Premise Of An Amoral Universe
Language of Literature, Grades 7-8 (McDougal, 2001) encourages
students to separate action from ethical knowledge. Vice is often
unpunished or even rewarded.
- Lying pays.
pp. 21- 25, "Seventh Grade"
- Detective lets reformed thief go, depriving victims of redress.
pp. 164 - 170, "A Retrieved Reformation"
- Good and bad deeds are conscience-less role-playing.
pp. 349 - 356, "One Ordinary Day, with Peanuts"
- Thrill over getting in trouble for wrongdoing; misbehavior is fun.
pp. 382 - 386, "from An American Childhood "
- Aliens prey with impunity on human weakness; humans blamed instead.
pp. 416 - 428, "Monsters Are Due on Maple Street"
- 3 lies, no negative consequences
pp. 523 - 529, "The White Umbrella"
- Manipulative woman succeeds through intimidation.
pp. 554 - 560, "A Defenseless Creature"
- Mom lies to get her son a job.
pp. 622 - 628, from "Growing Up"
- Deception pays.
pp. 842 - 845, "Lazy Peter and His Three-Cornered Hat"
- Kindergartner lies about misdeeds.
pp. 5 - 11, "Charles"
- Orphan lies to conceal orphanhood.
pp. 60 - 65, "A Mother in Mannville"
- Honesty, dishonesty on ethical par
p. 284, lower left, "Inquiry and Research," lines 7-10
- Son's small lie deflects disapproval.
p. 396, col. 2, par. 1, lines 1-3
- Boy twice gets away with breaking promise to drive carefully.
p. 396, col. 2, par. 3, lines 28-30; p. 397, col. 1, lines 6-8; p. 402, col. 2, par. 1, lines 1-2
- Attractiveness of the criminal mind
p. 696, par. 2, lines 6-7
- Boys use their family's good name to conceal their theft of a horse.
pp. 840 - 847, "The Summer Of The Beautiful White Horse"
- Women achieve goals through 6 lies.
pp. 942 - 945, "The Souls In Purgatory
Advocacy-Driven Story Content
Race conflict trumps literary breadth in Literature: The Reader's Choice, Grade 8 (Glencoe, 2001), which harps on white
oppression with blacks as principal victims. Christianity is the only religion insulted.
- Inflammatory racist fiction bordering on hate speech:
stereotypical white bigot
pp. 857 - 864, "The Woman in the Snow"
- Triple treatment of sit-ins, with two photos; hate-filled,
pp. TX22 - TX24, "My Grandmother's Sit-In"
p. 492, "The Fight for Civil Rights"
p. 505, "Sit-ins"
- Two descriptions of Jim Crow libraries
p. TX27, col. 2, lines 1-13
p. 492, par. 1, lines 3-6
- Cruel whites mistreat black slaves.
pp. 389 - 392, "The People Could Fly"
- White trader cheats Indians.
p. 421, "Coyote and Wasichu"
- White Christians blamed for enforcing Fugitive Slave Act, but white Christian West's lead in worldwide abolition censored.
p. 482, col. 1, par. 1, lines 9-11 and 15-17
p. 489, no. 9, lines 2-4
p. 489, right margin, no. 9 (Teacher's Edition)
- Multiple references to U.S. relocation of Japanese Americans during WWII; silence on WWII massacres by Japanese in China, and the Bataan death march
p. 26, col. 2, par. 5, lines 1-5
p. 32, col. 1, bottom 2 lines - col. 2, line 1
p. 34, col. 2, par. 2, lines 5-6
- Negative reference to Lutherans
p. 575, col. 1, par. 2, lines 10-13
- Hinduism preferred over Christianity
p. 575, col. 2, lines 1-3
p. 576, col. 1, par. 1, lines 15-19
Preoccupation With Grief And Dying
Language of Literature, Grade 8 (McDougal, 2001) invites
emotionally fragile students, at risk for self-destructive
behavior, to unhealthy life choices. Its message is that life is
cruel, that life and death are similar and it is hard to tell
where the one ends and the other begins, that death may cure some
hurts, and that implied suicide is thinkable. This promotes irresponsible acts by vulnerable youths.
- Living man feels dead.
pp. 49 - 54, "Stop The Sun"
- Killing someone is easy, watching him die is hard.
p. 55, "from Dear America"
- Helplessness, resignation in disaster
pp. 160 - 165, "Story Of An Eyewitness"
- Inexorable decay, inconsolable sorrow, probable early death
pp. 221 - 245, "Flowers for Algernon"
- Admiration for suicidal risk-taking in which the risk-taker dies
pp. 575 - 583, "A Running Brook of Horror"
- Mother who cannot provide for her son in life, does so in death.
pp. 648 - 651, "The Ballad of the Harp-Weaver"
- Dead man feels alive.
pp. 655 - 665, "The Hitchhiker"
- Contemplation of death, maybe suicide
p. 665, "Mourning Grace"
- Death with contentment
pp. 673 - 678, "The Third Wish"
- Death unites lovers.
pp. 938 - 941, "Orpheus And Eurydice"
Moral Equivalence Of Right And Wrong
Literature: Timeless Voices, Timeless Themes, Grade 7
(Prentice, 2001) cripples character development toward ethical
goals through selections in which bad acts have good results or
callousness goes unrebuked.
- Exploiting another's hurt for selfish ends: daughter manipulates
mother's sorrow over losing two baby girls, to avoid piano
lessons; no retribution for disrespect or rebelliousness toward
pp. 15 - 25, "Two Kinds, from The Joy Luck Club"
- By disobeying his mother, a boy saves a mountain-climber's life.
pp. 210 - 216, "A Boy and a Man"
- Hypocrisy pays if you get away with it: a soldier who once deserted becomes a general who harshly punishes deserters.
p. 234, "Lonely Particular"
- Romanticized crook has more honor and courage than brutish lawmen do.
pp. 300 - 305, "The Highwayman"
- Psychosomatic fantasy rewarded: fake illness lands a big fish.
pp. 484 - 487, "Stolen Day"
- Greed normalized, guilt de-bunked
pp. 838 - 839, "The Princess and the Tin Box"
- Non-judgmentalism toward peer rejection, group ostracism, emotional alienation, individual isolation, physical separation,
pp. 288 - 294, "All Summer in a Day"
Overwhelming Pagan Theism
One or more deities are active in 11 story-lines in Elements of
Literature, Grade 7 (Holt, 2001). Ten of those readings, totaling
1547 lines, involve pagan divinities, compared to just one 91-line
reading that refers to the Judeo-Christian God — a disproportionality
of 10 stories to 1, or a ratio of 17 lines to 1. This bias toward pagan over Biblical sources isolates students from such standard
literary figures and allusions as the Tower of Babel, the parting of the Red Sea, and the handwriting on the wall.
Double Standard By Culture, Creed, And Cause
Literature: Timeless Voices, Timeless Themes, Grade 8
(Prentice, 2001) slants coverage of specific religions, issues,
and groups as liberal ideology dictates. Of all religions anytime
anywhere, it links only Christianity with slavery but not with
worldwide abolition as well. Four readings treat environmentalism
not as debatable public policy, but as a secular article of faith.
In three storylines, whites alone are sexist, with no pejorative
allusion to gender bias among people of color.
Meanness Of Whites To People Of Color
In Elements of Literature, Grade 8 (Holt, 2001), whites are the
lone racists, the sole victimizers, the only cultural imperialists. All brutal, chauvinist exploiters are also white.
There are no xenophobic Japanese, or inhumane Indians, or intolerant blacks.
- Junior high student's fictional account of cruel whites, suffering blacks in ante-bellum U.S.
p. 569, "Freedom Walk"
- Folk tale about oppressive whites, mistreated slaves in Old South
pp. 574 - 577, "The People Could Fly"
- White misperceptions and misrepresentations of Indians
pp. 631 - 633, "The First Americans"
- White ostracism of Indians from American civilization
p. 633, "Indians"
- Unjust white internment of Issei and Nisei during WWII
pp. 645 - 650, "Camp Harmony from Nisei Daughter"
- Separation of friends by U.S. re-location of West Coast Japanese during WWII
p. 652, "In Response to Executive Order 9066"
- Whites persecute peaceful blacks.
pp. 681 - 682, "from The Power of Nonviolence"
- Outside readings on white injustice toward and/or killing of Japanese, Indians, blacks in U.S.
Swearing And Other Offensive Language
These books model attitudes or normalize language without redeeming educational value, coarsening the learning experience.
- "A flat chest, no hips, and a brain …."
"… my blouse fluttering where my breasts should have been."
"The neck was kind of low, but I was pretty flat, so I didn't need to worry about being indecent …."
Language of Literature, Grade 7 (McDougal, 2001), p. 279, col. 2, line 6; p. 282, col. 2, par. 3, lines 3-5; p. 607, col. 2, par. 1, lines 25-27
- "… they are damned if they will be locked in again."
" 'Life is no damn good,' …. "
" '… our damn Jews!' "
Literature: The Reader's Choice, Grade 8 (Glencoe, 2001), p. 41, col. 1, par. 1, lines 6-7; p. 156, col. 1, par. 1, line 6; p. 723, col. 1, bottom line
- A dog "relieved himself" on a stump.
Literature: Timeless Voices, Timeless Themes, Grade 8 (Prentice, 2001), p. 507, col. 2, par. 3, lines 4-6
- "He scratched his butt …."
Elements of Literature, Grade 8 (Holt, 2001), p. 508, line 2
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