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Huntsville City Schools just contracted to spend $100,000 to make sure parents of infants and toddlers interact with their children properly.

You read that right.  See, lower-class people don't speak much to their children, and when they do?  They use simple, stupid words.  The LENA program the schools are using would change all that.  Basically, what they do is this:

1.  They yammer at the parents, particularly parents in poverty who might not feel they can say no to some do-gooder's project, and indoctrinate them into believing the way they're raising their kids is messed-up and wrong.  This so-called "mass intervention" is projected to reach the "90% of families in poverty not served by most current programs."

2.  Distribute goody bags containing a couple of books and what looks like a pedometer that measures words.  Data from these families is collected on a "LENA Mobile cloud-based tool for 24/7 access."  ( I can't make this stuff up.)

3.  LENA provides goal-setting and incentive plans/recognitions of achievement if the purchaser chooses (in this case, the schools).  (source for above)

So there you have it.  People who are lower on the socio-economic ladder are going to get talked down to, indoctrinated, pushed to accept this "help" and then tracked in their own homes in the hopes of "closing the achievement gap."

Allow me to adjust my tin-foil hat on just a little tighter before I say, it starts with "voluntary" programs for the poor, to "help" them.  It ends with mandatory programs for everyone "because if it saves just one child..."

The idea of mandatory kindergarten, zero tolerance, and monitoring what our kids eat in the lunchroom was crazy talk 30 years ago.  Here's today's batch of crazy, I guess.

Updated on 21 March to add:  today, Missouri Education Watchdog has also done a writeup on this development.


  1. You've outdone yourself, Happy....this is just wrong on a million levels.

    1. I look at these stories and still am not sure that such a thing could ever be real. And yet, there is plenty of documentation for this on the internet. Either this is true, or it's an elaborate ruse at this point.

    2. It is more than just school and the poor. We went to a science club meeting about autism. The Doctor worked with Emory University and Marcus Autism Center. He was all excited about the very same type of deal for a study of autistic kids early on...aged 18 months or so. He mentioned the "word deficit" among the poor. Scientists are salivating on this one. But it's stupid. I wish someone would do a study on the inhumanity of scientists.

    3. Oh-my-gosh. You know... the local children's hospital has wanted our DNA and to do a "study" on us for a long time, since most (or probably all) our kids are autistic. The thing to keep in mind with things like that is that it's not to benefit YOU. It's for them. Their papers, their glory... and it might not translate to real help for others. All those things together tell me it's not worth giving up that personal data. This isn't terminal cancer. :)

    4. Also? (And yes, I'm droning.) I had children who could read words like "withersoever" but struggle greatly over "onion." They know what a freaking onion is. Gimme a break.

      I think our children (and this is just my theory I made up, mind) memorise words when they read instead of sounding them out. They simply read words like "withersoever" more often than "onion." My Elf HATES onions.

  2. When my son was born at a charity hospital, I was signed up for a study on lead poisoning. I lived in a city where there was high incidences. After a while, I realized that they were watching me with my kid and taking notes. I walked. My doctor could test for lead levels, and I could test for presence of lead myself. It sounds kinda similar to what you are describing.

    1. Well, and Big Brother wasn't quite as invasive then as he is now. I signed up for some visiting nurse program when my middle kids were babies. I would never do that today knowing what I do now.

  3. I'm guilty of using simple words, it's what I learned myself as English was not my parents first language, plus things were simplified so my older sister could understand more easily. with my own kids, I tried not to, but they all managed to learn more than I had and are all smarter than me, so I didn't do too badly.
    I don't see forcing people to participate in such a program will help though. Wouldn't it be better to teach the kids the proper uses of language in the schools?

    1. What they're saying is that parents who don't speak enough "rich language" create "word gaps" in their children and later down the road, the children don't perform as well on standardised tests. Oh, heaven forbid people speak differently and/or don't test as well.

      It's all about the test, the college, the best job. What about the humanity? Can't we all do our best job without getting judged for not being in the top 10%?

      PS. I think your blog contains a deep understanding of life and plenty of good language. You didn't do too badly at all. :)


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