Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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August 9, 2004
By: Kevin Drum

53 STATES....Here's a weird one. California's attorney general is trying to shut down a school that charges immigrants $450 to $1,450 for a 10-week course that it says leads to a high school diploma. Apparently the curriculum consists of a short workbook "riddled with errors," including the following:

  • The United States has 53 states but the "flag has not yet been updated to reflect the addition of the last three states" -- Hawaii, Alaska and Puerto Rico.

  • World War II began in 1938 and ended in 1942.

  • There are two houses of Congress -- the Senate and the House, and "one is for Democrats and the other is for the Republicans, respectively."

The basic fraud involved here is easily understandable. Happens all the time. But why would anyone create a workbook claiming there are 53 states? This is not the kind of thing that anyone would just mistakenly get wrong, which means there's some kind of intellectual sadism involved here too. After all, what's the point of not just defrauding students, but deliberately teaching them myths when it's no harder to just teach them the truth?

The human mind is a real cesspool at times, isn't it?

Kevin Drum 3:04 PM Permalink | Trackbacks

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