Teaching Children To Be Good Little Socialists

Maureen Martin writes at TCS Daily about a school exercise that sounds like it came right out of The Communist Manifesto:

Some Seattle school children are being told to be skeptical of private property rights. This lesson is being taught by banning Legos.

A ban was initiated at the Hilltop Children’s Center in Seattle. According to an article in the winter 2006-07 issue of “Rethinking Schools” magazine, the teachers at the private school wanted their students to learn that private property ownership is evil.

According to the article, the students had been building an elaborate “Legotown,” but it was accidentally demolished. The teachers decided its destruction was an opportunity to explore “the inequities of private ownership.” According to the teachers, “Our intention was to promote a contrasting set of values: collectivity, collaboration, resource-sharing, and full democratic participation.”

(…)

At the end of that time, Legos returned to the classroom after the children agreed to several guiding principles framed by the teachers, including that “All structures are public structures” and “All structures will be standard sizes.” The teachers quote the children:

“A house is good because it is a community house.”

“We should have equal houses. They should be standard sizes.”

“It’s important to have the same amount of power as other people over your building.”

Sounds like a meeting of the Democratic National Committee.

Of course, not every child reacted well to having their Lego’s taken away:

Not all of the students shared the teachers’ anathema to private property ownership. “If I buy it, I own it,” one child is quoted saying.

No confirmation on whether this budding capitalist was named John Galt.

  • http://www.tfsternsrantings.blogspot.com T F Stern

    The song writer/perfomer, Harry Chapin, wrote a song about a child’s imagination being destroyed by a teacher intent on making that child conform.
    “Flowers are Red and Green Leaves are Green, there’s no need to see flowers any other way than the way they always have been seen.” But,as the song hopes to point out, “There are so many colors in the rainbow, so many colors in the morning sun, so many colors in the flowers, so let’s use everyone.”

  • http://www.freedomdemocrats.org/ LoganFerree

    What is the background of this private school? Checking over their website, they don’t seem to be religious.

  • http://kponly.blogspot.com Ryan

    Well, I guess every private institution is entitled to profess what it believs… this whole situation is pathetic though.

  • http://gottsegnet.blogspot.com Dana

    Why would you think they would be religious? I don’t know that much about it, but the approach they use (Reggio Emilia) stems from a socialist notion of the child:

    “Reggio Emilia’s tradition of community support for families with young children expands on Italy’s cultural view of children as the collective responsibility of the state.”

    That’s from Wikepedia…sorry but I don’t have time to do anything more thorough. At least that much seems in line with what little I do know.

  • http://www.lucysfrugalliving.blogspot.com Lucy Stern

    Left coast teachings…Look how what is happening to Arnold…..

  • http://unrepentantindividual.com/ Brad Warbiany

    It sure will be a rough day when these kids have to get into the real world.

    Perhaps, though, they’re being trained to be government employees. If so, they can continue their delusions indefinitely.

  • http://www.thelibertypapers.org Doug Mataconis

    Brad,

    This scary thing is that these teachers *are* preparing the kids for the world, it’s just not a world that you, I, or anyone else who believes in liberty would ever want to live in.

  • http://www.thelibertypapers.org/2006/11/22/comrades-i-hereby-declare-the-revolution/ Adam Selene

    Dana: Why would you think they would be religious?

    I don’t think that it’s so much an assumption around whether the school would be religious because of what they are teaching as it is that the majority of private schools are religious in nature.

    Aside from that, there is a significant religious left population (think Catholic and Episcopal churches, for example) and so it isn’t as unlikely as it might seem that these sorts of teachings would be found in a religious private school.

  • http://unrepentantindividual.com/ Brad Warbiany

    Doug,

    They’re not preparing kids for any world that can exist. We’ve learned that from every society in history which has tried to abolish private property. Even when it’s the Soviets, who had 80 years to inculcate their values into children in school, it didn’t work.

    The ownership of property is natural for humans. I don’t think, even with training, that it can be broken sufficiently to create the world they envision. Yet they keep trying.

  • http://thecoachswife.blogspot.com The Coach’s Wife

    Why on earth do these Marxists think they can reinvent what already failed abismally during the Cold War? People absolutely do not want to share what they have with others. I swear communism was invented by people who wanted to eliminate the green-eyed monster of envy.

    Life is not fair. It is its own series of inequalities. And if we fail to teach our children how to appropriately overcome inequality through perserverence then we are doomed.

  • http://www.belowthebeltway.com Doug Mataconis

    Brad,

    I agree with you completely, but I think it’s pretty clear that these teachers are preparing kids for a world they would like to see exist.

  • http://www.belowthebeltway.com Doug Mataconis

    Adam,

    there is a significant religious left population (think Catholic and Episcopal churches, for example) and so it isn’t as unlikely as it might seem that these sorts of teachings would be found in a religious private school.

    Which is ironic considering that one can find the roots of classical liberalism in the Schoalstics, who were a bunch of Catholic Monks in Spain during the Enlightenment who wrote like Adam Smith before it was cool.

  • TerryP

    I think it would be funny if the children went to the teachers house and just camped out in the living room watching TV & playing video games and then went to the kitchen and ate the food and then at night went into the bedroom and slept on the bed. Do this day after day until the teacher asks them to leave because it is their house and then the child could ask the teacher but you said “all structures are public structures” and “a house is good because it is a community house” and ” we should have equal houses. They should be standard sizes”. Then the child could say, well the house I have been living in is a lot smaller then this one and it is just not as nice as this one so I decided to move into this house instead, since you said all structures are public and all homes are community homes. You can go move into the house I was living in. I doubt if my parents will mind because they will be coming over to this house tonight to live as well.

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