March 12, 2008

Get this...

So Dawood brought home his Social Studies test yesterday and he lost 2 points for a particular question. It was True or False: A small family has a better life then a large family.

Dawood wrote True. Well, he got it wrong. This is is like 10 kinds of wrong. They are teaching that a family with fewer children is happier because they have more income at their disposal. This is an opinion, and they are teaching it as fact! How does that make kids like mine feel? We are a family of 6 and with 4 children we're a bit over the average around here. PLUS they are teaching that money is what makes happiness.

This isn't the first time I've noticed this. There are public service announcements about it and last year in Zayneb's math book, completely random is this:

"A small family means a better life"

What the hell?


  1. That is a sad state of affairs. Any wonder who is behind this kind of thought process??? Hmmm. The link between USAID and Egypt is huge and it is a tug of war they are winning ten-fold. Foreign influences are sneaking their thought processes into the Muslim world at an alarming rate. May God protect us. Um Omar

  2. Wow. Do your children follow the Egyptian curriculum in an English school or they are following an American curriculum?

  3. Sad indeed Nicole.
    Organic, Egyptian curriculum in English school. There isn't an American one in Hurgada. There is a school that just opened that has an American headmaster, I'm looking into it. The kids might transfer next year.

  4. Assalaamu alaikum, This is so sad! I would write a letter voicing my "opinion" to the teacher with the quickness! Ugghhhh. I feel your frustration.

  5. "A small family has a better life than a large family." And he wrote "true," and got it wrong.

    Isn't that teaching him that either a)a LARGE family has a better life than a small family or b)that the question isn't necessarily true?

    Either way (with a or b as i wrote it), I think that was the answer you were looking for, right??

    salaam! :)

  6. p.s.

    the mathbook & public service announcements though are of course ridiculous.

    but i'm still wondering how does the social studies question agree with the mathbook thing - am i missing something?

    anyway, why are they promoting smaller families in Egypt? Isn't this pretty insulting, since Egyptians tend to have large families - and oh, not to mention, children are a BLESSING in Islam?

    salaamu alaikum!

  7. Safa, I would but it's in the textbook like that...

    UmYehiya, You lost me..the T or F seems to say exactly what the math book picture says, right?

  8. That is very ignorant for the testers to include a question like that and expect an 'objective' response like true or false (or in this case, a so-called correct answer).

    That said, personally I think everybody would be a bit better off if everybody had fewer children. That may be a bit un-Islamic to say but consider this...many years ago Iran banned birth control. Following that, they had serious problems with unemployement and ever-increasing hardships for the population. I think they also had an extremly disporportionate number of youth under age thirty. So the religious authorities approved birth control (with conditions of course). Lo and behold, the economy greatly improved.

    Sounds like a government mandated curriculum is trying to shape an individuals future choices.

  9. anisa4:37 AM

    I can’t let go of this, but please allow me this short rant because it is relevant (I think!):

    Family planning often does result in a better life!

    Lets revisit Iran:

    After Khomeini’s Islamic Revolution post 1970, family planning programs were seen as not in keeping with religious values and so such programs were eradicated. Later, in the late 1980s there was high unemployment, overcrowding and pollution, and dwindling water and land resources (hey that sounds like Egypt! Faced with such problems, Khomeini (along with other religious authorities), CHANGED THEIR MINDS and instituted national family planning programs. The primary goal was reducing the number of children born. Even today, Iran is the only place on the planet that requires both the man and woman to register for a modern contraception class before receiving a marriage license!!!

    Its called common sense and social responsibility! Enough with the western conspiracies people!

  10. Your children study social studies in English? They are lucky:)

    These hidden messages and certainly the biased messages are inserted to battle the problem with family planning in Egypt. If this curriculum the same used in Egyptian public schools, then this might make sense.

  11. Anisa, you are entitled to your opinion, just as those who believe it to be western influence are. The issue here is the test question being objective as you put it. I believe people should have as many or as few children as they see fit as long as they are taken care of.

    Organic, They have most subjects in English except Arabic and Deen (of course) and Social Studies, which just started this year for my 4th grader. I'm not sure if these are the same books public school kids get, but that would make sense.

  12. Anonymous5:24 PM

    I have read the same thing in many books too.
    Ofcourse its an opinion, and shouldnt be stated as a fact. Maybe its just to make everyone aware of the erm 'Family Planning' ,......Dont know


  13. Really Maryam? What kind of books?

  14. Well you can guess how I feel about that, GRRRRR. Everyone keeps asking DH if we did anything "permanent" to "fix things" after the 4th kid. He replies with an emphatic no and people are shocked!LOL

    As for Egypt, well in a country where there are tax/government incentives for small families I am not shocked that they take this view. I hate that they are teaching it though. Besides, finances aren't the sole deciding factor in quality of life... How ignorant is that?

    I have been wondering if we are going to be a little out of the norm having a big family when/if we move... I guess that answers my question!LOL

  15. UmmLayla, I get that too.. & "were they all planned?" YES. "Do you want more?" NO, and oh yea, none of your business!
    As for the Norm, most people I know have 2 or 3 kids, but I'm sure rural families have more.

  16. Asalam alaykum-

    My dh is Egyptian and we have been back a few times. If we were to live there, I feel like I'd have so much de-programming to do...trying to teach my kids that Islam doesn't say that smaller families have better lives...waiting for your turn patiently in line is not a bad thing...neither is following traffic signals...the ground is not a huge dumpster.
    And my BIGGEST pet peeve...when a couple divorces, it's ALWAYS the woman's fault...ARRRGGGHHH!
    Mona, do you find yourself de-programming your kids often? Do you want to raise your family in Egypt completely, or go back and forth?

  17. Anonymous8:02 PM

    In one of the social studies books, of my brother.


  18. N, I know what you mean, it's difficult because they have to learn that even Muslim people do wrong things. About the lines! UGH, its like a free for all where there should be lines for example the snack bar at school, No such thing as a single file! And I can't stand people throwing trash on the street!! It makes me so angry.

    I think it would be really difficult, not to mention expensive to go back and forth. Thanks for visiting and commenting.

    Thanks Maryam :)

  19. Anonymous7:00 PM

    asalamu alaikum,
    well i just have to say one thing...china. there is a gender ratio crisis right now, it's so bad that there might be about 40 million men who will not get married in the next 10 years. all this cuz the government wanted to control something that is not for them to control. They should learn from this that Allah is the one who balances everything. and how dare they brainwash these children into thinking such ridiculous things. i mean at best they can educate people about birth control, when they get married not in 6th grade, but beyond that is just plain disgusting. soon people will start killing their baby girls as well astaghfirAllah. salaam hala

  20. I remember how pathetically one sided a lot of my school books were when I was young. And now my husband and I will be discussing something and realize that our history books taught two different things- like who won a war. Who knows who is right?

    but propaganda exists in all walks of life.

    its our duty as parents to make sure our children realize that there are two sides to every story.

  21. Hala, That's a good point. Governments shouldn't butt into citizens personal decisions.

    Molly, That's true, I had to talk to them about it.

  22. Anonymous1:24 PM

    OMG! Looks like I'm a little late in this discussion. How dare they teach that to him? I am wondering if you talked to the teacher or principal about this?love eman

  23. Everything is always a bit biased, but this is really too much.

    Wanted to add though that your son getting that question *wrong* by putting true means that they think BIG families are better. Opposite messages...

    I am all for family planning, but no need to brainwash them into it!

  24. Anonymous6:32 PM

    Living in Egypt, where the population is growing uncontrollable, I can understand this try to influence children.

    Children are a blessing, as long as the parents can take care of them. The truth is though, that in many parts of Egypt, people get more children that they can take care of... or the country can handle. In Luxor children in public schools go in shifts, because they can not fit them in the school buildings... and the population is estimated to double again in a not too far away future.I am not a fan of the Egyptian government, but honestly, any government would have problems with coping with such an uncontrolled population growth.

    Nobody leave Cancer untreated and say that it is Goods will if they die. If it is ok to take help from medicine to treat illnesses, it should not be wrong to take help to control the amount of children a family want and both physically and financially care for.

    Money is not happiness, but happy and healthy children with a chance to a good future is.

    I do not say only rich people should have many kids... but my neighbor here in Hurghada lives in a two bedroom flat and they have so much kids that some are falling from the balcony. (Ok.. not really, they just prefer to stay in the street).

    Too many children is not a blessing, it is a burden. Both for the poor mothers that cares for their families almost alone (at least in my neighbors case and many other Egyptian families), for the society and their neighbors nerves and ears.

    God bless you all. :)

    A.. also living in Hurghada.

  25. Anon A, I am in complete agreement BUT I still don't think they should be doing it THIS way...know what I mean? 1st graders and whatever, grade school kids? Thanks for commenting!

  26. omg i would burn this book!


Thanks for commenting!