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"Patriotism" tests in school

WA. State pupils being given "patriotism" tests in school
Children in Washington State are being given "patriotism tests" which are completely unrelated to their studies. The paper gauges whether or not the student shows fealty to the power of the state and whether the student believes in the right to overthrow a corrupt government.

A reader from Washington State writes to highlight a questionnaire paper handed out to her daughter and the rest of her classmates in the 10th grade classroom.

The reader comments:

"We live in Washington state. My daughter is in 10th grade and found this to be interesting. She has a GPA of 3.75 and uses her brain. This was given to her in English class, and has nothing to do with the materials they were studying. They are grooming our kids"

(I tried to upload the original paper, I'm new at this still)

I will type the questions as seen on the paper given to the students. They had to put whether they agreed of disagreed with the question.

1. It is never right to kill another person.

2. Political leaders usually act in the best interest of their countries.

3. If a political leader has done something wrong, it is alright to get rid of him/her by what ever means necessary.

4. "Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely."

5. In certain situations it may be justified for a political leader to bend or break the law for the good of the country.

6. People should never compromise their ideals or beliefs.

7. "My country right or wrong" is not just a slogan; it is every citizen's patriotic duty.

8. No cause, political or otherwise, is worth dying for.

9. "cowards die many times before their deaths; the valiant taste of death but once."

10. "The evil that men do lives after them; the good is (often buried) with their bodies."

Considering the fact that this paper is not a part of the standard curriculum, we must question the motivations behind it. Is the paper a means of gauging the level of obedience to the state and empire amongst American teenagers?

We have covered several examples before where the government identifies a target group in society and canvasses their views on the nature of power and when that power goes to far. For example, in the 1990's, American marines and national guard were occasionally asked if they would be willing to fire on American citizens in a time of crisis.

We are not against patriotism when it comes to love of country. Unfortunately however, the new brand of so-called patriotism translates as worship of government, and that definition is something that the founding fathers never intended.

This may be a isolated case but if we receive anything similar we will update.

Go to prisonplanet. com for more stories of this nature.

homepage: homepage: http://http:/prisonplanet.com

Curious 31.Dec.2005 15:23

basalt

What is the provenance of this sheet of paper...
i.e, was it the project of just one teacher?
one department?
one school district/school board?
done in a mainstream public school or a private/charter school?

How was the 'opinionnaire' presented to the students?
Was participation voluntary?
What does the administering authority (teacher, department, school or school district intend to do with the results of the 'opinionnaire'?

Was there any follow-up with the students after responding to the 'opinionnaire'...for instance, was there an analysis of why correct answers to items were correct and incorrect answers incorrect?
Or was it a one time wet finger test that disappeared from classroom activity and never further discussed or alluded to in front of the students?

Did this activity occur recently, for instance in the 2005 school year?

Questions like this will complete the understanding of this 'opinionnaire' stunt, and determine what (or if) a response is needed.

On the face of it, as presented in this article, it's purposes don't seem intended to benefit the students in their education.

E. Washington

more background is definately needed 31.Dec.2005 16:46

agree with curious

Very good questions by curious that would have provided a much better report. We definately need to know who wrote patriot test and why. Anyone in Washington have any clues?

Doesn't seem odd 31.Dec.2005 16:52

Former TA

I was a TA in high school and the eacher I TA'd for would give things like that to just make the kids think. She'd not even grade or read the papers, but wanted the kids to think about issues like those presented on that paper.

She was the Law teacher, BTW.

stunted growth 31.Dec.2005 16:54

TheTroll

11. Would you defend your country from all enemies, foreign AND domestic, like it says in the job description government agents swear to uphold???

hmmm, what else? 31.Dec.2005 16:58

TheTroll

12. Would you grant several multi-billion dollar contracts with high tech companies of the Zionist crusader state while hundreds of thousands of high tech workers loose thier jobs in the US, like democraps and republitrash did in 2002???

They were even selling it as supporting the Zionist's economy, and getting cheers. Who was in those crouds?

a good idea? 31.Dec.2005 18:02

just pointing out a coincidence

I heard that a liberal media type conducted the same type of survey of quotes on a government official and the author of the "agreed to" quote was Adolf Hitler while the author of the "disagreed to" quote was Ghandi. Wish I could remember who the bastard is.

As far as "just to get the kids to think" goes, I can understand it only if the students were allowed to keep the test and encouraged to discuss them with their parents. The article is unclear as to the use of the test.

Out of Context 31.Dec.2005 19:42

Jaaaaaaaaaaaayne

"My country, right or wrong." They always take that fricking quote out of context. The full version is "My country, right or wrong. When wrong, to be put right. When right, to be kept that way."

Much less mindless that way.

GREAT article, concept, links 31.Dec.2005 20:05

g.d. dem

A great article by Burro. Thanks.

OOPS! 31.Dec.2005 20:17

g.d. dem

Not by Burro.

Burro's article was "The military-industrial brainwashing of america's children" -- related topic, but different article.

Sorry. Maybe have had enough to drink for tonite.

Happy New Year.

no it's not 31.Dec.2005 20:30

"to be put right" is by somebody else 50 years later

QUOTATION: Our country! In her intercourse with foreign nations, may she always be in the right; but our country, right or wrong.
ATTRIBUTION: Stephen Decatur (1779-1820), U.S. naval commander. Toast given at Norfolk, April 1816. Quoted in Life of Stephen Decatur, ch. 14, Alexander Slidell MacKenzie (1846).

proposed at a banquet in Norfolk, Virginia to celebrate Decatur's victory over Algerian "Barbary pirates." The words were revived in a speech by Carl Schurz (1829-1906, German orator, later U.S. general and senator) to the U.S. Senate, Jan. 17, 1872: "Our country right or wrong. When right, to be kept right; when wrong, to be put right." See also Chesterton.

patriotism 01.Jan.2006 01:19

karl roenfanz ( rosey ) k_rosey48@hotmail.com

to test a child on their patriotism? how many shades of national socialism are there? heil bush.

Patriotism test in school 01.Jan.2006 11:02

Jim K. candjk1@comcast.net

g.d.demo? Funny...I was thinking conservative republican! After all, take a look at question #4 and then take a look at our president.
Actually, it sounds like a good script for a Twilight Zone episode...everything is there, just waiting for the intro!
"There is a another dimension beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between truth and fabrication, and it lies between the pit of man's fears, and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area which we call ... THE BUSH ZONE."
Cue the music...
"You have just been doublecrossed by...THE BUSH ZONE!"
Hey, you laugh! Think about it for a moment...next time you're talking on the phone, ask yourself if you'd care if it was being recorded...not because of anything you were doing or saying, but just because someone else thought they had the right to do it. Yes, absolute power corrupts absolutely.
I don't know about you, but I'm getting a bit scared.

THE ANARCHIST EMMA GOLDMAN ON "PATRIOTISM": 01.Jan.2006 12:49

mike d.

an article, worth reading:


 link to sunsite3.berkeley.edu

which school 01.Jan.2006 18:12

kirsten anderberg

I would like to write an article on this. Could the original poster contact me at  kirstena@resist.ca? I want to interview the school on what it is doing with this.

Some information on provenance 01.Jan.2006 18:45

Skeptic

Taking one of the questions in the "opinionnaire" (I used #2) snd plugging it into Google Advanced Search turns up multiple hits. It turns out that they all have something in common.

English Teachers.

Yep, it seems that this set of questions is used for classroom discussions of the play "Julius Caesar":

 link to www.sd84.k12.id.us (from Sandpoint High School Ponderay, Idaho)

 http://www.tarleton.edu/~robitai/ray_assignments.htm (from Tarleton State University in Texas)

 http://lessmad.com/juliuscaesar.html (A more general teaching aids site)


It's been used in other contexts. This article, published in 1998 in the ALAN Review by the Assembly on Literature for Adolescents of the National Council of Teachers of English:

 http://scholar.lib.vt.edu/ejournals/ALAN/fall98/tighe.html

is particularly interesting. It describes the use of, among other things, this questionnaire, in conjunction with the reading and discussion of two novels, as part of a project aiming at learning how classroom discussions of literature can improve students' critical thinking skills.

So, to sum up:

This is a tool used by English teachers in teaching a Shakespeare play.

It's been around for quite some time.

The original article presents it completely stripped of all context, seizing on something which in isolation can be made scary-looking.

Since we have no context about this instance, we can't be absolutely certain about its import, but, given what one can easily find out about the history of this teaching tool, I know which way I'd bet.

Looks to me like the paranoid conspiracy theory industry is keeping in shape for the Olympic conclusion-jumping event.

Opinnionaire Put to Invalid Use? 01.Jan.2006 22:02

basalt

The contexts in which the "opinionnaire" is situated, thanks to Skeptic's searches, appear to be give it the quality of a stimulus for discussion, posing no purpose for framing "right answers."

The posted copy of the "opinionnaire" in the leading article here, however, indicates apparently that there were absolute correct and incorrect answers to the questions when it was presented.

The uses that Skeptic's sample search turns up appear to be meant to provoke thought on questions cloaked in absolutisms on topics that elude black and white rational answers. Indeed, in the contexts that Skeptic provides, the purpose of the "opinionnaire" becomes all the clearer. The respodent is asked to give opinions, not correct answers.

(Note that absolute positions holding to these kinds of hypothetical, unspecific choices go a long way to establishing and perpetuating hierarchies, nation states, standing, permanent military machines, secret police, established religious enterprises and other authoritarian forms wherein the people surrender their burdens to "think for themselves" to some promise/hope that some authority will "take care of it all", while the authority exploits hopes and fears--some rational, some irrational--for its own purposes of power and wealth.)

The example in this article, however, appears/appears to describe an instance where the worthy process of compelling one to examine, refine and understand one's opinions has been hijacked for the nefarious purpose of a "loyalty" test consisting of right and wrong answers.

We need to know more about the locale and circumstances of the application of this specific "test" on which this article is based.

Why can't the poster of the aricle give this information?

Nice work Skeptic 01.Jan.2006 22:13

Converse Murdoch umlaut@idir.net

Damn you're good ! Alex Jones' style is prone to hyperbole. He screwed up on this one pretty bad. He's great entertainment but I wouldn't trust him farther than I could throw him: or anybody else for that matter.

However in defense of Jones there is some truth in what he says. To give you an example:

On his radio show he said that schools have an emergency plan to put kids on busses, send them to FEMA camps, and refuse to tell the parents where their kids were. I called the principal up at my kid's school and asked him about this. He told me that they did have plans for locking the schools down and referred me to the FEMA coordinator at the county sherriff's office. I went to the Sherriff's office and spoke to Sgt. Yoder. He told me that in the event of some terrorist emergency they indeed did have plans to relocate kids at school to secondary locations. He also said that the reason they couldn't tell the parents where the kids were is because they couldn't be sure the parents weren't terrorists.

I went to the School District Superintendent and asked him about this. He said it was complete bullshit and the only emergency plans they had were to move kids to churches in case the school got hit by a tornado. So as it stands now it's a toss up on who to believe, the Sherriff or the School Superintendent.

The irony of this article is that this patriotism test is nothing compared to the nightmare of mandatory psycholgical testing of students without parental consent. This is one "conspiracy theory" that's quite real.

But wait, there's more 02.Jan.2006 06:27

Skeptic

A bit more digging turned up this:

 link to www.bard.org

on the Web site of the Utah Shakespeare Festival. The text, which is credited to the NCTE online discussion forum, includes:

"1. In light of the 2000 presidential election controversy, have the students mark “Agree” or “Disagree” for each of the following statements, before reading the play.

[questionnaire inserted here]

2. Now, have the students read the play and answer the questions again. Discuss any changes. Are the answers dependent on the country and period of history? the character? the motivation?"

This activity would account for the two sets of marks on the paper.

I'm not 100% sure 02.Jan.2006 08:20

Listener

I think Alex Jones is talking about a federal takeover of the country. If you go to your local school they probably don't know about FEMA plans. But I can assure you that it is very real if we ever go into Martial Law under false pretenses so Bush or who ever is in power can grab ultimate power.

I'm not 100% sure 02.Jan.2006 08:34

Listener

I think Alex Jones is talking about a federal takeover of the country. Your local school probably would'nt know or tell you the truth. Your conversation with the FEMA person in your comment says it all though. We are all terrorists in the eyes of the government. It makes me wonder, does the government own us and our kids? I thought kidnapping was "terrorism." Is it not kidnapping if the government takes your kids and then doesn't tell you where they are? We must arm up to defend ourselves and our families. I'll tell ya, if they steal my kids there will be a bloody shoot-out to protect my freedom and get my kids back.

Nice posters 02.Jan.2006 17:08

Converse Murdoch

In my opinion it's kidnapping . People are going to have a bad reaction to that. Seeing as how the law provides for the use of deadly force to deal with kidnappers, it should be an interesting scene when parents are told their kids aren't there and the parents are suspected terrorists.

It's concievable that they may actually try this though. Recently the school got locked down because there was a couple of dudes that escaped from jail somewhere within a hundred miles. My kid told me that they taped paper on the windows so nobody could see in or out. So they are being conditioned for something.

Nice posters 03.Jan.2006 17:30

Converse Murdoch

In my opinion it's kidnapping. Seeing as how the law provides for the use of deadly force to deal with kidnappers, it should be an interesting scene when the parents are told that their kids aren't there and the parents are suspected terrorists.

It's conceivable they might actually try this though. Recently a couple of dudes broke out of jail and were within a hundred miles of the school. The school got locked down for a couple of hours. My kid told me that they taped paper on all the windows so nobody could see in or out. Evidently they are being conditioned for something.

oh dear 03.Jan.2006 19:41

thomas jefferson

upon reading over this opinionnaire, i recalled receiving the very thing in my sophmore year of high school, in my english class. the teacher asked us to fill it out in conjunction to our study of shakespeare's julius ceasar, and therefore not in conjunction to a government conspiracy designed to "groom" the kids. the questions deal with issues of power and traditional morality in the context of the state. in this case, the ancient roman state. in fact, when i googled this opinionnaire, i found it on an english teacher's website, along with other study tools concerning the same play. so my point is, please. Justin's post is extremely misleading, paranoid, and (unintelligent, aside from perhaps not even being a word, sounds mean, so i will merely say) unresearched (although, i don't know how much of a real word this is either). so there. please stop doing the thing you may well condemn - misleading people by jumping to rash conclusions.

ps perhaps your daughter is not studying julius caesar. in that case, maybe she is studying another text that deals with these sorts of questions. they are meant to provoke thought! i think that's an alright thing. in any case, i strongly doubt any type of government intervention. and when i say seriously doubt, i mean that i am rarely more sure of things.

DULCE ET DECORUM EST 03.Jan.2006 22:47

Chuck Despres papagrande45@yahoo.com

When I was a 10th grader at Andover Academy (a year ahead of George W., but same school), I read a poem by Wilfred Owen in Mr. Roger Higgins's English Class called "Dulce et Decorum Est...".

The poem ended with the line "Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori": "It is sweet and honorable to die for one's country."

Mr. Higgins explained that Wilfred Owen was using the Latin maxim in an IRONIC way, as he wrote the poem to reflect the HORROR OF WAR (Owen wrote the poem shortly before he died in battle as a paramedic in WWI).

Anyway, the poem made me think..."Is it sweet and honorable to sacrifice lives for one's country?"

I will always be grateful to Roger Higgins for introducing me to "a road less traveled."


oh please 04.Jan.2006 01:02

please please stop it

The recently fashionable use of the word "please" as an insult meaning "you're an idiot" is profoundly offensive.

This is CIA stuff 04.Jan.2006 11:02

jksd

This is CIA stuff. These documents will follow you child for the rest of his/her life. Don't answer, but if you refuse you will be counted as answering yes to question three.

Yes, I am a CIA pawn 04.Jan.2006 17:20

Teddy

I am a teacher...

I give assginments like this all the time...

I then read them and turn over the names of students who would promote insurgency to the CIA...

The CIA now has a dosier of my students that they will now follow for years...



Now, doesn't that seem like a stupid set of statements? It is... But this is what is being insiuated by this posting and thread...

You don't have to turn them over to the CIA 05.Jan.2006 15:00

al-masakin

You don't have to turn the tests over to the CIA. Many of these types of documents are placed into a students file which can be accessed by the CIA or the FBI later on in life.

Teachers are allowed to put all kinds of documents and "comments" about students into these files. Your high school file is transfered to you University file when you apply to college. Then more and more information including term papers and so forth are added over the course of your entire career. For instance if you were ever the subject of discipliary action or have sought disciplinary action against a teacher or another student, that information along with detailed acouts of the charges that you made and counter-charges made against you are also kept in these files which can become exceedingly large if you have attended alot of different schools.

Transfering from one college to another will not help you escape a bad reputation, if you have one. Since you are required to submit transcripts from all schools you have attended, remarks and documents from all the schools you have previously attended are summed up into one grand file at the institution you may be currently attending, thus the FBI, CIA, USNCB-Interpol, et al will not actually have to go back and question your previous teachers in order to obtain both very old and suprising current information about you and, as I said before, including information about term papers you wrote in college 20 years ago...which teacher you liked which ones like you and sadly even which teachers very much did not like you.

Al-Masakin is all about proof and, as an investigative reporter who has been very thoughly investigated under the patriot act by the USNCB-Interpol and CIFA (DoD), I would be perfectly happy to substantiate these claims by suing to obtain my records and publishing what is in them if anyone has their legal canon loaded.

I know all this for a fact since the information contained in these records has been exposed to my face in the presence of teachers and students alike. You can believe it or not, but as I said. If I had the legal means to obtain these documents I would do so.

Look Mr. Majdur... 05.Jan.2006 15:56

Agent Scully

If that's who you really are? As a government agent who is not reqiured to show a badge in order to run my mouth about you in public places, like mosques and classrooms, I can hardly see what good it would do me to know that your so-called "Dr. Dick" was fired from the University of...for being a communist and that you as the president of the College R's stood up form him and sunk Dr. "double U's" neocon battleship by "outing" his s..x..ity and his ideological love for Mussolini and Hitler and got the organization banned from campus after they "Sig Heiled" you in a room full of reporters and school officials whom you surreptitiously insinutated into the meeting as a means of perpetuating one of your do-it-yourself "sting-operations."

Huh! This guy is a self-described "outside the box thinker" LOL. But, its really nothing to turn this guy into a basket case by dropping names like this...if he even exists. Let's face it. The document above is really not the big psychology test that help to determine whether or not you child is prone to political violence. I mean really. Lets get real. What good would it do me as a secret agent to know that your tenth grader agrees with Malcom X's remarks "by any means necessary." Its not like I can build a federal case against you based on information that has been illegally collected over the entire course of your life. Sue me? But the truth of all those notes left in your permanent file by your teachers is hardly a cause for a libel action, since they are, after all, true.

But even your teachers, who went through the same system you did have these files. Even I have one. So, since everyone has these files and has for at least the last thirty years been required to take these kinds of tests, we're all equal.

There's no chance for discrimination. Please ban this guy from posting his spam here and let the people who truly have interest in indy journalism write truly relevant remarks. More signal and less noise, please.

No right or wrong answers? 05.Jan.2006 17:24

Dr. Freud (Teddy 2)

If there's supposed to be no clearly right or wrong answers then why did the teacher make his/her correstions on the right margin. On the left margin the teacher marked certain answers wrong with a check mark wich corresponds to right answer noted on the right. Your child missed 5 out of 10 which is a 50% score which is an "F".

Clearly the right answer to #1 was "Agree" It is never right to kill a person and to question #2 "Agree" Political leaders usually act in the best interests of their country.

Let's apply some psychoanalysis, shall we. Your child might kill someone someday because he/she thinks that it may be justified for some reason or another. The question does not ask for the student to elaborate under what circumstances that would be possible, because question #3 is actually a follow-up for question #1. Thus we are able to conclude that although your child believes that it is Ok to kill a person that person would not be the President, because you child does not believe that the action he/she may be willing to undertake in question #1, i.e., kill a person, could not be applied to a political leader as is shown by his/her answer to question #3.

Qeuestions #2 and #5 correspond to one another as well. And both the student and the teacher happily agree that its ok for government officals to break the law according to their fancy by clash unhappily on question #2. The correct answer is that since political leaders always work in the best interest of their country (and not in the interest of themselves), there should be no problem when they break the law.

Both the teacher and the CIA agree that some causes are worth dying for, like the ones when your politcal leader breaks the law and marches you off to fight an illegal war that isn't in the best interest of the country but actually personally benefits him through oil revenue, but it would be very wrong to die fighting against a political leader that broke the law because they always break the law in the best interest of the country, when they do.

Question #10 tests your child's pessimism or optimism. According to the CIA there are evil peopleand the bad they do is here to stay, but the good guys do gooder and what they do lasts forever too. Question #9 shows that your child would happily die if he/she believed the cause was a good one, which according to the CIA is in the illegal war intitiated in the best interest of the country. Naturally, question #7 re-enforces the belief that one should blindly follow the political leader who has broken the law and the teacher felt that if one objects to the illegal acts of the President, one should nevertheless compromise one's beliefs. Your child is somewhat rebellious, because he/she will never compromise their beliefs and may even kill someone to defend those beliefs, believes that if killed in the process it will nevertheless be a valiant death and having the absolite power to kill some one is not absolutely corrupt. Your child answer to #7 is especially troubling to the CIA, and his/her teacher, since killing a political official would be highly un-patriotic. Since your child ids manifestly un-patriotic, he/she will never attain a Top Secret security clearance and may need to be checked on later in life to be sure that he/she does not change his/her answer to question #3.

Your child has visited the CIA shrink without even knowing it and the teacher administed a CIA psychoanalytical exam without even knowing it. Since the teacher does what ever he/she was told there would be no reason for the CIA to expose the fact that these tests are initiated by them. The fact that some teachers and internet searches have exposed the great extent of use these test really proves how pervasive the problem is and does not diminish the importance of what these tests say on their face.

From a real school questionaire 05.Jan.2006 18:09

Converse Murdoch umlaut@idir.net

How many times in the past year have you:
a. been suspended from school ?
b. carried a handgun ?
c. sold illegal drugs ?
d. defended someone who was being verbally abused at school ?
e. stolen or tried to steal a motor vehicle such as a car or motorcycle ?
f. participated in clubs, organizations or activities at school ?
g. been arrested ?
h. done extra work on your own for school ?
i. attacked someone with the idea of seriously hurting them ?
j. looked forward to going to school ?
k. been drunk or high at school ?
l. volunteered to do community service ?
m. taken a handgun to school ?

In the family domain section here's some of the questions:

Answer yes or no.
104. Has anyone in your family ever had a severe drug or alcohol problem ?
105. People in my family often insult or yell at each other .
114. Do you share your thoughts and feelings with your mother ?
121. Do you feel very close to your father ?

There are six pages of stuff like this. In fairness to the school they sent out letters to the parents telling them that the survey was controversial and your kid didn't have to take it. They assured me that these were 100% anonymous. I told my kid not to take it and went to the school counselor and asked her what it was about. She told me that the state was trying to figure out what areas to allocate more or less social services to.

The survey was titled: Kansas Communities That Care Survey and was provided by Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services Office of Prevention.