Occupation of the Mind

, Malcolm A. Kline, Leave a comment

Howard Zinn and Saul Alinsky must be looking down and smiling now, or up. “We reported on our Zinn Education Project Facebook site, which asked teachers about themes they planned to address in the coming month,” the editors of Rethinking Schools wrote in an editorial which appears in the Spring 2012 issue of the magazine. “The replies reflected a markedly unstandardized  curriculum.”

“People were teaching about the history of corporate personhood, the war in Afghanistan, the early women’s rights movement, and the link between industrialization and imperialism.” In other words, to these characters, elementary and high schools are not left-wing enough.

“From teachers across the disciplines and grade levels, we hear a defiant tone of ‘We’ll decide what our students need to learn, not some distant corporation,’” the editors claim. “This is a cry we need to amplify.”

“As teachers move to occupy the curriculum, we especially need to turn our attention to investigating the origins of the economic crisis that has laid a blanket of hardship and insecurity over so much of the world.” Don’t expect a detailed analysis of Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac—the Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs) which are arguably responsible for much of the maladies noted by Rethinking Schools.

“In early 2011, it was easy to dismiss an argument that the financial crisis would not have occurred but for the government’s housing policy,” Peter J. Wallison writes in the April 2012 issue of The American Spectator. “The idea that Wall Street and the private sector were responsible for the crisis was deeply imbedded in the public’s consciousness after the 2008 presidential campaign.”

“Barack Obama had declared in the debates with John McCain that the crisis was the result of ‘Republican deregulation,’ and McCain himself stated that ‘Wall Street greed’ was responsible. This narrative was picked up and treated by the media as received wisdom.”

Wallison wrote the dissent in the report of the official Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission (FCIC). “But the claim that the financial crisis would not have occurred without the government’s housing policies had one important asset the left’s narrative lacked: it was based on data,” Wallison avers. “The fact that, in June 2008, 74 percent of all subprime and other low-quality mortgages were on the books of the GSEs and other government-backed or regulated entities was a pretty good indication that the government had created the demand—that is, a buyer—for these mortgages.”

“The foundation of the left’s narrative, on the other hand, was made up of anecdotes-stories about predatory lending, about greed, about inadequate risk management and inattentive regulators. That was the essence of the FCIC’s majority report, from which I’d dissented.”

Malcolm A. Kline is the Executive Director of Accuracy in Academia.

If you would like to comment on this article, e-mail mal.kline@academia.org.


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