Clipped From Jefferson City Post-Tribune

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 - A conservative vfew* Cut funds for AAACOS By...
A conservative vfew* Cut funds for AAACOS By JAMES J.KILPATRICK WASHINGTON — During the past 10 years, the National Science Foundation (NSF) has paid out more than $6.5 million in public funds for the development and promotion of a social studies course intended intended for use at the fifth-grade level. The course is now under attack in the House of Representatives. The matter merits your attention. The row is about "Man: A Course of Study," or MACOS. The teaching materials were developed under an NSF grant by Curriculum Development Associates, a private Washington firm. Dr. Jerome Bruner, an experimental psychologist long identified with Harvard and later with Oxford University, was in charge of the undertaking. Work began on MACOS in 1963. In 19TO the completed course of study became available. Since then, an estimated 1,700 schools have used it. Some school districts have tried MACOS and discarded it under parental fire. Much of the course of study deals with animals, birds and fish. The most controversial controversial portion has to do with the Net- silik Eskimos, whose tribal characteristics are examined. Rep. John B. Conlan, R-Ariz., has catalogued some of these characteristics: Adultery, bestiality, cannibalism, cannibalism, incest, infanticide, murder, revenge, robbery and wife-swapping. Children are encouraged, through role-playing to empathize with the Eskimos. Golan provides this quotation: "Husbands "Husbands have a very free hand in their married life, and it is consideredto be quite in order for them to have intercourse with any woman whenever there is an opportunity.'' A number of progressive and liberal educators have praised the course of study because "it raises value issues" and it doesn't tell children how to think." Critics contend, to the contrary, that the values promoted by MACOS are not regarded as values except by a highly sophisticated minority; and they say the barely concealed concealed purpose of MACOS is indeed to teach children how to think —to think, that is, as Bruner wouldlike them to think. Questions arise. To judge from Conlan's compilation of complaints across the country, country, the content of this course of study assuredly is offensive to hundreds, perhaps thousands, of parents. It is reasonable to assume, however, that no course of study — except the most bland and innocuous material — could be made inoffensive to everyone. Bruner's Eskimo stories strike me as pretty gamey for 11 and 12-year-olds. Assuming the accuracy of Conlan's quotes, I believe parents in my rural county would resent this course of study intensely. Did the NSF have any responsibility, once it had agreed to get into this thing, for the course content? The question arises because the NSF director, H. Guyford Stever, last week yielded to the outcries from Conlan and' from Rep. Olin E. Teague, D-Tex. Stever tentatively agreed o eliminate funding for MACOS. Five; Democratic liberals promptly howled, "censorship." I think the liberals are wrong. If the NSF isn't accountable for, spending our money on MACOS, who in the- world is? Finally, the most serious question: Is it wise for the federal government, through' NSF or any other agency, to commission the writing and promotion of any textbooks' at all? Is this not an ominous echo of the Soviet Union's promulgation of official ) .scientific theory? , It seems so to me. For my own part, I am • repelled by the manipulative theories of' such behavioral scientists as B.F. Skinner. • Skinner's stuff gives me the creeps. But even if they were propounding sound doc- 1 , trine, they would have no right to pursue; academic freedom with the people's; money. Once the notion is accepted that r government has power to commission and to subsidize textbooks in social science, we move a significant step toward 1981

Clipped from
  1. Jefferson City Post-Tribune,
  2. 09 Apr 1975, Wed,
  3. Page 2

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