School to kids: Government is your family

Robby Soave Reporter
Font Size:

An Illinois elementary school is teaching children that the government is their family and will take care of all their needs.

Fourth graders at East Prairie School in Skokie, Illinois were given a worksheet that asked “What Is Government?”

The correct answer, according to the handout:

“Government is like a nation’s family. Families take care of children and make sure they are safe, healthy and educated, and free to enjoy life. Families encourage children to be independent hardworking and responsible. Families make and enforce rules, and give appropriate punishments when rules are broken. Families make and enforce rules and give appropriate punishments when rules are broken. Government does these things for its citizens, too.”

The worksheet then quizzed students about how the government can keep them safe and healthy in the same ways that their parents do.

A concerned parent who disagreed with the idea that the government’s job is to be a societal stand-in for family shared the worksheet with the media.

District superintendent Teri Madl denied that the worksheet carried a specific political message.

“It is meant to offer a simple analogy that helps children understand that part of a government’s role is to set rules, enforce those rules, and provide safety, security and freedom for its citizens,” said Madl in a statement to The Blaze. “It is not an attempt to include and/or promote a political message. If a parent does have a concern I would encourage him or her to contact the child’s teacher.”

Nathan Harden, editor of The College Fix, disagreed.

“It takes someone outside the system, in this case a concerned parent, to see it for what it is–big government propaganda repackaged as civics education,” he wrote in a column.

The worksheet also featured an image of Uncle Sam paternalistically cradling a patriotic American baby–invoking the image of “Big Brother,” the face of the authoritarian government in George Orwell’s famous novel “1984.”

“These Orwellian ideas, innocent though they may seem here in cartoon form, are actually quite destructive,” wrote Harden. “By portraying the government as a parent, who provides for you and has ultimate power over your life, government schools are preparing students for a life of dependence and obeisance.”

Follow Robby on Twitter

Robby Soave