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Goofus and Gallant Go Woke
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Do you remember Highlights, the ubiquitous children’s magazine that you’d devour at the dentist’s office? If you were lucky, you’d wait for the mailman to deliver a fresh edition to your home at the beginning of every month. It was a treasure.

The venerable American publication was established in 1946 by an enterprising married couple devoted to improving elementary education. Highlights became a staple in generations of playful and curious youngsters’ lives. Its slogan was “fun with a purpose.” Long before the advent of toxic social media and Silicon Valley, way back before kids were obsessing over “likes” and “views” of self-indulgent selfies of themselves making Kardashian duck faces in their bathrooms and gyrating like Las Vegas pole-dancers in their bedrooms for TikTok, grade-school readers had healthy addictions to the wholesome trademark features of Highlights.

Who can forget spending hours hunting down the cleverly camouflaged objects in “Hidden Pictures”? (Dang it, where was that boomerang?)

Did you sit outside in the summer sunshine like 7-year-old me, unplugged and care-free, poring over the nonsensical scenes in the colorful “What’s Wrong?” artwork puzzle on the back cover of your well-worn copy of the magazine? (Wait, how did you miss the dog riding the bicycle backward!)

Raise your hand if you memorized the knock-knock jokes, giggled at “Goofus and Gallant” and begged your mom to buy pipe cleaners and popsicle sticks for the magazine’s craft projects. (Puh-lease, Mom, please don’t forget the googly-eyes.)

Feeling nostalgic? You’re not alone. Highlights delivered its billionth copy to a Texas schoolgirl in 2006 and marked its 75th anniversary last summer with publication reach in more than 40 countries.

Highlights became an American tradition by respecting and inculcating tradition. In its early days, editors incorporated Bible stories without controversy or backlash. Depictions of traditional nuclear families were normal — and normality was celebrated, not shunned. Highlights was also founded as an advertising-free sanctuary from incessant commercialization by sugary cereal companies, Big Pharma, toymakers and other promotional predators. Most importantly, the 44-page booklet of silliness was a protected space from partisan political pollution. Its side lessons on right and wrong were unobjectionable (Hey, did you see Goofus refuse to hold the door open for his grandma? Rude!). Parents could trust that their authority would not be mocked or values undermined.

Those days are long gone.

In 2017, after being mau-mau-ed by left-wing alphabet activists on Facebook who wanted pro-gay propaganda included in the magazine’s special edition for children 2 years old and under, Highlights featured a cartoon with a same-sex male couple and two children packing their wagon for a family trip. Initially, the editors resisted the call to capitulate because they believed “that parents know best” when to introduce such topics to their kids. But all it took were hysterical radioactive accusations of “homophobia” for the magazine to fold.

Like every other modern institution masquerading as a champion of children, the editors of Highlights now believe their primary obligation is not to respect traditional parents, but to replace them.


“Reflecting” the “diversity” of families means in-your-face proselytizing to “celebrate pride,” which includes Highlights-endorsed books that expose preschoolers as young as 3 years old to “gender identity and transition.” The Highlights pride book list includes titles such as the transgender-promoting “I am Jazz” for 4-year-olds and “Prince and Knight,” in which the protagonists “find true love in a most unexpected place” so as to “accelerate LGBTQ inclusivity and acceptance.”

You can’t tie your shoes yet or finish a word search, but hey, kids, time to accelerate your acceptance of toddler cross-dressing, transgender hormone therapy and two-man love scenes!

“Fun with a purpose” has given way to dreadful woke-ification programming and virtue-signaling. Highlights magazine editors remained silent in 2014 while the Obama administration separated illegal alien families at the border and held some children in cages but made a splash in 2019 condemning the same practices when the Trump administration tried to stem the tide.

The magazine’s current crusading “chief purpose officer” Christine French Cully is a COVID-19 fear-spreader who uses the magazine to condition kids to accept mask mandates despite their limited effectiveness in lowering COVID-19 transmission and detrimental effect on childhood brain development. Cully’s Twitter feed reads like the daily talking points diary of a B-list MSNBC guest, decrying guns, pushing dialogue with children about “climate change” and peddling ways to “talk to our kids about Ukraine.”

Last week, vigilant Falcon School District 49 board member Ivy Liu posted a recent Highlights lesson titled “I feel upset about racism. What should I do?” The editors’ “anti-racism” book list makes clear that embracing anti-white critical race theory is the only solution. Liu is leading a lonely battle against so-called “Social Emotional Learning” saturating D-49 classrooms (and Highlights materials) — and has even been censured by colleagues for calling out corrupted curriculum.

“Is this what they mean by making social justice warriors out of our kids?” Liu asks.

Indeed. It won’t be long now before Goofus and Gallant are dancing at Drag Queen Story Hour and the Timbertoes are forced to pay reparations for slavery. End-stage America never looked so grim, perverse and joyless.

Michelle Malkin’s email address is [email protected]

• Category: Ideology • Tags: Political Correctness, Public Schools 
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  1. Goofus is Boofus.

    • Replies: @Catdompanj
  2. The purchase of Highlights is a voluntary activity. If parents find it unacceptable, stop buying the magazine. Things change. In recent years we learned that Boy Scout leaders were sexually praying upon young boy scouts. That is a great reason not to be involved with scouting. We recently learned that the Southern Baptist Convention has a deep problem with sexual abuse that the church hierarchy has been keep secret–a good reason perhaps to avoid Southern Baptist Churches. Institutions come and go with time. Many of my favorite Chicago area restaurants have closed. Phil Smidts over in Whiting, Indiana (great fish), Isabelle’s in Thornton, Illinois, Tom’s in Homewood, Illinois, Tivoli in Chicago Heights, Illinois. All closed. Times and things change. It is lamentable that Highlights has changed, but who cares. Parents just need to make sure they purchase something else for the kids to read.

    There are some things, however, that should not change (but have). the Bible, for example, has not changed. But churches like the ELCA have changed their teaching. For example, the ELCA not only ordains women (which is forbidden by Paul in his Epistles), but it has recently ordained a transgender Bishop in San Francisco. That is not scriptural.

    Highlights magazine can do whatever it wants. Churches not so much. Those who fear how society is changing should focus their efforts on churches that are straying from Bible teachings and sound doctrine.

    • Replies: @Rich
  3. Being at the age that you reminisce about at a different time and place, I have never heard of Goofus and Gallant, nor the Highlights magazine. We did get some Dyanamite magazine with lots of stickers, and when that got old, it was girls and 1/2 the kids smoking pot in the parking lot before school.

    Anyway, I appreciate this column because I’d never heard anyone but my 10 y/o boy mention this “Social Emotional Learning” business. He hates it, but I thought it was because it was just more of this Ed-School crap done by his teacher to prove to herself that all that money that she had been forced to spend on that Masters in Education was worth something. (There is a lot of this, which slows down math by about 90% for my kid, etc.)

    I’m going to have to check into this Social Emotional Learning crap both by questioning this boy on the details and by going and talking to the school at one point. We will be homeschooling, but not this coming year, unless they are really pushing some garbage here. Actually before pulling him out, I will try raising Holy Hell first. I’m kinda looking forward to it …

    Thanks, Michelle.

  4. OK, I just got the low-down from the one side. That’d be the side I can trust, our 10 y/o. He told us that this SEL was reading and writing about one’s feelings. He has hated it from the get-go, as for one thing, he doesn’t like writing so much to begin with, but that feelings crap – I’d be the same way.

    However, I asked him specifically about racial stuff and genderbender stuff, and he answered in the negative. So, here, it’s just another bit of Ed-School nonsense, as I expected. This is just one school (and district), or course, so I’m not saying I don’t believe and support that Mrs. Ivy Liu mentioned in this article. Perhaps the districts incorporate the woke stuff at a level that barely does not hit the expected limit of the parents’ tolerance.

    As I wrote before, I will have no problem raising hell about it, if the cause is right.

    • Replies: @Big Ape
  5. Just another reminder that the country I grew up in, went to school, served in the military, always worked and paid taxes too – that country no longer exists.

  6. Did you go to the same dentist I did? Haha, I absolutely remember Highlights. Goofus and Gallant! It was a magazine I only saw at the doctor’s and dentist’s offices as a kid from say six years old to about sixteen when I would go but I used to pore over all of those cartoons and puzzles because they were the only fun thing about sitting and waiting for your little brother to get done with their appointment.
    It’s sad that they’ve gone belly-up on the values and changed their stance on traditional values.
    It’s also sad that children are not reading as much as they used to (in general) and our kids and adults are addicted to the screen.

  7. Thanks for bringing this to my attention. If I can do it without causing any upsets or too many questions, I don’t think I will renew my grandkids’ subscriptions. They love kids magazines like this, so I just gotta find an alternative. I suspect it’s damn near impossible now to find one that doesn’t have this type of liberal propaganda.

  8. Rich says:
    @Harry Huntington

    Highlights magazine is handed out to children in elementary schools throughout the country for free and is often used in lessons. Parents don’t have a choice whether it’s given to their kids when they are at school. Just like how predators often join organizations that bring them into contact with children, such as boy scouts or church youth groups, many also become teachers. Of course, it’s up to parents to be vigilant and try to imbue their children with good morals, but it’s a difficult job. Mrs Malkin making us aware of this nonsense is a service to the community.

    • Agree: Achmed E. Newman
    • Replies: @Harry Huntington
  9. @Rich

    Good parents talk with their children about what they are doing in school so this is not news for good parents. Typically, good parents could not care less what the school is teaching or what materials the school is using because parents know what the parents are teaching and what their church is teaching. My parents were quite conservative and very religious but they went out of their way to insure that I was exposed to and read things, from the youngest age possible, with which my parents disagreed because my parents wanted to make sure we talked about those things. My parents were quite confident I would make the right decisions. Parents who seek to censor what their children might see are not good parents. They have plainly failed to equip their children to think independently and to be firmly grounded in the church’s teaching.

    My parents were always quite disturbed when other parents would try to censor what the school could teach us or show us. Perhaps my parents had a subversive side; when the school would “ban” something, my parents always gave me a copy to take to school with the instruction that I should make it obvious that I was reading it.

    My parents also did things to introduce me (and my younger sibling) to things others thought controversial. I recall in 2nd grade on a Saturday we went to the Art Institute in Chicago. They had a delightful collection of medieval armor (that was the hook to get the kids interested in the museum) but we also walked around and looked at the paintings and statues. Of course there were nude paintings and statues. That was the whole point of the trip, in reality, not the armour.

    There is no point to a long discussion of good parenting. Suffice to say, no news here. The real issue is why have parents failed to educate their children how to think for themselves, and why have parents walked away from taking kids to church.

    • Replies: @Rich
  10. PaulP says: • Website

    This is a great write up, the “agenda” has gone too far.. Even my children in Elementary & JR High come home from school weirded out by what they talked about at school.

    I’m all for adults being who they want but kids don’t need indoctrinated.

  11. Rich says:
    @Harry Huntington

    I’m not sure how old you are, but schools have gotten much worse nowadays than ever before. WW2, for example, is taught as having been about the “holocau\$t” and the Tuskegee airmen are the ones who singlehandedly won the war. It’s possible to go to the Art Institute of Chicago and come across a Mapplethorpe exhibit. Does anyone in their right mind think that’s appropriate for children? How are you raising your kids? Are you letting them read the books given out to kids today about homosexuality and “gender transitioning”? Most mainline Protestant Churches now allow female ministers and homosexual “marriage” in direct opposition to biblical teaching, that might be a reason many have walked away.

    • Replies: @SteveRogers42
  12. Big Ape says:
    @Achmed E. Newman

    I work at an elementary school and so far we don’t teach that. We still have the pledge but cursive is not taught anymore. Teachers are having to pick up where some parents fail which is causing high turnover. I don’t have issues with gay people at all but I do not support a person with male sex organs competing against females. It’s not fair to the young ladies who work so hard. I never imagined this country pushing homosexuality on anyone, much less babies.

    • Replies: @Greta Handel
  13. @Big Ape

    We still have the pledge

    Stay strong! Mrs. Malkin shared this inspiring report from Idaho just last month:

    The sun shone brightly. Toddlers romped on the lawn. A sea of unmasked faces roared the Pledge of Allegiance in joyful unison.

  14. I don’t remember Highlights being at my school at all, but it was always at every waiting room. I remember that no matter how young I was when I read it, it always seemed to be geared towards much younger children.

    I doubt that most kids in the smartphone era do much browsing among the waiting room magazines anymore. But I could be wrong.

  15. @Rich

    The Tuskegee Airmen were also assisted by the Navaho code talkers, Alan Turing, and Rosie the Riveter. No straight white men fought for the Allies in WW2.

  16. “They” have ruined everything.

  17. SafeNow says:

    poring over the nonsensical scenes in the colorful “What’s Wrong?” artwork

    Yes, I remember doing that; having a silent conversation with myself or an actual conversation doing it on the porch with a friend, which was possible because no one would kidnap us back in the day and so we were allowed to play outside. You do well to detail that example. I can’t prove it, but I think doing things like that very effectively wires the developing brain and builds attention span. And, it consists of generic thinking and learning about the culture, traditions in society, rather than a particular political viewpoint.

    • Agree: Achmed E. Newman
  18. DefendUSA says:

    It’s unbelievable that everything is coming in such a crash. Rush was right. In 1993, he told us it was coming. And we’re here. God took the man so he did not have to see this FUBAR world. How do we get back to baseball, apple pie and Chevrolet? How do we get back to the truth, integrity and respect? How do we stop the 2% from changing the world our grandbabies will grow up in? Ugh.

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