School daze

Posted: Sep 06, 2001 12:00 AM
The beginning of another school year affords opportunities for politicians to complain that not enough money is being spent on education and for others to observe the disappointing results from the record amounts of money that have already been spent on our public schools. Occasionally, one sees evidence of how young minds are being manipulated in these institutions to accept a certain point of view about politics and the world. One such example is found in a publication called, "Editorial Cartoons by Kids-2001," published by News Currents of Madison, Wis., which describes itself as "a weekly current events discussion program (with print and Internet components)...(covering) important and interesting news and feature stories for students in a radically old-fashioned way..." They have the radical part right, although by that they mean, "we rely on the skill of teachers and the curiosity of motivated kids." Looking at the editorial cartoons drawn by children from kindergarten to high school reveals an ideology that's mostly liberal. Jake Zingler, a fourth grader in Albuquerque, N.M., won second place in the contest for his cartoon of three pigs -- labeled "rich," "GOP Congress" and "big business" -- eating at a trough. A sign over the trough reads, "Bush Tax Cut." Keenan Fernandez, a sixth grader from Albany, N.Y., has a man standing in front of George W. Bush. The man says, "I think, therefore I am." In the next panel, President Bush evaporates. The point seems to be that Bush doesn't think, therefore he isn't. Natasha Bax, a Los Angeles fifth grader, has drawn two restroom doors. One has a male symbol and is labeled (Attorney General) "John Ashcroft's Office." The other has a female symbol and is labeled "Out of Order." It doesn't get any better in junior high. Breanne Sullivan, a seventh grader from Wilmington, Del., has drawn figures representing President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney. They stand on a "yellow brick road." The cartoon is titled, "The Wizard of Oz Party" and is subtitled, "1 doesn't have a brain. 1 doesn't have a heart." Amelia Quist, of Watertown, Wis., depicts President Bush violating church-state separation by destroying the Constitution. Several entries take the Democrats' view that Bush stole the election, and that Republicans are polluters and don't care about the poor. Will Hubbard, a 12th grader in North Palm Beach, Fla., has drawn a cartoon featuring a chess board. The king is topped with a dollar sign and the queen with a cross. The rooks are the GOP elephant symbol, the bishops are Cheney and Ashcroft, and the pawn is President Bush. Hubbard won first place in the "senior level" competition. Mike Luckovich, editorial cartoonist for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, praises the work: "The kids are not only aware of what's going on in the country and the world, they also have the intelligence to comment on issues in a cogent and often funny way," he states on the back of the publication. It is good that children are thinking about their world, but that they mostly reflect a single point of view is the stuff of nations that indoctrinate children. Woodrow Wilson, one of our most idealistic presidents, said, "The great melting-pot of America, the place where we are all made Americans of, is the public school, where men of every race, and of every origin, and of every station of life send their children, or ought to send their children, and where, being mixed together, they are all infused with the American spirit and developed into the American man and the American woman." Not anymore. If these editorial cartoons accurately depict what's going into and coming out of young American minds, public education, which increasingly fails the nation in too many categories, is succeeding in churning out more young people made in the liberal image. This imposition of liberalism is being accomplished with the tax dollars of many people who do not share a liberal point of view. No wonder liberals oppose freedom of school choice for parents.