uses a musical chairs theme to illustrate the collective net worth of those in the United States, as if the amount of money in America is a zero-sum game.
To begin the simulation I ask ten students to volunteer to line up at the front of the room seated in their chairs, facing the rest of the class. I explain that each chair represents ten percent of the wealth in the U.S. and each occupant represents 10% of the population, so that when each chair is occupied by one student, the wealth is evenly distributed. I explain that wealth is what you own: your stereo, the part of your house and car that are paid off, savings like stocks and bonds, vacation homes, any companies you own, your yatchs [sic], villas on the Riviera, private jet airplanes, etc. Then I ask students to estimate how much wealth each family would have if the wealth were equally distributed. Students usually guess about $50,000 and are surprised to hear that the answer is $250,000. I ask them what it would feel like if every family could have a $100, 000 home, a $10,000 car paid for and $140,000 in savings.
Oh gawd ... Where to begin?
Two (at least) major problems with this activity, one empirical, the other pedagogical. First, it can be argued that "wealth" is not only "what you own." To the Left wealth is always material, never spiritual or psychological. Wealth does not equal happiness, but to the Left no one can be happy if their next door neighbor has a nicer car or stereo than them. That's why on more than one occasion I've heard the cringe-worthy argument that an abortion is justified if the baby would be born in a less than perfect environment. To the Left, being dead is preferable over living with a 10-year-old Hyundai parked in your parents' driveway instead of a brand new BMW! If that's not sick, I don't know what is.
Pedagogically, this entire activity is based on feelings, not thought. This is another Leftist trait: Make decisions based on what you feel; don't form conclusions based on what you think. This is not how you create a generation of critically thinking adults. But it is how you create a generation of emoting Democrat-voters.
There is absolutely nothing in this lesson that explains the presumably unfair disparity of wealth among the participants. No where is the indespensible variable of personal choice. Nowhere is it suggested that student A might have $250,000 in wealth because they worked their ass off for 10 years in medical school and now works 60 hours a week as a doctor while student B might have slacked off their entire young life playing XBox and getting high with their dirtbag friends, barely graduated high school and managed to squeeze by into a college that gave them a two-year degree in "just staying out of jail."
Naturally I'm being extreme but my main point is important: Nowhere in this entire curriculum is the vital lesson that the amount of wealth you earn is highly contingent upon how hard you work and what kind of character you develop. To the Left, it's all result-oriented. It's merely: "Student A has $250,000, student B $50,000. And that's not fair. How do you feel about it?"
This is exactly how the OWS protestors think: Someone (THEM) has more than somebody else (ME) and that's not fair. Therefore, we demand someone with power (GOV'T) to steal it from them and give it to us. This economic illiteracy is dangerous and we are seeing the destructive results of it at Occupy protests around the country. The curriculum falsely teaches the schoolchildren that student B has only $50,000 because student A has $250,000 -- i.e., wealth has been unfairly distributed -- when the truth is that, through hard work and making the right life choices student B can earn as much wealth as she wants regardless of how much student A has!
Sussman concludes his report on the CTA curriculum with this quote from John Adams:
"Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There is never a democracy that did not commit suicide."
Ain't that the truth.
Along the same lines, I'm reminded of the following brilliant monologue delivered earlier this week by El Rushbo about the OWS protestors. Essentially, they are the Democrat Party base:
The Democrat Party base is what is destroying this country, and the effort to coddle them and to take care of them and to continue keeping them in that position that they're in of total dependence, no opportunity at acquiring wealth or achievement. The rest of us have to pay for their crazy, stupid life choices. The rest of us have to see our wealth and income transferred and redistributed to people who've made rotten choices. (Among the worst choices they've made is to vote Democrat.) The Democrat Party base is the nation's losers, and we need to start pointing this out.
You want to start talking about people not paying their fair share? Yeah, it's the Democrat Party base that's not paying their fair share. It's the 47% or whatever the number is that don't pay income taxes who are not paying their fair share. It's not the top 1%. It's not the people working. It's not people getting up every day and doing everything they can to make this country work. They are not the ones who are not paying their fair share! The Democrat Party base are the people not paying their fair share: the 49%, 47% that are paying zilch, zero, nada; and they're the ones that we're told ought to get everything. They're the one who ought to get all the benefits.
They're the ones who ought to get all the transfers of wealth. Somehow, they're in their circumstance because of the 1%. "The 1% stole everything those people used to have!" Wrong. Those people are in the positions they're in because they have made rotten life choices, and they have had those choices confirmed and affirmed by the Democrat Party who want those people dumb and stupid and unproductive. That's who's not paying their fair share, and that's what the Republican Party needs to start pointing out. "This is a war," as James Carville would say. American politics is a war. We don't treat it that way. Not us. Not you and me, folks. I'm talking about the people that represent us in large part.
I, for one, have had it. I have had it with the people who are working in this country being called the people who aren't paying their fair share. I have had it with people who are getting up every day and slogging against every effort this administration's making to kill this economy, to still go to work every day, make this country work. They are not the people who are screwing up. They are not the people who are not paying their fair share. They're doing more than their fair share and they're facing obstacles like they've never faced before in this administration, and still they get up and they go to work every day. It offends my sensibilities to hear these people described as not paying their fair share, because don't believe for a moment that the Democrats simply mean that 1% is not paying their fair share.
They're after everybody that's working, they're after everybody that's paying taxes, and they want to raise them. And, meanwhile, the people who don't work, the losers that make up the Democrat Party base, that's for whom we're supposed to have compassion and sorrow, because of their life choices. We are the majority in this country, and we are the ones who make it work. I'm tired of being blamed, flat-out tired of having the finger pointed at me and you and everybody else who's working or trying to work or trying to get a job. Instead, what do we do? We're supposed to have sympathy and compassion for a bunch of whining losers! We're supposed to feel sorry for a bunch of people who are where they are because they have chosen it. And, as I say, their number one choice has been to vote Democrat. You get what you pay for.
This, in my opinion, is what the CTA want to create: This curriculum has nothing about education or learning. It's a political effort to produce a new generation of Democrats. Economically illiterate, lazy and unmotivated, non-critically-thinking and wholly emotional, perpetually jealous Democrats.
If this crap does not get removed from our public schools, all we are doing is created future generations of OWS protestors: economically illiterate brats who believe they're owed something that somebody else has. I don't believe I am overreacting. This nation is truly doomed.
END THE OCCUPATION! LIBERALS OUT OF THE SCHOOLS NOW!!!