The Education Carnival is Up
And hosted by History Is Elementary, where,
Quite simply History Is Elementary is a site for history teachers and anyone who enjoys reading about history and history education. Posts include opinions, information on content, teaching strategies, and some of my day to day adventures in teaching
Grade her A+
While there, be sure to read Is Scrotum a Dirty Word?
Elementary Education is sounding and looking more and more like pornographic Higher Education.
Thank you (foot)notes:
Full Disclosure: Your Business Blogger has an undergraduate degree in Education.
All this fuss over a single word. Its not even a slang word – its the correct one. Is sex such a huge taboo that its forbidden to even acknowledge the existance of anatomical terms for the reproductive organs? I might understand if this was a graphic description, but… its not.
Interesting that librarians will fight tooth and claw to protect scrotum but will excise huge passages in Huck Finn for the using an antiquated description of African-Americans.
Oh, classic books come under fire all the time, from all groups… Last year, the most challenged book in school libraries was the award winning ‘A Handmaid’s Tale,’ a scifi/social-commentary which attracted a record number of complaints from parents due in part to its sexual references and in part to its portrayal of an oppressive Christian theocracy.
Ironicly, another oft-challened book is 1984, which comes under fire for its anti-war message each time there is a war in progress.
Of Mice and Men joins Huck Finn as a book attacked for acknowledging historical racism, and often on the one-word reflex… ‘nigger,’ like ‘scrotum,’ is a word which prompts calls for cencorship regardless of its usage.
An increasing trend in recent years, driven by the rising influence of fundamentalist christianity, is the parent-demanded restriction of fantasy books for ‘promoting witchcraft’ or similar un-biblical content. Harry Potter is the most attacked here, reflecting perhaps the past moral panic over Dungeons and Dragons games.
And all this time I thought The Handmaid’s Tale was just a laughably lousy story by a dyspeptic Canadian.
Doesn’t matter if its good or bad – its read in schools, and it presses a taboo by portreying a Christian society in a negative way. Thats going to create some response. The sex alone would get a little attention, but its the religion that seems to get parents really fired up… they want to believe that Christianity is inherently good, incapable of causing harm, and anything that causes them to doubt this will be denied.
Luckily in the school district I work the fevered imaginings of Atwood are not taught to the seniors. Many of them came from countries were they were persecuted for being Christians so they might not understand the subtlety.
As a work of fiction her views of a “Christian society” are no more real then Harry Potter which even the freshmen understand to be make believe.
Again, doesn’t matter – of course its fiction, but its still an oppressive society organised on Christian princibles. Its enough to threaten the cherished illusion that Christianity is not just inherently good, but that all dedicated Christians are incapable of being violent or oppressive.
There are a few past Christian cultures that come close to Atwood’s vision. The puritans are the most famous. And dont forget the witch-trials that florished for a time. Catholics were good at brutal oppression for a few centuries too – their inquision turned it into an art.
As I mentioned, being clear fiction wasn’t enough to protect Harry Potter from a couple of demands for cencorship, and even a few ceremonial book-burnings. Small in number, but if noone stands up for free speech its possible for a single parent to get a book removed from a cirriculum and school library.
Our tutors and teachers are under paid and over worked.