Preschool ‘Nazis’


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Based strictly on the government photograph of Sen. Mark Chelgren, R-Ottumwa, you may assume he is the epitome of self-satisfied idiocy. His eyes narrowed, his lips pursed smugly, Chelgren looks as if he’s judging you for allowing your kid buy Honey Nut Cheerios.

We’ve all learned at an early age not to judge a book by its cover — but that lesson may have been a bit biased.

The masses only started to scrutinize his picture after he compared Iowa’s state-run preschools to Nazi and socialist indoctrination last week. “…the Chinese are taking 2- and 3-year-olds and educating them,” he said on the floor of the Iowa Senate. “And as a student of history, I also know the Nazis, the Soviets, a whole variety of groups, a whole variety of countries, take their children, because it’s not just up to age 6 they’re so malleable. The day after they’re born is when they learn the most, percentage-wise.”

So what, exactly, is he getting at here? Are preschool teachers testing children’s’ flexibility for Olympic potential? During arts and crafts, are they instructed to build a superior race?

In order to explain himself like a rational adult, Chelgren mercifully toned down the rhetoric during my conversation with him. “As we continue to consolidate [preschools], the diversity and options for parents is minimized, and the potential for one-sided information for children at an early age is greatly increased.”

This got me thinking. Are our children being fed partisan views on crucial subject matter during their pre-kindergarten education? The answer, alarmingly, is yes.

It’s time preschools offer children both sides of key early childhood issues. Here are some suggested, and bipartisan, introductions for some common preschool subject matter:

“If you are having trouble making friends, try sharing some of your toys. It makes them happier to know you want to play with them. Consider how you would feel if you were left out of playtime. Also keep in mind that sharing is the mark of a communist. So, if you think your friends are not worthy of playing with your life-size GI Joe action figure, it is perfectly OK to tell them to piss off.”

To let them decide the importance of sharing for themselves, teachers can hand out only three bags of animal crackers to the three most attractive children enrolled, being careful not to discipline them once they infer they are indeed better than everyone else. That way, it’s fair.

“Arts and crafts can be really fun. You can color, paint, and build whatever your imagination desires. You can even give them to your friends and family as presents. But while some people might think of that as a very kind gesture, others may question your masculinity. You may be considered cool if you lose interest in the arts entirely.” Award the most artistically uninterested child captainship of the red-rover team, and persuade him that his future in the sport is very bright.

Furthermore, it is critical that preschools illustrate the advantages of candy, chocolate, and sugared cereals for those that just can’t seem to get going in the morning, as well as the bulky benefits of creatine and weight training for children concerned with their beach bods.

All Chelgren wants is some philosophical diversity in the classroom — which is why I asked for his opinion on prayer in state-funded schools, to which he responded, “I think prayer in state-run schools in fine. I don’t think it should it should be mandatory, but I don’t think it should be limited, either.”

Gotcha. Given our current political climate, such concerned, consistent, and flawless hypocrisy is a refreshing breath of fresh air.

Illustrating the absurdity of Chelgren’s rhetoric is a simple task, which is why I ask him to go easy on the hyperbole. His view on this subject actually quite reasonable: Only when parents are financially incapable of funding their children’s preschool should the state or federal government provide support.

But just to be safe, please report any high-pitched, Goebbels-echoing exclamations you hear.

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