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Education or Indoctrination? Another Outrage

Friday, March 6, 2009

This next outrage comes to us from North Dakota, where we find a General Educational Development (GED) practice test showing blatant anti-gun bias. 

The GED tests, sometimes referred to as a "General Equivalency Diploma" or "General Education(al) Diploma," are used to certify that an individual who passes the test has high school-level skills.  The tests were originally created to help veterans after World War II.   The tests were never intended to be a vehicle for advancing a political agenda.  But one North Dakota practice test is attempting to do so. 

On page three of the test, under the heading "Government Comprehension" there is a political cartoon featuring a caricature of Uncle Sam with a shovel in his hand and a fat man wearing a shirt that says, "GUN LOBBY."  The two are standing in a cemetery in front of an open grave.  Dirt is falling from Uncle Sam's shovel.  The grave's headstone reads, "Another Victim Of A Senseless Shooting Spree."  The figure representing the gun lobby, with his hand on Uncle Sam's back, is stating, " No One Ever Said Preserving The American Way Of Life Would Be Easy…" 

Question number 21—the related question—asks the following: 

21.  Which of the following assumptions does the cartoonist make? 

The "senseless shooting spree" 

1. Could easily have been prevented
2. Is part of the American way of life
3. Is the fault of the gun lobby
4. Is the fault of the U.S. government
5. Represents a fundamental civil right 

While the "correct" answer may be perplexing, none of the "answers" are accurate and all are offensive (especially number 3).  The implications are clear; the cartoon suggests that guns are bad, having guns inevitably leads to "senseless shooting sprees," such heinous violence is part and parcel of the American way of life, the government can only "bury the dead," and the gun lobby flippantly and dismissively concludes that a shooting spree is a reasonable price to pay for our violent American way of life.  This sort of propaganda has no place in a GED test.  Rather, this sounds more like biased indoctrination:  "to instruct in a doctrine, principle, ideology, etc., esp. to imbue with a specific partisan or biased belief or point of view." 

That sounds about right.

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