I recently came across this disturbing description of the 9th grade English curriculum being pushed on our nation’s schools via the federal government’s “Common Core” curriculum. The description was penned by a teacher who simply couldn’t believe she was being asked to teach this to 13 or 14-year-old kids, during a section of the text that is supposed to show students “How individuals demonstrate individuality in the face of outside pressures.”
The short story is The Mother of Monsters (link below). A quick summary of the story is that a gentleman on vacation is introduced to the Mother of Monsters, a local oddity described as a “peasant” and the “Devil”. Her story is that she finds herself pregnant while she is working as a simple serving girl. She binds her body with boards and cords to hide her growing belly. Her child is born horribly deformed. She takes care of the child, but resents it, until a sideshow man comes along and offers to buy the “thing” and to pay a yearly stipend for its use. Once she realizes how much money she can make, she repeats her pregnancy pattern by birthing monster after monster after monster of intentionally deformed children to sell to showmen. She lives a “bourgeois” life as a result (note the stab at the bourgeois here)…
The narrator is reminded of this “Devil” when he later sees a popular “Parissiane” strolling on a beach followed by admirers. Her three children are also all deformed because she wants to maintain her trim figure throughout her pregnancies, so she keeps her corset tightly cinched. Peasant and lady; different, yet the same. Both the Mother of Monsters. Both display a level of selfish evil that most humans would revile.
Now as a high school story, this story may have a lot of meat to chew on for discussion…for maybe 11th or 12thgraders, but this is a story assigned to incoming 9th graders, students who are 13 or 14 years old. Students this age are not ready to handle the truly disturbing elements of a story which reveals some of the most perverse sides of human nature. That is bad enough; however, it gets worse. You may wonder what this story has to do with To Kill a Mockingbird and the theme of individuality. Here is the writing assignment associated with this story:
Write an essay that compares the cultural experience reflected in To Kill a Mockingbird and The Mother of Monsters and explain how this experience helped a character demonstrate individuality in the face of outside pressure…
This is a prime example of the power liberals have established over our educational system. They control the education departments at major universities, just as they control the English departments (and all other departments, it seems). As a result, they also control the curriculum writing process. So a brand of radical liberalism that originates in our universities trickles down to thirteen year old kids and begins, at that young age, to shape their worldview.
In the story above, a woman who intentionally disfigures her offspring is held up alongside Atticus Finch as a would-be literary hero–a paragon of strength and individuality in the face of outside scorn! Can there be any mistaking the ideological origins of this line of thought, one which privileges a woman’s absolute right to set aside the life and welfare of her child no matter what the circumstance? Is this not the same ideology that radical abortion rights advocates have been espousing for decades?
This isn’t education. It’s political indoctrination.
The example above is just one more reason why federal control of curriculum is dangerous. It puts too much power in the hands of a small number of curriculum planners–whose beliefs are liberal to the extreme almost without exception. Subtly, yet relentlessly, the academic elite shape the belief system of a generation of young people. And states, as well as local school systems, have no choice but to go along with this agenda, or else they lose millions in federal funding.
Sounds like a perfect recipe for liberal indoctrination. Worst of all, you and I are funding it with our tax dollars.
Nathan Harden is editor of The College Fix and author of the book SEX & GOD AT YALE: Porn, Political Correctness, and a Good Education Gone Bad.