Friday, July 07, 2006

SOS Education

As we have mentioned before, there is good reason to think that French schools are training a generation of anti-Americans… Now a French association is fighting back.
The worst schoolbook is the Martin Ivernel history manuel, published by Hatier. It goes as far as praising the Soviet Union and its alleged pacific policies, all the while omitting to mention the millions of dead in Ukraine, in China, in Cambodia, in North Korea, and elsewhere.
Anti-Americanism is not alone (there are also books teaching children cuss words — "if you don't know enough cuss words, ask your parents to help you, they know more of them than you do" — etc), but it — and the attendant lack of the most basic kind of serious perspective on history — features prominently in the reasons that pushed half a dozen concerned parents to create SOS Éducation. France itself is hardly better served, by the way:
[The Nathan text book for the sixième grade] quotes neither Montaigne, nor Racine, nor Balzac, nor Flaubert, nor most of our great authors. Instead of having our children read classical texts, they are lectured about skateboards, roller skates, the Boule and Bill comic book, and Harry Potter … many history books have abandoned all attempts at chronological continuity … the child can go without transition from Vercingetorix to Charlemagne, from Louis XIV to the French Revolution, from Napoleon to Jules Ferry. Thus, the Nathan history manual for the quatrième grade tells the whole [sic] history of the 19th century without once quoting Louis XVIII, Charles X, or Louis-Philippe!
Apparently, SOS Éducation's protests are getting the publishers' attention. In order to muzzle its voice, the latter are in the process of launching a massive lawsuit against the non-profit association.

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