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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Lorax? Really?

Last week, I conversed with a parent concerned about the education that her seventh-grade daughter is receiving in one of the "finest" public schools in one of the "finest" school districts in the United States.

The account I received was beyond disconcerting.

It was dismaying!

The student, dedicated to learning and enrolled in the gifted and talented program, returned from a week's absence due to illness and inquired of the teacher as to what work needed to be completed.  The teacher chirped, "Oh, there's nothing to make up.  The class spent all last week watching The Lorax."

The film The Lorax, based on the book of the same title, is eighty-six minutes long.  Apparently, the class discussed the film in class, but no written work was assigned.

The situation did not involve a flu epidemic with too many absences for the teacher to forge ahead, nor die  the situation involve a substitute in charge of the class for the week.  Therefore, I have to wonder if spending an entire week on this film was part of county-approved program of studies.

These two bits of information (HERE and HERE) may provide clues as to why an "advanced" seventh-grade class spent an entire week on The Lorax.

America is turning into an idiocracy, and public education is one means to attaining that particular type of dystopia, defined as a society characterized by human misery — in this case, a dystopia characterized by miserable mindlessness.

Additional reading of possible interest: Marxism in Education: Infiltration of Our School Systems by the Common Core Standards.


  1. We're done, finished, Kaput. Last person , please tun out the lights.

  2. Mrs. AOW has been ranting for days about this! I haven't seen her this angry in a long time!

  3. I was watching Fox just now, and it seems schools are more concerned with being politically correct than they are teaching the basics. Children can no longer have "best friends", they can no longer "hug" a friend to comfort them, they can no longer be children it seems.

    A child poses with his father's rifle, the father posts the picture and the family's home gets raided by SWAT. As many parents noted, we grew up with guns, knew how to shoot (and shoot good I might add) from a very young age. Gun safety was part of that training.

    Teenagers drove to school in pickup trucks with gun racks, they went deer hunting after school or probably early morning before school.

    Right Truth

  4. Well, it's not as though it's unexpected. I'd bet the teacher considered it a nice 'change of pace' for the kiddies. Not to mention a mini-vacation for herself.


  5. More Agenda 21 preparation. Convince the population to reduce their energy consumption so that the planet can be returned to conditions of pre-human pristine savagery.

    In 1806, Lazare Carnot wrote in a report to the Academy of Sciences on the work of the physicist Nic├ęphore Niepce on a combustion engine:

    `The discovery of a new motor force in nature is always a precious thing, when we can succeed in regularizing its effects, and use it to spare man's efforts....

    `Antiquity knew little of those motor forces; they only employed living human beings, weights, waterfalls, or wind. Those forces all being developed by nature itself, it was necessary, in order to apply them, to know only the effect of the lever....

    'But those assemblies of levers are only inert masses, merely able to transmit the action of moving forces without ever increasing them: It is the motor force which is everything. Modern man has discovered several motor forces, or rather has created them: because, though their elements be necessarily pre-existing, in nature, their dissemination nullifies them in this respect; they only acquire the quality of moving forces through artificial means, such as the expansive force of water reduced to steam, as the upward force which launches the aerostatic balloon.'

    This notion fundamentally refutes the mechanical interpretation of the laws of thermodynamics, as well as the simplistic interpretation of the principle of conservation of energy attributed to Carnot. It also destroys the stupid arguments of today's ecology movement for solar energy, for new "diffuse" sources of energy.

    If man wants to progress, he must create new forms of energy of greater and greater densities. This implies precise social and political considerations which Carnot was to elaborate in his first writings, "Eloge de Vauban" ("In Praise of Vauban") (1784) and "Memoire sur les Places Fortes" ("Memorandum on Fortifications") (1788).

  6. The libs have been working on dumbing down the schools for a very long time so this choice of material is not a surprise.

    If you ask me, I think the student who missed this goofy assignment learned more staying at home. Sad, isn't it?

  7. John D. Rockefeller, who funded Dewey and others of his ilk, said: "I don't want a world of thinkers. I want a world of workers." He got half of his wish.

  8. The government has to start them young for them to turn on those they can no longer identify with. And they are taught who they are. The check list grows daily. The latest are those who do not comport to the ideal weight. Fines coming next. T

  9. Man (Evil Corporations) is evil for cutting down all the trees.

  10. It is all part of the Sustainability movement concocted by Teresa and John Kerry ... dyed in the wool communists that they are ...

    Meanwhile, parents sit around and do absolutely nothing.

    Listen carefully. Can you hear it? America is being flushed.

  11. That's really terrible. If they'd spent that weeking watching Sponge Bob, no one would have complained but I guess the teacher never thought of that.

    I don't see this as an issue. One isolated instance of a teacher taking a week's break watching movies is nothing new to our schools. When I was in grammar school we watched things like Nikki Nikky Tembo No So Rembo Oo May Moochi Gamma Gamma Goochi. Do you like that one? That was about a Chinese kid who fell down a well and drowned because no one could remember his name long enough to get help for him. Then there were the Little Black Sambo stories and so forth.

    I think I'll take The Lorax over that other crap any day of the week. This story does not excite me. Sorry, nothing to see here, move along.

  12. Are you freaking kidding me?? The Lorax??

    I don't even think I have the words to articulate the absurdity of this lesson.

    My gosh!

  13. LOL re Mr. AOW's comment.

    thanks for bringing this one to my attention AOW. I really cannot even imagine what I would do if I were in that mother's shoes.

    wait a minute, yes I do: homeschool.


  14. My film class studied Welles' "The Magnificent Ambersons". Couple good essays on industrialization and class mobility.

    She should send her kids up north.

  15. Duck,
    Northern Virginia is not considered "The South."

    BTW, the key word in your essay is "essays." In the Western Civ through Film class that I'm teaching this year, students often have a writing assignment. And we don't spend hours of class time watching films!

  16. Bob,
    The week off to watch The Lorax was one example of what passes for education in some GT classes. In the case of this particular school, the problem of taking a week off with frequency is happening across curricular lines -- except for mathematics. In my own knowledge, the problem of non-education at that particular school, which is supposed to provide a good basis for one of "the best" high schools in the entire United States, goes back at least 5 years; about that long ago, my ophthalmologist was horrified that his son was doing almost nothing in most of his classes.

    Recently, there was an article revealing that "advanced" classes were actually doing less work than "regular" classes. Hmmmm....

    It is no wonder that colleges are now offering numerous credit courses for remedial work -- and that students have to get at least a master's degree to reach any decent standard of competency in various subjects. Consider the cost of a college tuition, and the scam becomes apparent.

  17. As a teacher, I do use films in the classroom. In fact, in a few weeks, I plan to show The Miracle Worker to my middle school classes.

  18. About honors courses is mathematics and worth reading:

    'Honors' math classes often don't add up: Study finds many courses are advanced in name only.

    If your child's school says she's enrolled in "Honors Algebra," here's a bit of advice: Check the work she's doing.

    A new analysis of textbooks, curriculums and transcripts of nearly 18,000 students nationwide suggests that millions of kids in so-called "honors" algebra and geometry classes are actually getting intermediate-level work — or worse.

    "It's a lot of kids that are obviously getting courses that are called one thing, but difficulty-wise look like they're something else," said Jack Buckley, commissioner of the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics. There's "little truth-in-labeling" for high school math courses, he said.

    The agency's analysis, out Tuesday, began as an attempt to solve a mystery: Researchers were trying to find out why more students were taking "advanced" classes in 2005 than in 1990 but weren't turning in better results on nationally administered 12th-grade math and science tests.

    Tuesday's findings suggest that their course offerings were often "advanced" in name only: Fewer than one in five high school graduates who took an "honors" Algebra I class in high school got "rigorous" work in the course. A full 73% got what researchers called "intermediate" level work, while 9% in honors classes got "beginner" level work. In fact, a greater proportion of students enrolled in regular algebra classes got advanced work, the study found — 34% vs. 18% in "honors" courses....

    More at the above link.

  19. IMO, its the quality of work that makes this outrageous. Yes, teachers show films on occasion, and it can actually be education. Hey, in literature a week ago, we watched a film- about one of the most influential poets in history. And it wasn't a cartoon, but a bibliography. High level work, fitting of our level of education.

    The Lorax is for six-year-olds. Maybe a preschool class could do that, but middle school? You must be joking! Dr. Susses is for children and only children, all those kids are far, FAR beyond that level of work. And not even a paper analyzing the film, really? What is the point of showing it then? To waste time? Well, if to waste time, that is a massive issue. You don't stick a kid in a concrete room for six hours or more and then just waste time. All the kids could have just stayed at home then. And to have nothing coming back is atrocious, it proves nothing was learned.


  20. Wildstar,
    Bad enough that a class at this level spent AN ENTIRE WEEK watching The Lorax. But no paper written? Not even an exercise in how to write a film review? Surreal!

  21. A week of lessons in the practical application of
    _____ Twenty Mule Team BORAX
    Would have a far more beneficial effect on pupils
    _____ than study of Ted Geisel's The LORAX
    Another egregious example
    _____ of how we've been put to ill use
    By a clever subversive creep
    _____ who calls himself Dr. Seuss!

  22. FT,
    Love that bit of verse that you wrote!

    Apparently, however, Dr. Seuss is beloved by many. I myself have never felt that way. Reading The Cat in the Hat a few times was enough for me!

  23. Well AOW, I was on skype with my 4 year old niece who's living in Norfolk and she pulled out a map and named the countries of Central America.

    She missed Costa Rica and Honduras but probably beat out a lot of high schoolers.

    What can you say? Family stimulus?

  24. I wrote about what I'm going to explain to my kids about the book here:
    and I found a very excellent parody here:
    A few weeks later I read a fine essay about the book, which Seuss intended to be propaganda, in National Review. I'm a big fan of Seuss, and I don't expect to agree on everything with him. I will continue introducing my children to his work, but I don't think The Lorax is that great. It's lacking thematically.
    Showing a film in a class, let alone an AP class, is just gross.

  25. Showing films to a class is a fine way to learn -- depending in the film, of course, ;-) -- BUT the showing needs to be followed by intelligent discussion led by a teacher who has made a list of pertinent questions, and THEN it needs to be followed by a written assignment discussing one of several topic sentences given by the teacher. After that an exam should be given containing a series of multiple choice, true and false, and matching questions and one essay question.

    If the teacher makes a habit of using films to "babysit" the class while he, she or it files their nails, flosses their teeth, applies lipstick, reviews personal email, texts on their cellphone, surfs the net for a hot date, or does online shopping, etc. the teacher is reprehensible and should be subjected to disciplinary action.

  26. Duck,
    I think that your niece's proficiency in geography is excellent.

    But you DO know what many "educators" would say, right? Rote memorization must be annihilated because memorization is not "critical thinking."

    What can you say? Family stimulus?

    IMO, yes.

    Word of advice: when your niece begins formal schooling, encourage her parents to make sure that the school system doesn't destroy her desire to learn.

  27. Edge,
    Do you have a link for that National Review article? If so, I'd appreciate seeing it. Thanks.

  28. FT,
    I couldn't agree more with your last comment!

    Now, on RARE occasions I have used films to babysit the class: when there was a flu epidemic, and over half the faculty and the student body were absent. The films were along the lines of The Miracle Worker, Ben Hur, The King and I, etc. These occasions I'm mentioning transpired in a private school, which kept a wonderful library of films "for emergency purposes."

  29. Yes, AOW. No teacher can "MAKE"or "FORCE" pupils to become devoted scholars with a deep thirst for knowledge, BUT I believe it is every teacher's duty to work toward that end, because there ARE times when it IS possible, and we must be ready to take full advantage when the opportunity arises. The primary duty of any school should be to create and maintain a classroom atmosphere conducive to learning at all times.

    I know the adage very well "You can lead a whore to culture, but you cannot make her think" and all that, but as a teacher you MUST provide the "culture" in case she WANTS to take advantage of it.

    Anything less is fraud pure and simple.

  30. I wouldn't call it rote at all, AOW.

    For a young child to make the connection between shapes on a map and names requires good developmental skills.

    Then you get into the idea of political subdivision and start breaking down continents, nations, regions, cities.

    Quite complicated for the little ones, actually.
    For some of the older ones, too.

    We try to give Caleigh a lot of stimulus and let her follow her interests but the experience she gets at pre-school is invaluable.
    I'm a big advocate of universal pre-school but you could have guessed that.

  31. Duck,
    I agree with you about the significance of geography. I was just mentioning what the "educational jargon" is today.

    Somewhere along the way, so many schools have dropped the teaching of ANY geography. Talk about strangers in a strange land. Sheesh.

  32. When "Lorax" first hit the movie theaters, it coincided with a a promise I had made to take the kids to some movie. I read the description of the movie, and decide to take the kids to another animated movie, called "Brave." I am glad I made that choice.

  33. Bob,
    Dr. Seuss made no secret of his own views about The Lorax, that the story was pure propaganda.

    I can understand why you opted out of taking your kids to see the film.


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