Johnny Can’t Read, But He Knows Not to Pirate Software

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Aunty must really be behind the times. Lots of dust on this old fossil, apparently.

You see, Aunty thought that the purpose of sending our children to school was so that they know..learn things. Things like how to read and write, how to string words together – properly – in order to be able to effectively communicate, how to perform basic math operations, and maybe even a smattering of those much out-of-fashion things such as contemporary and ancient history, and an appreciation for classic literature. A little art and music might be nice too.

But Aunty was wrong. Oh so wrong.

Obviously, Aunty had the priorities of our academic institutions all wrong.

Because it turns out that along with sanitized politically correct reading pablum, revisionist politically correct “history” (do you detect a theme here?) and “estimated spelling” (I kid you not, this is the acceptable form of spelling in our friends’ 1st-grader’s school), the children in our nation’s school are learning… wait for it…


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Yes. Really.

According to the Washington Post, a targeted program, which includes a five foot tall robot which visits elementary schools, has been developed by..hmm..wait…some little altruistic company..who is it again? Oh yes, the Motion Picture Association.

Iris Beckwith is an elementary school teacher who uses the robot to teach her children that “it is illegal to download movies and music from the Internet.” She added that “Children generally don’t see why downloading is a problem. These kids are in la la land.”


[Well, maybe it’s just as well that she is teaching them that downloading is illegal rather than the spoken word, as in one short quote she’s exemplified why Johnny is an inarticulate dolt. “La la land”?? At least she didn’t say “ain’t” and “like, you know”. Or maybe they cut that part out.]

Well, if our schools aren’t worried about teaching the important things to our children (funny how they can’t teach abstinence or many philosophies as “it isn’t their place to teach issues of morality and ethics”, but they can teach that “downloading movies is wrong”), at least the MPAA has their hearts in the right place – protecting the tender developing minds of our nation’s youth.

According to Rich Taylor, a spokesman for the MPAA, the message that they are trying to get across to the children is “You may think you’re anonymous, but you’re not.” As the article further explains, “the industry’s approach is two-pronged: to terrify and to teach.”

And this isn’t a particularly new initiative. In 2003 the Motion Picture Association paid $100,000 to sponsor an anti-piracy curriculum developed with the independent nonprofit education company Junior Achievement. The program was called, “What’s the Diff?: A Guide to Digital Citizenship,”

Of course, any self-respecting geek knows that diff is actually a Unix program designed to compare the contents of one file against another. In fact it’s probably great for determining whether that hecka huge file on your hard drive is complete with trailers or is the director’s cut.

Deborah Foster, of Street Law, which is co-developing another anti-piracy curriculum, explains that children do know, deep down, that downloading movies and music is wrong. But, she adds, “For some reason, they just choose to do it anyway.”

Which pretty wells sums up and explains the abysmal track record of public school programs aimed at curbing drug use, youth alcohol abuse, AIDS, and teen pregnancy.

But Aunty is sure that this program will be much more successful. This issue, after all, is a priority.

You can read more about this at the Washington Post.

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