Looking For a Secular Florida Umbrella School?

Saturday, March 27, 2004

The trade off

Living with blandly homogeneous demographics in a geographically isolated location:


1) Violent crime is non-existent (We don't even lock our doors. Never thought I could say that living in South Florida.)
2) Everything is very clean and neat


No good restaurants (Pizza is about as exotic as it gets)

To make up for this one shortcoming, G brought me some more Indian food last night when he returned. Vegetable somosas with tamarind sauce...the breakfast of champions.


My mother brought out a reading primer for L. a while back. I just finally took a good long look at it. Appalling. Bizarre. Too bad posting it would be a copyright infringement, 'cause you really need to see this.

Following is a sample. I've rewritten vowels marked with the long sound as UPPERCASE; silent letters written in a smaller type size, as non-bold italics; and blended sounds which are connected, as underlined, so that you can see how busy and confusing the page looks, but allowing for my limited knowledge of changing type styles within this post. Red type remains unchanged. The entire text is set in this giant, thick typeface, as if members of their audience were not just new readers, but completely myopic. It's like speaking loudly to someone who doesn't understand your language.

Running underneath each line of text is a red line beginning with a dot on the left and ending with an arrow on the right, to be sure the child knows which direction to go. I'll have to leave that to your imagination...

Story 94 (This book begins with Story 91, presumably there is a pre-primer with 90 simpler stories.)

a little fish sat on a fat fish. thE little fish said, "wow."
thE littl
e fish did not hAte thE fat fish. thE little fish said, "that fat fish is mom."

Story 96

a fish Ate a rock. thE fish said, "I Ate a rock."
a cow Ate thE fish. thE cow said, "I Ate a fish. and now I fEEl sick."

Story 97 (By now I guess the children are supposed to have figured out the meaning of the quotes, because they are no longer in red.)

shE can kick. shE can lick. shE said, "I am not a cat." she said, "I am not a fish." is shE a man?

The content is horrible. By the end of the book, twenty inane stories later, they have only doubled the number of words in each lesson, and nothing beyond monosyllables. Look what Dr. Seuss did with a limited vocabulary.

Why would they teach quotations, but not capitalization?

I'm so glad that I read The Language Police. It opened my eyes to the fact that even though most of the characters in the book are animals, there is still a balanced, politically correct cast of humans covered in the illustrations:

1 Caucasian boy
1 Asian girl
1 black boy and 1 black adult female
1 Caucasian girl kissing a darker Caucasian boy
1 Native American boy with 1 Native American girl in a wheelchair
1 Caucasian old woman
1 Caucasian girl
1 Hispanic girl, 1 Hispanic boy and 1 Hispanic old man
1 Caucasian old man
1 black girl, 1 black boy
1 old man who looks a lot like Abe Vigoda
1 possibly Hispanic adult male
1 black girl, 1 white boy playing in the sand box in the yard of a Caucasian man wearing dark sunglasses (is he blind? or just shady? do we need to have equal representation of child molesters too?)
1 morbidly obese black adult male
1 redneck farmer with a piece of hay sticking out of his mouth
1 black girl
1 Middle Eastern looking girl

Did we leave anyone out? I'm never politically correct, so if I've used the wrong terms in describing someone, oops.

This literary masterpiece, Reading Mastery I, Storybook 1, Rainbow Edition, is brought to you by the geniuses at SRA Macmillan/McGraw-Hill.

No comments: