Horton Hears an Idiot

This story in the Globe and Mail gets the story wrong, but the fact that a school administrator is sneaking around snooping in teachers’ cars to see what written materials they possess makes this story quite noteworthy. This Prince Rupert teacher wasn’t using Dr. Suess’ Yertle the Turtle in class, but instead was using a quote from Yertle in a meeting with management. Perhaps, by extension, the director of instruction for the Prince Rupert School District judged Yertle’s political message would creep into the classroom. Well, the question this begs is why wouldn’t one want kids to consider Yertle’s claim: “I know up on top you are seeing great sights, but down here on the bottom, we too should have rights.” Equality is now ‘political’ and should not be a ‘value’ that we would want everyone to seriously consider? Theodor Geisel’s work, like many children’s book authors’ work, is not apolitical, nor should we expect it to be. Teaching about politics, discussing political ideas, developing political perspectives is what teachers ought to be doing… where else do children learn about ‘citizenship?’

5 responses to “Horton Hears an Idiot

  1. Great headline! I think the Yertle T shirt is under development in Prince Rupert. I predict a run on Dr Seuss books across BC. I believe The Lorax is more subversive.

  2. Yes, the Lorax, The Butter Battle Book, The Sneetches, and what about the Zax? So many lessons. One son of mine got himself arrested at Clayoquot Sound after he wrote the Premier, quoting the Lorax…..and only receiving a form letter in reply. No wonder it seems to strike terror into their hearts.

  3. Your article gets to the truth of the matter. What is really disturbing about this incident is that the government’s petticoats are showing or it is only the tip of the iceberg. Teachers are supposed to teach citizenship and is not Canada to represent and uphold the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It seems to me the government and their Bill 22 is the subversive story here; the quote on equality being banned from the school’s public property shows how far this provincial government has fallen. Possibly the quote strikes too close to the center of things.

  4. Prime Minister Trudeau once stated ” Canadians need to breathe life into the Charter of Rights and Freedom.”
    Now is the time . 2b or not 2b apparently is the question Canadians need to consider.

  5. Sandra Mathison

    Suess like poem from the CBC Community Blog
    http://www.cbc.ca/news/yourcommunity/2012/04/community-reaction-to-dr-seuss-quote-ban.html

    “Meecher the teacher had oodles of books
    Books about crimberles and shiminny-schnooks
    Books by dead scientists like Everard Phowz
    Who believed that we humans descended from cows

    Books about people that lived far away,
    In countries called Whrrrithxstan and Karmic Kathay
    Books about triangles, circles and squares,
    Books that told stories of three little bears.

    Meacher the teacher got into a fight
    With a brigand named Stigant who wanted her right
    To reach for a book to read to her class
    To be subject to his right to give it a pass.

    “Yertel the turtle is not on the list,
    And Oliver Twist is one to be missed,
    A tale of a poor kid who dared ask for more?
    Will lead us to socialism, that is for sure”

    “No tales of injustice will be read in this school,
    No tales of authority acting too cruel.
    No stories of children who want to be brave,
    Just stories of children who like to behave.”

    “Harry Potter has teachers who join evil instead,
    And Carroll has monarchs shout ‘off with her head!’
    Dickens is barred, and Orwell is banned
    Children need books that are happy and bland.”

    Yertel the Turtle – such dissident thoughts
    of standing for rights – what societal rot!
    If we permit reading each book on the wall,
    Civilization we’ll see most assuredly fall.

    So Meacher the teacher, go find ‘Dick and Jane’
    Read useful books once and then read them again,
    We just need the 3 R’s being taught in the schools,
    Critical thought is a skill that is only for fools.”

    – NewAlbioner

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