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.

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Source: Slate

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

  1. 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?

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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

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


  6. 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.

  7. Bush II, The High Priest In Chief:

    “Rarely is the question asked: Is our children learning?”—Florence, S.C., Jan. 11, 2000

    Rarely is the question asked, did God really tell you, in the book of Revelation, to invade Iraq?

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. the other Mike:

    that was a great read. Now that is the way people ought to treat internet articles.

  11. 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.

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

  13. The quote was deliberate. Assuming it was an inadvertent mistake is wrong.

  14. 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…

  15. 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.

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