Schools

School District Has Tykes Pledging Allegiance to Teachers and Educrats

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… and to the regulatory apparatus for which it stands, one line item, buried on page 726 of the budget …

From the Department of "we are your masters and we deserve your respect" comes news that students at one New Jersey school have, for the past ten years, been reciting a pledge of allegiance a tad creepier than the traditional flag-worshipping one that so many of us suffered through as school-attending tykes. At Morganville, New Jersey's Asher Holmes Elementary School, in the Marlboro Township Public Schools, the wee ones have been promising their devotion to teachers and educrats. Really.

The pledge as reported by Marlboro-ColtsneckPatch is:

I pledge allegiance to Asher Holmes and the Marlboro Township School District and to the teachers who help us learn, all that we need to know for the future. We promise to respect ourselves and others, to try our best and always be proud of our schools.

The pledge is recited, hand-on-heart, while facing the flag, just like the usual patriotic devotional, which is also recited. Apparently, kids have been going through the motions for ten years, ever since the thing was penned by a fourth-grade teacher. Nobody bothered objecting until parent Valerie Kaufman stepped forward at a Board of Education meeting to say, "WTF?":

"I don't know about you guys, but I've never heard of a pledge of allegiance to the school, the school district and to the teachers. I don't think it's constitutional, I don't think they should be doing it," she said. "I think we should do away with it."

Superintendent Dr. David Abbott said the pledge was put in place ten years ago, written by a fourth grade teacher. That version of the pledge used to be recited by students every day of the week.

"I don't see anything wrong with it at all," he said "You don't have to say the Pledge of Allegiance at all, that is the rule of the Constitution of the United States of America. I know it is very valued by the kids, I know that it is valued by the staff and I know it is valued by most of the parents. If you have trouble with it, you don't have to do it and your child doesn't have to do it."

Board member BonnieSue Rosenwald said she doesn't have a problem with school songs or cheers, but saluting the flag while reciting a different pledge is not an appropriate time. 

"Just because it was done for ten years, doesn't mean it is right, and doesn't mean it should continue to be done," Rosenwald said. "Not when every Monday morning you are told to stand with your hand over your heart to pledge allegiance to Asher Holmes. I don't think it's right."

Kaufman said her son doesn't want to recite the Asher Holmes pledge, and from what she knows, a lot of the children join her son in his sentiments. Kaufman said many parents may not even be aware of it.

Fox News says the Board passed the district-loyalty pledge by its attorney, who said it was A-OK. So the pledge continues, although local officials provide assurances that both the patriotic loyalty oath and the bureaucratic loyalty oath are purely optional.

Most of the people objecting to the local pledge frame their objections in terms of respect for the traditional pledge — the idea being that the one diminishes the other. Personally, I never took to the traditional version, and quietly opted out once I was old enough to understand what the damned thing meant. Fortunately, my suburban New York teachers were generally tolerant of my objections, so I never ran into a hassle. Frankly, I don't "pledge allegiance" to anything — I ask, "what have you done for me lately?" and keep my support conditional on good behavior and restrained use of homicidal drones, warrantless wiretaps, smothering taxes, intrusive officials and the like. In the new context, I guess making it conditional on actually passing along a decent education in return for resources consumed — and not demanding allegiance — might be in order. I'm funny that way.

Some time ago, Greg Beato sounded off on the rather icky history of the traditional pledge of allegiance.

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  1. Any pledge where they have to mention “Marlboro” is a net positive. Let’s also hear it for Joe Camel and Kents!

  2. you know who else had the initials AH and made you pledge allegiance?

    1. Arliss Howard?

    2. Aldous Huxley?

    3. Anne Hathaway?

      I wish?

      1. You want to pledge allegiance to Mrs. William Shakespeare?

    4. Some asshole.

    5. Ayn Hrand?

    6. Armand Hammer?

    7. Alexander Haig?

      1. Perfect answer

    8. Alger Hiss?

    9. Alexander Hamilton?

  3. Little Red Books were a good idea too. I mean, you totally don’t have to take them everywhere if you don’t want to, so what’s the big deal?

    1. But what kind of reactionary wouldn’t want to?

  4. And what’s a pledge of unquestioning loyalty to the State without this catchy tune?

  5. That’s just plain creepy.

    1. What are the chances this kind of pablum makes kids vomit a little in their mouth and eventually makes libertarians out of them?

      That said, I think this bullshit is probably perfectly legal.

      The answer is simple: inculcate resistance.

  6. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q2BfqDUPL1I

    This is basically how I feel about the pledge.

    1. Nice

      1. “I promise to help go and kill all the other countries’ kids.”

        That about sums it up.

  7. I’m no patriot or constitutionophile, but I can’t imagine anyone who was either feeling good about the “Pledge of Allegiance”. A nation that supposedly prides itself on individual liberty doesn’t really sound like the sort of nation to force its kids to mindlessly recite a chant to affirm absolute loyalty said nation is every single schoolday.

    The “beaurocrat’s pledge” is a good thing, in my opinion. Kids easily see through bullshit like that.

    1. Although the “Pledge of Allegiance” was never officially mandated in my high school, I did have one freshman social studies teacher who actually threatened me with corporal punishment if I didn’t participate.

      Also, this guy was a raving loon who actually, on no less than a dozen occasions, screened the Zaparuder/JFK assassination film in class and followed by wildly entertaining rants about how the so-called conspiracy.

      It might have been the first time I heard about the “ice bullet” theory. Jaysus Christ.

  8. I pledge allegiance to Hit-n-Run and the entire Kochtopus tentaculation, but really Chthulhu would have made for better metaphor, but nonetheless, and to the Republic, which no longer exists, since we are a Democracy now, subject to the whims of the ignorant masses who will deny us our civil liberties because it just ain’t right, one nation conceived in the back of a Chevy well before the bailouts and the UAW, underdog, with social engineering and RomneyCare for all.

      1. I was hoping that would link to Sam the Eagle.

    1. Vote for the Lesser Evil: Cthulu 2012!

      1. No, no, you’ve got the slogan wrong – its “why choose the lesser evil – vote Cthulhu”.

        1. I demand to see Cthulhu’s birth certificate.

  9. Took me a long while reciting the Pledge as a child before I even contemplated what the words meant, and even longer before I decided the words were creepy and objectionable and I wouldn’t say them any longer.

  10. There are some truly horrific things in this world. For example, this (to be viewed only by those with strong constitutions.)

    1. My God, she dances like Elaine!

      1. I hope you weren’t scarred by that. I know I was.

        1. You evil bastard. My psyche is scarred forever after that. My god you are a monster.

    2. If Billy Ray and Tish Cyrus had come to you in 1992 and asked you to perform an abortion, would you have done it?

      Choose wisely.

      1. Is this like the “if you had time travel would you kill Hitler” question?

        ‘Cause everyone knows that you can’t succeed.

    3. Arrgh, I’d rather floss with Courtney Love’s Kotex string than watch that all the way through. Curse you!

    4. to be viewed only by those with strong constitutions

      Alas for my formerly iron stomach!!! If only I had listened to you, BP.

    5. Damn you

    6. Anyone can butcher a great song. But making your side flab look like a hillbilly plumber’s ass? Talent!

    7. Great. Now I need a link from SF to wipe that from my mind.

    8. I don’t know how I’ll ever get all this vomit out from uner my keyboard.

      Aaaaarrrgh…

    9. OMG that was fucking horrible. If you keep it up, you are going to get nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

  11. “Repeat after me: I, state your name…”
    “I, state your name…”

  12. I pledge allegiance to Asher Holmes and the Marlboro Township School District and to the teachers who help us learn

    It sounds to me that if the teachers aren’t helping them learn, they are released from any allegiance to them.

  13. People should learn to be skeptical of authority. Children should not.

    1. Children are not people?

      1. Yes, but not people who need to be skeptical of authority just yet.

        1. so they should be totally obedient, even slavish, in their devotion to authority? Good grief; no damn wonder you pant after Obama.

          1. so they should be totally obedient, even slavish, in their devotion to authority?

            Well, duh! This way they grow up to be good subjects.

            Teach them to be suspicious of authority and they may grow up to become citizens.

          2. Ideally. Ever been a parent? Do libertine children sound like a good idea?

            1. as a matter of fact, parent to four kids, none of whom pledged allegiance to me. Nice straw man argument, though, since the left tends to see other people’s children as its kids.

              What a bullshit argument, as though the only options are libertine or Hitler Youth.

              1. Tony fellates fallacies. False dichotomy is one of his favorites.

              2. What age are we talking about here? I think we’re having a pointless conversation.

                1. these are elementary schoolers, Tony, and the educrats are taking advantage of them. But since the mechanism is a pledge to the god of the state, you have no problem with it.

                  1. I’ve not expressed an opinion on this pledge. For the record, I’m against all pledges. Especially to the flag.

                    I’d rather children be taught to value human beings regardless of nation and to be encouraged to pledge devotion to the betterment of their communities, local, state, national, and global.

                    1. of course, you have expressed an opinion – that those of us who think it is a moronic idea are wrong. Since you disagree with that, the implication is that you support this pledge.

                      And are you bipolar? In your first graph, you are against all pledges. In the second, you support those calling for devotion to community. Dude. Really.

                    2. Encourage devotion to community, and for practical purposes. It’s where they live, after all.

                      A pledge in school is just a waste of time if you ask me. And it’s not “leftists” who like children swearing allegiance to the flag.

                    3. That’s not a pledge to the *community*, its a pldege to the local government – two very different things.

            2. Libertine? No, but libertarian sounds good.

        2. Disagree. Even children should not just accept what is handed down to them.

          Having children learn to be accepting of authority without skepticism is what leads to a docile citizenry, ready to be rolled by authoritarian power.

          1. Until a child reaches a certain age, the family unit he or she is part of is a totalitarian situation, and it’s that way in every family across the globe except ones in which very bad children are produced.

            I want children to be taught to be critical thinkers. I suspect most here just want them to be spoonfed libertarian dogma.

            1. Considering that my baby mama is an egalitarian liberal like yourself (although with less Obama fawning), I have no doubt that my child will be forced to think critically.

              Just because a child is in a totalitarian situation doesn’t mean that they cannot be taught to question the decision their parents make.

              1. They learn that by themselves, usually too early.

                The problem with questioning authority is not that not enough people do it, it’s that not enough people know how to do it correctly. For the average person that doesn’t happen until four year of college or so. Often you’ll find among even the self-proclaimed intellectually freest people that they merely transfer their dependence from one authority to another.

                Libertarians think they are free thinkers, perhaps the freest. But how does a free thinker settle on a handful of quirky third-rate political philosophers as those who have all the answers to life’s big questions?

                1. I think it’s presumptuous to assume that anyone here thinks that any philosopher has “all the answers to life’s big questions.”

                  As far as your example, I’ll simply go with the words of Sallust: “Few men desire liberty; most men wish only for a just master.”

                  1. A just master is better than many forms of liberty. The forms libertarians want to impose on society, for example.

                    And I disagree about big questions. Most big questions have been answered or will be answered by empirical science. Among the only important big questions that remain is one of the basic concerns of all philosophers: how should men live? That’s what libertarian thinkers are exclusively concerned with. And they are more specific and strict in their prescriptions than most.

                    1. “A just master is better than many forms of liberty.”

                      Jefferson Davis could not have said that better.

                    2. I’d rather be a servant in a palace than a free man in disease-infested swamp.

                      You are among the freest human beings to ever walk the earth. Doesn’t mean you can’t reasonably demand more freedom, but for your trouble I’m afraid all you’re gonna get is lower taxes for millionaires.

                    3. I’d rather be a servant in a palace than a free man in disease-infested swamp.

                      “servant” – I note your attempt to shift the discussion and context.

                      Using ‘servant’ in the Old Testament sense – a bound chattel belonging to the master (we were talking about “masters” above), a free man can change his condition, a ‘servant’ cannot.

            2. I want children to be taught to be critical thinkers.

              and pledging allegiance to a group of public employees does what to advance that?

            3. “I want children to be taught to be critical thinkers.”

              Exactly how do you expect anyone to become a critical thinker if they’re living under totalitarianism? If you always obey, unquestioningly, where do you develop that skill?

              “For the average person that doesn’t happen until four year[s] of college or so.”

              Ah, so if you haven’t gottten your scrolly paper from the state, you’ll never be a critical thinker. WTF? Do you really think four years of Womens Studies is the path to critical thinking skills?

              1. I am against totalitarianism. I am a liberal.

                Four years of women’s studies, or four years of engineering for that matter, won’t treat you to be a good critical thinker. But high school usually isn’t enough, nor is high school-level literature like Ayn Rand.

                1. I am against totalitarianism. I am a liberal.

                  I should find the lack of self-consciousness in that pair of statements astonishing, but considering your willingness to impose burdens on others, I don’t.

                  1. Being a liberal means by definition to be against totalitarianism. Just not the definition you learn on FOX News or wherever.

                    1. In the classical sense, it did.

                      As ‘liberalism’ presently exists, not in the slightest. (While I opposed the Iraq War, I didn’t go so far as Svend Robinson and others to go to Bagdad to talk nice to Saddam Hussein in 2002. Or object to any bad talk about Uncle Joe Stalin.)

    2. Children aren’t people? What are they? Soylent Green?

      1. “Now that you mention it, I’m feeling a little peckish.”

        /Baby eating Bishop of Bath and Wells

    3. dammit, AC. You beat me to it. This is Tony’s way of saying that if you successfully indoctrinate the kiddies, you don’t have to do anything once they become “people.”

      1. You just want to indoctrinate them into something else–something far more specific and cult-like than the secular well-rounded education I favor.

        How long before you guys are policing Texas school rooms for any sliver of instruction that’s counter to the redneck revolution?

        1. unlike you, I don’t want to ‘indoctrinate’ them into anything. I would settle for schools teaching them to be more than the barely functional semi-literates the public system spits out. But keeping spouting those Obama-style “some say….” pronouncements and arguing against points no one is making.

          1. My greatest fear for T.O.N.Y is that he actually believes what he says here. That’d just be sad.

            1. Stupid bitch can’t even get his insults right. “Rednecks” don’t vote libertarian very often, if at all.

              1. It’s on my self-improvement agenda to ignore the freeper types more and would much prefer having high-level conversations with thoughtful libertarians. There are two or three around, but they seem browbeaten by self-appointed blog police. And I’m still not convinced libertarianism doesn’t require insular circle-jerking to maintain itself.

                1. I don’t visit FreeRepublic. I learned my lesson years ago, when I – very briefly – had an account there.

                  They kicked me out because I argued the libertarian angle.

                  Go lurk there, Tony. Just for a few minutes. Type “libertarian” into the search box, and read the hateful shit they spew.

                  You’d actually like it, I’d bet.

                  1. By the by… one need not attend college to properly use the word “racist” in a sentence.

        2. Redneck revolution? Sorry Tony, you got your tabs mixed up, you’re trolling on the wrong website.

          1. Not by all evidence. Why don’t you real libertarians yell at some of many, many Hannitybots who hang around or call them trolls? You’d be doing the world a service by refining some of the mindless “SEIU leftists blah blah” nonsense into some coherence for these people.

            1. If there’s one thing that is obvious from reading Reason, its that it’s a nest of Hannitybots.

            2. right, because everyone knows this site is ate up with Hannibots and Rush babies.

              1. Perhaps it’s unfair to lump all idiots together, but using the term “educrat” is tantamount to being a Rush baby. You know why you hate bureaucrats? Because it sounds like rats. It’s a timeworn linguistic strategy Republicans have learned to exploit when they use “Democrat” as an adjective. In reality, bureaucrats include soldiers and police among a host of other quite useful professions that help society run relatively smoothly on a daily basis.

                It’s not the particular rightwing blowhard, it’s the lack of critical thinking.

                1. What about leftwing blowhards like Ed Schultz?

                  Oh, yeah… you don’t have a problem with him, do you?

                  In a just world, he and Limbaugh would be eaten by wolves in a pit dug in the middle of a dense forest.

                  1. I can’t really stand to watch Schultz. But at least his agenda isn’t evil. Critical thinking means not automatically assuming two opposing sides are always equivalent.

                2. “…but using the term “educrat”…”

                  Forgot that you were an educrator. No wonder you’re so butthurt.

                  1. Schultz is the 180-degree equivalent of Limbaugh. Therefore, I am surprised you don’t listen to Schultz.

                    Though you are wrong about his agenda.

    4. Horrible trolling

    5. Children should not be taught to blindly accept authority, Tony.

      Then again, if they aren’t taught that, how can they then grow up to vote Democrat?

    6. When exactly should we transition from slavish devotion to the whims of our betters to being rational moral agents?

    7. People should learn to be skeptical of authority. Children should not

      You really are an authoritarian fucking peace of shit. Would you please go away?

  14. I pledge allegiance to Queen Fragg and her mighty state of hysteria…

  15. I stopped saying the pledge as soon as we learned the story of William Tell.

  16. I pledge allegiance to Asher Holmes and the Marlboro Township School District and to the teachers who help us learn, all that we need to know for the future.

    What’s up with that comma? Shouldn’t it be after “District” and not after “learn”?

    1. No, that’s correct. What they’re saying is that all you need to know for the future is that you have pledged allegiance to Asher Holmes, the Marlboro Township School District, and to the teachers who helped you learn.

    2. as the super said, the pledge was written by a teacher. You were expecting sound grammatical structure? Why….

      1. My kids are all grown, but I used to delight in reading the notes sent home with them. I doubt if there was even one gramatically correct sentence in 12 years.

        I met their middle school principal once. If you met him on the street, within 15 seconds you’d be speaking slower and using short words. He honestly did seem to be borderline retarded.

  17. How about a modified pledge?

    I pledge allegiance to the Constitution of the United States, and the republic it formed, one nation, a voluntary union of 50 sovereign states, respecting the rights of the individual above all (except for that Commerce Clause and the income tax people mistakenly authorized.)

    1. I pledge allegiance to myself and to those who don’t fuck with me and my stuff.

      1. Fuckin’ A!

    2. I pledge allegiance to no-one, respecting the rights of the individual above all.

  18. “I don’t see anything wrong with it at all,” he said.

    in some places, this sort of statement might be seen as a red flag.

    1. With a circle in the middle?

      1. what painfully obvious reference that I will be embarrassed to have missed am I missing?

        1. Some sort of crooked cross within the circle.

          1. Either that or a yellow hammer and sickle in the upper left corner.

            1. Yes, there’s that one, two. Red flags have a bad history.

          2. yup..embarrassed.

  19. “Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it.”
    -Mark Twain

    1. I’ve always been a bit conflicted about what “the republic for which it stands” means in the pledge. If they’re talking about the general system of constitutional democracy that’s not an unjust loyalty oath imho. If they’re talking about whichever scumrats are running the govt at a given point in time, it’s an abomination.

  20. It’s optional. Uh-huh, sure it is. There’s no way some teachers may grade a kid down for not saying one or both of their creepy little loyalty oaths. Afterall teachers are perfect paragons of virtue who would never do anything like that.

    1. don’t you love leftist “optional” things? Like this pledge. Or card check.

    2. Forget teachers, what about the other kids? They’re merciless.

  21. I pledge allegiance to my wife, for she is the source of my nookie.

    Everyone else can fuck off.

  22. Our Father,
    who art in administration
    Hallowed be thy name
    thy pension come
    they memos be followed
    on earth
    as they are in district 12 board meetings
    Give us this day our daily assignments
    and forgive us our incompetence
    as we forgive the incompetence of our teachers
    And lead us not to independent thought
    but deliver us from private sector employment

    SEIU, SEIU, SEIU!! KALI MA!!

    1. Perfect!

    2. Pardon me, sir, you are not using those at the moment are you? This is going to hurt a little.

      Four thumbs up! An instant classic.

  23. How do we avoid going Godwin here?

  24. I don’t think I personally would have been able to resist the temptation to use the old photo of American schoolkids doing the straight arm salute to the flag. You’re a better man that I, 2chilly.

    1. That said, if they cut the pledge down to “With liberty and justice for all”, it wouldn’t be so bad.

    2. I couldn’t do the old straight-arm pledge … It was too easy.

  25. If you’re going to pledge personal allegiance to some dictator, at least give him a suitably dictatorial name. Like Emperor Palpatine, or Krom the Invincible.

    I mean, Asher Holmes? I just don’t see someone named Asher Holmes sacking a city or sending weeping prisoners to the slave pits.

    Maybe he’s compensating for his name?

      1. “Be a good boy, Timmy, or Bill Lumbergh will eat you.”

    1. “All hail Krull and his glorious new regime. Sincerely, little girl.”

    2. Now that you mention it, “Asher Holmes” sounds like a funeral chapel.

      1. Sounds like a porn star stage name.

    3. Actually, it sounds like a crazed arsonist’s name.

      1. Alright, a crematorium then.

  26. I, your name, pledge allegiance, to Hedey Lamarr, and to the evil for which he stands…

    1. I didnn’t get a hrumph from that guy!

    2. That’s Hedly, HedLY!

  27. Holy fuck, the smugness in terms of the educrat’s purpose and product is beyond anything imagined by the pharaohs.

    1. Careful, Killaz… Tony will accuse you of being an inbred Limbaugh fan – right before he demands tolerance and kindness towards doctrinaire liberals.

      1. I don’t go around worrying about what he thinks. He’s already admitted to being a sock puppet.

        1. He might get your home address, though, and you’d come home one day to find your living room rearranged.

          1. He’s welcome to it. The wife is pretty butch. Dresses like a guerrilla in the jungle on her days off. We could use the right touch.

            1. Pick a maximum of three colors and work with them. Get rid of anything ugly. Comfort is irrelevant.

  28. You know what surprises me about all this? That schools still do the pledge.

    I’m 40 now and I didn’t do the pledge in school since, like, 3rd grade.

  29. The problem with the argument that the pledge is voluntary is that kids have a very hard time going against what everyone else is doing. Much more so than adults. And those that do refuse to recite the pledge will likely be subject to bullying and ostracism and such. That’s just how kids are…and the fact that these professional educators don’t understand that is appalling.

    1. Similar arguments could be made about the level of voluntariness in the market.

      1. How? The market doesn’t involve everyone being penned into a room and “deciding” whether to buy the same thing as everyone else.

        Plus, 4th graders are not allowed to participate in the market in a binding way anyway.

  30. So I can’t sing my Alma Mater any more?

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