To Fight The Good Fight The Battle — страница 7

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become educated, especially the minorities. An educated electorate votes intelligently. It cannot be led around. Whether this conspiracy is international or strictly local in its makeup is open to conjecture [emphasis added].28 Vetterli displayed the same concern as Henry Myers. His own book is full of references to “outside militants” and “radical subversives.” Their writings provide evidence of the “siege mentality” that descended upon Pasadena’s fundamentalists when the federal government stepped in to run the school district in 1970.”Patriotism” was fundamental education’s secret weapon in the war against the international conspiracy. Displays of “patriotism” in the fundamental schools included daily flag-raising ceremonies and instruction in the

principles and ideals of the United States. The parent handbook for Pasadena’s first fundamental school, opened in 1974, read:When a child is first taught to love his country, later in his education he will have a motive strong enough to spur him on to understanding American and her heritage. Feelings of loyalty to his country give a child identity–he belongs, he has roots. 29By removing a spirit of cooperation from the classroom, demanding a rigorous level of discipline (from the age of five, on) and by producing good patriots, these extreme fundamentalists clearly hoped to control the minds of the citizenry by denying a forum in which dissent could take root. Students could not protest against or voice their concerns about the system. This would effectively remove the

militants and the rising international communist conspiracy. Eventually they planned to spread these schools throughout the school district and ultimately the nation. 30 In his 1977 book, Fundamentally Speaking, Henry Myers wrote:In July of 1973, a tiny seed was planted that was destined to initiate the Phoenix-like rebirth of fundamental education in Pasadena and set an example for the entire nation. The fires of permissiveness and progressiveness had taken their toll, and the wreckage of what was once the finest educational system in the country lay smoldering in ruins.31The new board wasted no time implementing their programs. They quickly opened two fundamental schools in the district and they called for the removal of several supplementary textbooks from the high school

curriculum –textbooks they found “as a whole to lack redeeming value.” 32 This first attempt to ban books came in October when Lyman Newton asked the superintendent to remove these two supplementary ninth grade English texts, The Voices of Man: As We Grow Older and The Voices of Man: Face to Face. He “had information that there were political overtones in the books that would not be. . . supportive of the type of educational approach that this district wants to take.” 33 Vetterli found the books to be “sadistic and morbid and without redeeming value.” Myers told the people gathered at a school board meeting that one story dealt with the “death of a retarded child” and that it was “virtually worthless.” The school superintendent, Ramone Cortines, a specialist

in the field of developmentally disabled children, “praised” the same story. 34Superintendent Cortines pointed out to the board members that in this case they had not followed the established guidelines for dealing with complaints brought to the school district about reading materials. Myers replied that he had not been aware of any procedures or guidelines. At that point Cortines reminded him that Willard Craft, a board appointee, had drafted the policy and the board had approved it unanimously at a meeting a few weeks earlier.35 It is from this point, January 1974, on that the three members of the board increasingly descended into their siege mentality. They saw themselves surrounded by enemies who were attempting to undermine the very principles upon which the United

States was founded. In their minds, this conspiracy clearly emanated from the “subversive radical” teachers unions and their attempts to take over the district. And it is within their extremist political philosophies that their policies became increasingly reactionary and discriminatory.A statement on book banning read by a Pasadena Federation of Teachers (PFT) union official at a board meeting fueled the board’s suspicions. Among other things, the statement accused the board members of being members of the ultra-conservative John Birch Society.36 The statement read, in part:. . . Contempt for educators does not sufficiently explain the negative actions of these Board members. When the adoption of Voices of Man was first questioned by Mr. Newton, he spoke of “political