April 03, 2004

AGENDA

Is there any doubt that academia leans to the Left? Check out these examples on independent/dependent clauses from the textbook I'm using in my English class:

3. It may seem profitless to worry about a nuclear holocaust--a third world war in which entire continents could be wiped out. However, after we study the historical trends of world powers and realize how simple it is to create nuclear power, common sense dictates that the possibility must be confronted honestly.

4. One of the odd things foreigners notice about Americans--whether Republicans or Democrats, urban dwellers or country folks--is their intolerance. This intolerance frequently extends to race, creeds, and role expectations, carrying with it a willingness to shun and physically punish the ones perceived as different. It often baffles foreigners, many of whom regard the United States Constitution, with its emphasis on respect for individual freedoms, as enshrining just the opposite principles of tolerance and understanding.

7. When a poor, unemployed woman, struggling to keep her children clothed and fed on a paltry welfare check, sees her neighbor working as a waitress even though the neighbor's husband has a steady job as a mechanic at the local Chevrolet dealer, she may become resentful. The waitress, of course, may feel guilty, knowing that she has a job whereas her neighbor has not been able to find one. That is why our government must create an economy that is healthy enough to provide a job for everyone who is able and willing to work.

So no matter what I say in my classroom, I'm unwillingly supporting this textbook whose blatant Leftist agenda makes me cringe. Americans feel guilty about their wealth, are going to cause a nuclear holocaust, and are so intolerant that other countries look down on them.

Tell that to Sweden, North Korea, and France, respectively.


MORE TO GROK:

Yes, I was indeed a last-minute hire (hired exactly eleven days before the class started), but it wouldn't have mattered anyway. The school I work for has campuses all over the world, nearly everywhere that servicemembers are stationed. They encourage uniformity of text and syllabus so that someone who takes this class in Germany is getting just about the same thing as someone taking the class in Bosnia or Okinawa. The decision on the texts is made at a much higher level than little ol' me.

And one of the students did comment on these sentences when he turned in his homework. He said, "What's with all the depressing examples?"

MORE:

Check out my students' examples from their homework.

MORE:

See a detailed look at Chapter 3 here.

Posted by: Sarah at 10:00 AM | Comments (25) | Add Comment
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1 Why did you list Sweden and France together with North Korea? In my eyes, they are on different planes of vileness. There are Leftists, and then there are LEFTISTS. I am not excusing Sweden and France. On the contrary, this kind of conflation can trivialize the evil of North Korea by giving it an implicit veneer of civilization that it does not deserve. Anyway, that book is sick, and I shall attack the passages on my site shortly. Thanks for sharing.

Posted by: Amritas at April 03, 2004 10:40 AM (ohc9/)

2 It used to be that teachers had some say in what text books they were going to use...is that no longer the case?

Posted by: Susie at April 03, 2004 11:07 AM (dD4I4)

3 Marc - I think Sarah is saying that Swedes feel guilty about their wealth, the North Koreans are likely to cause a nuclear holocaust, and the French are intolerant.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at April 03, 2004 11:37 AM (+S1Ft)

4 Thanks, Pixy. The parallelism went right past me because the order of points in the passage is slightly different - I would have expected North Korea first, France second, and Sweden last. But now I see she was referring back to her penultimate sentence.

Posted by: Amritas at April 03, 2004 11:43 AM (ohc9/)

5 Susie, I don't know about Sarah's situation, but as a last minute hire I can tell you that if one gets a job at the last moment one has to use books ordered months in advance by someone else. It is, of course, possible to have those books returned and have students order new books through Amazon.com, but that's a hassle.

Posted by: Amritas at April 03, 2004 11:45 AM (ohc9/)

6 That's a textbook? For what course? "Leftists Lies About America"? "The French Point of View"? Wow... how on Earth are you going to survive this class?

Posted by: CavalierX at April 03, 2004 11:58 AM (sA6XT)

7 Sarah, Sorry for the misunderstanding. Susie, I was hired as a professor at the last minute. Sorry I didn't make that clear. Cavalier, It's a textbook to speak English the French way. Talk like a Frenchman without learning French! OK, that was really low ...

Posted by: Amritas at April 03, 2004 12:45 PM (ohc9/)

8 And you were worried about bringing your writing in to the class as an example! it would be interesting to see the comparative reaction of students to your work and the ideas in this text.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at April 03, 2004 05:13 PM (CSxVi)

9 Stephen's right. See if your students agree or disagree with the text. Have them discuss or, better yet, write their reactions to it.

Posted by: Amritas at April 03, 2004 05:34 PM (ikrbX)

10 Sarah, When I was going to school in Minnesota (U of M, Twin Cities), I always dismissed the textbook issue as one of professors spweing thier party lines and hidden agendas. Here in Korea, when students complain about the text the profs always say that's what Troy State, UMUC, or CTC "makes" them use, and if they want to complain about it, use the course critique sheet and it might change next term or the acedemic next year. Do you have any say, or is Amritas correct about the short fuse of just getting hired?

Posted by: KimcheeGI at April 03, 2004 07:11 PM (/h9nV)

11 No wonder everyone hates Americans! But they sure don't turn down our foreign aid money and protection, do they?

Posted by: Madfish Willie at April 04, 2004 02:12 AM (JxHpA)

12 Yup, all the other people of the world look down on us. They all hate us. All of them. All except the people in the rafts and overloaded boats who are dying to get here.

Posted by: homebru at April 04, 2004 02:26 AM (1DyE4)

13 And us Australians, who kind of like you. But why do you keep pulling all the good shows off TV? Futurama, Buffy, Angel, Firefly... Sob.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at April 04, 2004 09:35 AM (+S1Ft)

14 homebru, True, but the sad thing is that the kids and grandkids of "the people in the rafts and overloaded boats who are dying to get here" sometimes end up hating the country that saved their families. The first generation groks freedom, but later generations may take it for granted.

Posted by: Amritas at April 04, 2004 10:32 AM (T8ud7)

15 I just remembered one class in international relations I took in college. The text was written by the professor teaching the course. Even needing the grade and the credits I wasn't able to keep my mouth shut. I will give him credit for grading me based on my understanding of the material and not on my disagreement with his politics. And I secretly hope it hurt just a little to give me that A.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at April 04, 2004 11:16 AM (CSxVi)

16 Sarah..nice blog. I want to write about this, and want to be sure I have the reference right. The book is "From Idea to Essay," published by Pearson Education...is that right? What is the context around these preposterous paragraphs? Is it stuff about writing, or more stuff about politics?

Posted by: David Foster at April 04, 2004 09:26 PM (XUtCY)

17 Give me a break... (1) Gee, why is your first example considered a "liberal" example??? Wasn't Condi Rice supposed to give a speech on 9/11 about the immediate threat of nuclear missile attack from unstable regimes, and how necessary it is for us to create a "Star Wars" missile defense??? (2) I don't doubt one can find a few "liberal" examples in grammar texts... but your few anecdotes don't prove anything... I'm sure I could find a few "conservative" examples... Trying to prove a point by reliance on anecdotes is futile, because those who disagree could easily find competing anecdotes... So unless you have an objective study of some sort, then this is pointless...

Posted by: jab at April 04, 2004 09:28 PM (pMjZc)

18 >Talk like a Frenchman without learning French! Shoot, I can teach you THAT. Light up a Gauloise, take a drag, hold it between thumb and forefinger, stare down your nose, and say, "Life? Life ees merde."

Posted by: CavalierX at April 04, 2004 09:41 PM (sA6XT)

19 "Wasn't Condi Rice supposed to give a speech on 9/11 about the immediate threat of nuclear missile attack from unstable regimes"...so..you think there *isn't* a danger of a nuclear missile attack (on us, or on Japan) from North Korea? Do you feel absolutely certain that there is no danger of such attack from any of the countries acquiring Chinese missile technology, or building their own? How many lives are you willing to bet on that conclusion? The fact that "a" is a threat in no way proves that "b" is not also a threat.

Posted by: David Foster at April 04, 2004 10:09 PM (XUtCY)

20 I think most of the military personnel would understand the difference between nuclear power and nuclear weapons. One does not necessarily lead to the other.

Posted by: D. Woolwine at April 05, 2004 01:50 AM (ZZ+/m)

21 Mr. Foster, The host gave the following as an example of LIBERAL bias in a grammar text: "It may seem profitless to worry about a nuclear holocaust--a third world war in which entire continents could be wiped out. However, after we study the historical trends of world powers and realize how simple it is to create nuclear power, common sense dictates that the possibility must be confronted honestly." The host claimed this is proof of "liberal bias"? How is worrying about the possibility of nuclear war "liberal bias"? I pointed out that conservatives such as Dr. Condi Rice also worry about the possibility of nuclear war... so much in fact that she was supposed to give a speech on the need for missile defense shield... So again, how is this exaample from a grammar text an instance of liberal bias? If you reread my post, I never said nuclear war was not a threat, I merely pointed out that Condi Rice thought it was a threat... so this example cannot be proof of liberal bias.

Posted by: jab at April 05, 2004 03:28 AM (pMjZc)

22 Perhaps I was hasty in assuming that this first example was biased, but a comment about "world powers" seems directed to the US to me and not to, say, Pakistan or North Korea, two countries we should be worried about but that aren't considered "world powers". Condi Rice used "unstable regimes" and not "world powers", which is not saying the same thing as this sentence in the textbook, in my opinion. Even if I admit that #3 was a weak example, that's still two shockingly Left-leaning sentences in an exercise of only ten sentences. That's a strong bias, when none of the others leaned Right. (I can provide the other seven if you're really interested.) David: there was no context at all. This was a grammar exercise where the students were supposed to add dependent clauses to sentences to flesh out the ideas. These were the possible examples given at the end of the exercise. If they had been in the chapter on argumentative writing instead, that would have made some sense to me. But in the grammar review?

Posted by: Sarah at April 05, 2004 11:20 AM (ctmsL)

23 Sarah, As for my second point... I'm sure I could go to the library, dig up some grammar books, find examples of supposed conservative bias, and post them... Would that change your mind? No, I didn't think so... because I hope you're smart enough to realize that argument by anecdote is POINTLESS... you post your examples, I post mind... gets us nowhere... On the other hand, if you can point to an objective study showing bias, that would be different... but I'm not going to get worked up by a couple of anecdotes... some weak at that.

Posted by: jab at April 05, 2004 01:37 PM (pMjZc)

24 Well, jab, you seem to be pretty "worked up" to me...

Posted by: Sarah at April 05, 2004 04:40 PM (ctmsL)

25 They are ALL weak examples of so-called liberal bias. Yes, provide all ten examples, so we can judge for ourselves and not through your right-wing blinders.

Posted by: florian at April 05, 2004 04:53 PM (ekKvC)

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