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How Now Chairman Mao?

Apr 1, 2013, Vol. 18, No. 28 • By THE SCRAPBOOK
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The Scrapbook doesn’t spend a lot of its time surfing tired bureaucratic websites that look like relics of the 1990s, but our interest was piqued last week by a quotation on the “Kids’ Zone” page of the Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics: “Our attitude towards ourselves should be ‘to be satiable [sic] in learning’ and towards others ‘to be tireless in teaching.’ ”

Little Red Book

Newscom

The author was indeed a tireless teacher who tirelessly aimed his precepts at hundreds of millions of people. Too bad those who weren’t interested in his teachings were tortured, beaten, and killed. 

The “Kids’ Zone,” of course, was channeling Chairman Mao’s Little Red Book (or more likely one of the thousands of “quotable quotes” websites on the Internet that mistakenly render insatiable as satiable. We’re not, by the way, suggesting that the Department of Education has been infiltrated by Maoists. Rather, one of its websites seems to be in the hands of historically illiterate hacks.

Needless to say, the prominent featuring of Mao’s quote attracted more than the usual quota of attention to the “Kids’ Zone,” and the snippet was quickly removed. Here is what it was replaced with: “Sorry there is no quote of the of the today.”

Come again? 

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has been claiming, ludicrously, that because of sequestration “there are literally teachers now who are getting pink slips.” Instead of engaging in politicized doomsaying, he should take this opportunity to clear some of the underbrush in his own bureaucracy. We recommend deep-sixing the “Kids’ Zone” for starters.

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