Reeducation: The Department of Education Pulls Mao Quote

130px-Mao_Zedong_portrait140px-US-DeptOfEducation-Seal.svgIn one of the truly moronic acts from a government official, the Department of Education posted a mangled quote of Chinese Communist Party leader Mao Zedong on its website as the saying of the day for children. It is clear that whoever approved it had no idea who Mao was or the atrocities that he committed, particularly during the Cultural Revolution when intellectuals were massacred. The quote was taken down after various sites pointed out the irony. It was replaced by a quote from Lincoln.

The quote appeared on the “Kids’ Zone” website of the National Center for Education Statistics. The quote stated “Our attitude towards ourselves should be ‘to be satiable in learning’ and towards others ‘to be tireless in teaching.'” That was the webpage’s “Quote of the Day” section.

I understand that this is just one small site, though one would expect a modicum of care in a site for children. It is highly unnerving that a DOE employee clearly had no idea who Mao was. I consider the quote to be akin to a Hitler quote on the need for living space to achieve true happiness. Mao destroyed the intellectual and academic community in China in the cultural revolution and spoke of reeducation to mouth the Communist dogma of the time. It is not reeducation that is needed at the Education Department but simple education on history.

mao zedon.png.CROP.article568-large

Source: Slate

44 thoughts on “Reeducation: The Department of Education Pulls Mao Quote

  1. I am not the least bit troubled by their use of a Mao quote – even a blind sow can find an acorn.

    I am, however, shocked at the quote! I can never have enough learning. I try to learn something new every day and love to dig into new information when I find it. I can’t imagine telling kids that they should ever believe they have learned enough!

  2. @Frankly: I had the same thought–I wonder if the original quote was “insatiable.” Either way, the person who posted it was ignorant of history and either sloppy or a very shallow thinker.
    You know what they say: those who do not learn history are condemned to make idiots of themselves in public.

  3. Given the nature of Maoism, I am sure that is an accurate quote and I think the person who selected it had no idea of the meaning of the word satiable and mistook it for insatiable. So that person has limited knowledge of history and the English language. Just the kind of person we need in education, and such folks will love that quote since it will guarantee their continuing in a cush job with no real ability to do it. A pure bureaucratic justification for everything.

    As for Mao and his legacy, while he was bad enough, I have to remind folks that his opponents were NO better or more libertarian than Mao. At least he unified the country, got if fed better than it had been under Chiang and it became a world power. The Communists proved to be better organized and won the hears and minds of the Chinese people. The KMT folks simply had the force of arms to impose themselves on Formosa and cared little for freedom or democracy too.

  4. It shows a certain intolerance to object to a quote from someone, just because you object to what that someone did.
    It is just like politicians maligning their opponents because they don’t have a valid objection to their opponents policies.

    That said, does ‘to be satiable in learning’ mean that you should find learning a satisfactory thing to do, or that you should be able to get to a stage where you are satisfied that you have learnt enough.

  5. Climate change is the greatest hoax ever fostered on the American people.” – Senator Inhofe

    A fellow in the House who chairs a committee on the environment puts it:

    He elaborated on those views in an interview with the Salt Lake Tribune: “I’m not as convinced as a lot of people are that man-made climate change is the threat they think it is.”

    But if Stewart isn’t sure how he feels about climate change, he’s dead-set in his view of the EPA: He wants the agency dissolved. In August, following a campaign event in the southwest corner of the state, Stewart told the St. George News that the Environmental Protection Agency should be eliminated because, as he put it, “The EPA thwarts energy development.”

    During his congressional campaign, Stewart highlighted the Endangered Species Act as the mark of a regulatory state gone wrong. “There is no better example of the overreach of government than in environmental law,” he said in an interview last April with the Freemen Capitalist, a conservative website.

    (Climate Change Denying Congressman to Head Subcommittee on Climate Change). Thus the question arises, just because someone has blind spots in their cognition, does that mean they should be demonized?

    Should all statements and books about Mao, Hitler, Cheney, and Bush II be forbidden?

    I think Frankly has it down.

    The good, the bad, and the ugly of leaders should be known so that others can attempt to emulate the good, and overcome the bad in their own lives.

    Banning books or parts thereof is misguided.

  6. “Our attitude towards ourselves should be ‘to be satiable in learning’ and towards others ‘to be tireless in teaching.”


    Crikey! Satiable in learning? I wonder if the person who approved the quote knows what it means.

  7. JT said:
    “It is clear that whoever approved it had no idea who Mao was or the atrocities that he committed, particularly during the Cultural Revolution when intellectuals were massacred.”

    It is equally clear that their true colors shine through, without the self-censorship they would have applied had they known who they were quoting.

    Their quoting of Mao shows that they think like Mao, all on their own, did not think it was wrong thinking, and it is the same principles and sensibilities they apply in administering what is essentially a government communist program.

    A rare poetically accidental peering into the minds of those who lord over us.

  8. Gary T 1, March 24, 2013 at 9:37 am

    To Arthur Randolph Erb:

    And I am sure he got the trains to run on time too.
    According to the schedule of reality, China will overtake the U.S. economy at the world’s number one spot before 2016.

    They actually have public transportation in the form of high speed trains, the fastest in the world:

    China began service Wednesday morning on the world’s longest high-speed rail line, covering a distance in eight hours that is about equal to that from New York to Key West, Fla., or from London across Europe to Belgrade, Serbia.

    Trains traveling 300 kilometers, or 186 miles, an hour, began regular service between Beijing and Guangzhou, the main metropolis in southeastern China. Older trains still in service on a parallel rail line take 21 hours; Amtrak trains from New York to Miami, a shorter distance, still take nearly 30 hours.

    (NY Times). Sounds like Mao did less damage to China than Oil-Qaeda has done to the

  9. One may never truly know where they are from….but they mostly surly can tell you where they’ve been…. me….

    Next you know thy will quote a little Hitler… A little Stalin….. Even Nero did some good…. That is why education is important….and not revisionist…..

    Frankly, you absolutely have it correct…..

  10. [Music}
    We dont need no education!
    We dont need no thought control..
    All in all,, its just a…
    Blip in the road…

    Ok class. Who sang that song? What group?
    Was it Mothers of Invention?

  11. I personally don’t get why DOE would quote someone who’s purpose in life was to make his citizens drones (yeah, I know *sorry*) for the state. Then, one millisecond later, I go “of course they would!” What? They thought Socrates or Maria Montessori had nothing valuable to say?

  12. So DOE CAN remove a Mao quote from a website as inappropriate but CAN’T get rid of Creationism from schools. Sad, just plain sad.

  13. Mao could have done more damage to China if he had a DOE with SWAT teams:

    The Department of Education is disputing a local news report that it sent a S.W.A.T. team to knock down the door and search the house of an individual because he defaulted on student loans.

    Stockton, Calif. resident Kenneth Wright told the local ABC affiliate that on Tuesday, approximately 15 officers stormed into his home at 6 a.m., placed him in handcuffs and kept him in a squad car for nearly six hours while his three young children remained inside the house.

    Wright said one of the individuals grabbed him by the neck and led him outside to his front lawn.

    “He had his knee on my back and I had no idea why they were there,” Wright said.

    The initial report said the U.S. Department of Education “issued the search and called in the S.W.A.T for his wife’s defaulted student loans,” although that story has since been taken down and replaced with an updated version that did not contain the claim about the raid being connected to student loans.

    (Educational SWAT Team). Or perhaps if he could have spied on the Chinese people a bit better:

    * Some 1,271 government organizations and 1,931 private companies work on programs related to counterterrorism, homeland security and intelligence in about 10,000 locations across the United States.

    * An estimated 854,000 people, nearly 1.5 times as many people as live in Washington, D.C., hold top-secret security clearances.

    * In Washington and the surrounding area, 33 building complexes for top-secret intelligence work are under construction or have been built since September 2001. Together they occupy the equivalent of almost three Pentagons or 22 U.S. Capitol buildings – about 17 million square feet of space.

    * Many security and intelligence agencies do the same work, creating redundancy and waste. For example, 51 federal organizations and military commands, operating in 15 U.S. cities, track the flow of money to and from terrorist networks.

    * Analysts who make sense of documents and conversations obtained by foreign and domestic spying share their judgment by publishing 50,000 intelligence reports each year – a volume so large that many are routinely ignored.

    (Washington Post). Oh well, since China is taking over first place in the world, economically, what Mao said won’t do us any good anyway.

  14. Turley and his fellow leftists should be delighted–and probably are (in spite of the mock outrage) that Mao is being quoted by the US Government. As leftist politics continues its lethel grip on the soul of America, I fully expect to see the Government to soon be posting quotations from Adolf Schicklgruber and Joseph Djugashvili too. But by then, the quotations from those leftist favorites will be the least of the worries for the minority of the public that prefers liberty over leftism.

  15. Ah leftists! Even mass murderers are quotable, as long as they are on the “correct” side of history. Maybe next week they will feature a Stalin quote. I recommend this: “One death is a tragedy. A million deaths is a statistic.” Or this: “If the people fear me, they will love me.” Think of the choices! Pol Pot, Fidel Castro, Ceausescu, Mugabe…

  16. Has anyone followed The Other Mike’s link? It looks like it should be “INsatiable” or variously, “To learn without satiety”.

  17. It could be argued the original author of the webpage content probably has a misinformed admiration for Mao, or was ignorant to who he really was or represented. (maybe both I don’t know)

    Hopefully, and probably more likely, the effect of this will be limited to a negligent post on a website. Don’t want to see Little Red Books published by the gov’t.

  18. Hey, I even believe in quoting Bush II on education:

    “I guess it’s OK to call the secretary of education here ‘buddy.’ That means friend.”—Philadelphia, Jan. 8, 2009

    “As yesterday’s positive report card shows, childrens do learn when standards are high and results are measured.”—New York, Sept. 26, 2007

    Just to keep the righties hippie.

  19. The quote doesn’t bother me in the least. Actually, I think it’s actually good advice. That Mao said it doesn’t diminish it’s validity.

  20. Just a thought….
    Mangled quote? Mangled MAO quote? Somewhat sophisticated for a Kid’s Zone? I wonder how much James O’Keefe got for this website hack.

  21. “I consider the quote to be akin to a Hitler quote on the need for living space to achieve true happiness.”


  22. Pink Floyd

    We don’t need no education
    We don’t need no thought control
    No dark sarcasm in the class room
    Teachers leave those kids alone
    (yells) Hey, teachers! Leave those kids alone!

    All in all, it’s just a
    Nother brick in the wall

    All in all, you’re just a
    Nother brick in the wall

    (british kids)
    We don’t need no education
    We don’t need no thought control
    No dark sarcasm in the class room
    Teachers leave those kids alone
    (yells) Hey, teachers! Leave those kids alone!

    All in all, it’s just a
    Nother brick in the wall
    All in all, you’re just a
    Nother brick in the wall


    If u dont eat ur meat u kant have ne pudding
    How kan u have any pudding if u dont eat ur meat

    If u dont eat ur meat u kant have ne pudding
    How kan u have any pudding if u dont eat ur meat

    If u dont eat ur meat u kant have any pudding
    How kan u have any pudding if u dont eat ur meat




    Standard YouTube License

  23. The dogpac asked me to chimne in because I am a supposed expert in commie stuff. So, I got this off the internet. Chairman Mao had a Red Book with his famous quotes. Here are some from chap 33 on Study:

    33. STUDY

    In transforming a backward agricultural China into an advanced industrialized country, we are confronted with arduous tasks and our experience is far from adequate. So we must be good at learning.

    “Opening Address at the Eighth National Congress of the Communist Party of China” (September 15, 1956).

    Conditions are changing all the time, and to adapt one’s thinking to the new conditions, one must study. Even those who have a better grasp of Marxism and are comparatively firm in their proletarian stand have to go on studying, have to absorb what is new and study new problems.

    Speech at the Chinese Communist Party’s National Conference on Propaganda Work (March 12, 1957), 1st pocket ed., p. 8.*

    We can learn what we did not know. We are not only good at destroying the old world, we are also good at building the new.

    “Report to the Second Plenary Session of the Seventh Central Committee of the Communist Party of China” (March 5, 1949), Selected Works, Vol. IV, p. 374.

    Now, there are two different attitudes towards learning from others. One is the dogmatic attitude of transplanting everything, whether or not it is suited to our conditions. This is no good. The other attitude is to use our heads and learn those things which suit our conditions, that is, to absorb whatever experience is useful to us. That is the attitude we should adopt.

    On the Correct Handling of Contradictions Among the People (February 27, 1957), 1st pocket ed., p. 75.

    The theory of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin is universally applicable. We should regard it not as a dogma, but as a guide to action. Studying it is not merely a matter of learning terms and phrases but of learning Marxism-Leninism as the science of revolution. It is not just a matter of understanding the general laws derived by Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin from their extensive study of real life and revolutionary experience, but of studying their standpoint and method in examining and solving problems.

    “The Role of the Chinese Communist Party in the National War” (October 1938), Selected Works, Vol. II, pp. 208-09.

    If we have a correct theory but merely prate about it, pigeonhole it and do not put it into practice, then that theory, however good, is of no significance.

    “On Practice” (July 1937), Selected Works, Vol. I, p. 304.

    It is necessary to master Marxist theory and apply it, master it for the sole purpose of applying it. If you can apply the Marxist-Leninist viewpoint in elucidating one or two practical problems, you should be commended and credited with some achievement. The more problems you elucidate and the more comprehensively and profoundly you do so, the greater will be your achievement.

    “Rectify the Party’s Style of Work” (February 1, 1942), Selected Works, Vol. III, p. 38.

    How is Marxist-Leninist theory to be linked with the practice of the Chinese revolution? To use a common expression, it is by “shooting the arrow at the target”. As the arrow is to the target, so is Marxism-Leninism to the Chinese revolution. Some comrades, however, are “shooting without a target”, shooting at random, and such people are liable to harm the revolution.

    Ibid., p. 42.

    Those experienced in work must take up the study of theory and must read seriously; only then will they be able to systematize and synthesize their experience and raise it to the level of theory, only then will they not mistake their partial experience for universal truth and not commit empiricist errors.


    Reading is learning, but applying is also learning and the more important kind of learning at that. Our chief method is to learn warfare through warfare. A person who has had no opportunity to go to school can also learn warfare – he can learn through fighting in war. A revolutionary war is a mass undertaking; it is often not a matter of first learning and then doing, but of doing and then learning, for doing is itself learning.

    “Problems of Strategy in China’s Revolutionary War” (December 1936), Selected Works, Vol. I, pp. 189-90.

  24. I like the quote from Chairman Mao about shooting the arrow at the target. Perhaps there is room in American schools for some quotes from this guy. We have to be open minded. We can learn from the closed minds. Take Jerry Falwell for example. Watch him on TV and you will think twice about going to church. Especially if you have money in the wallet.

  25. The Other Mike, Thanks for the most useful post on this thread.

    The database that the Center is using seems to have got it wrong. Properly quoted and attributed to Confucius it would be a good quote.

    Now the Center will be reviewing the quotes in the database, probably deleting anything from the “unacceptables”. I suspect that many of the Mao quotes could be replaced with quotes from Confucius. Is it ok to quote Confucius?

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