Thursday, June 02, 2005

ROBYN RED GUARD (ST. PETE TIMES) GOES GLOBAL

In a recent post, I made reference to Robyn Blumner’s article in the May 8, 2005 St. Pete Times where she referred to the United States as, “A nation of civic illiterates”. In that article, Robyn Red Guard was kind enough to point us to an organization that she believes will help us find a cure for this national malady. Her educator of choice is referred to as Civiced. I availed myself of the internet link provided and entered the strange world of Civiced.

Join me as we dive headlong through the looking glass, tumble down the rabbit hole and confront this new dimension (a dimension of time wasted, a dimension of the spaced out, a dimension of the mindless). I will try to limit myself to simply reporting the information found on the Civiced site, but I may occasionally lapse into commentary.

Fresh from their recent workshop in Penang, Malaysia, Civiced is now conducting a “World Congress”. I am not sure what inspiration they received in Malaysia. This nation, as you probably know, is a Moslem nation which has recently experienced a successful Dakwah. For you illiterates, a Dakwah is an enthusiastic return to fundamentalism, Islam style. At any rate, on to the World Congress.

The current World Congress on civic literacy is being held (where else?) in another nation ruled by a Moslem monarch, Jordan. Are you beginning to get the picture? The U.S. is a nation of civic illiterates and we must rely on Moslems to show us the way.

Now, what is happening at the World Congress? Let’s look at the program. You can verify this by checking out the web site given by Robyn (civiced.org).

The keynote speech addresses, “Advancing Peace and Stability”. Whoda thunkit. Go to an Islamic monarchy in the Middle East to learn how to advance peace and stability. I would have thought that avoiding the Middle East would be a good first step, but what the hell. I am illiterate.
This inspiring speech will be followed by something called, “Thematic Breakout Sessions” which I assume means that we will break up into smaller groups and attend seminars. Lucky Robyn and her cohorts will be regaled by one of five civic education experts from (I am not making this up); Mongolia, Bulgaria, Ghana, Chile and Lebanon.

Now that we know why we are in Jordan and who is leading us, let’s take a look at the syllabus. The main topic of discussion is Global Education. This is described as promoting, “(A) K-12 Social Study curriculum designed to support civic structure with active participation of students in the improvement of society”. It is not clear whether this curriculum will be presented in the original German.

I can’t resist noting one more hot session from this World Congress; “How to develop a team to write a civics textbook”, conducted by two Russians! (Polozhevets and Voskresenskaya)

So there you have it. If we, the illiterate Americans, will just listen to Robin Red Guard and her pals (the Russians, Moslems, Mongolian, et al.) there may be some hope for us after all.

The Program for the World Congress ends with a fervent wish that takes on added poignancy when you are in a Moslem nation; “Have a safe journey home”.

It is expected that RRG will come home with all manner of wisdom. I reserve theright to comment thereon.

Brian

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