Public School Education, Censored

Updated February 14, 2024


They say “Oh, your book should be popular. It’s what people are interested in now.” Well yeah, I agree. But likely it won’t be because it’s a book and its competing against another 300,000 new books. And people don’t read anymore. Not enough of them. And if you get really good at writing, you still may not reach the mass market if you’re writing about censorship. Because if you are talented and writing about overcoming political control, “they” might shut you down.

That’s what Brzezinski said that was controversial, right?

There’s been a “global political awakening” he explained. To Chatham House. In November of 2008.[1]  The original Trilateralist and advisor to multiple U.S. Democratic presidents counselled that “for the first time in all of human history almost all of mankind is politically awake, activated, politically conscious and interactive.” Almost. Thank God for tribal man. Except brief sharp plunges following wars and pandemics, there are always more people. Tribal man keeps the dream of dignity and respect alive. Hardly an excessive ask. Tribal man’s future looks comparatively bright. When this is all gone.

To them Brzezinski offered them a solution. “To put it bluntly: in earlier times, it was easier to control one million people than to physically kill one million people; today, it is infinitely easier to kill one million people than to control one million people.”[2] And what’s a few million people really when billions of others are at risk? Whether bombs, guns or pandemics. There’s a global village alright, but it’s not universally peaceful. Even to know something is to kill it, in a sense. And so you can’t know certain things. And the owners can’t know of other things. Olive branches are bitter tasting.

Not only is censorship necessary but covert censorship. Investigators, others pushing a unique narrative may be labeled conspiracy theorists.

The new book is on the textbooks “they” wouldn’t let you read or even know of. If you’re Canadian and either a Baby Boomer or Generation X. People who went to school from the 1950s to early 1990s, really. Potentially your parents and grandparents. There are fewer Canadian textbooks to read now at school, that are interesting, substantial and printed. That’s how Orwell’s contemporary dystopian Huxley theorized that society could develop. Committing the effort to reading has fizzled. There was better writing that should have been available, that would have strengthened Canada’s reading culture. Many books. Cabinet knew, some at least. Some bureaucrats and some publishing employees also. A few authors suspected. That’s mostly it.

If they kept a holistic list, I didn’t see it. There is only an abridged list now. It’s my opinion that a portion of what would have become public archives were tossed between administrations. Expediently. And therefore a list can only be so long.


Who is Jeremy Richard Tompkins, the author of this list of censored books? Sometimes it can be easier writing about yourself in the third person. I’ll go back and forth.

Professionally right now he is an independent publisher of article- and book-sized information reports, often about education and censorship. He’s just relearning the art of storytelling after being away from it for decades. He’s educated as a business manager and a librarian in that he graduated from universities with graduate degrees in Business Administration and Library Studies, and managed libraries for Toronto-based corporations and private corporate agencies. Academically, he’s also interested in technology and societies.

At times he’s an avid reader, goes through phases. He’s always collecting books for when the obsession takes over. He’s familiar with public school, having attended ten of them in Ontario and Alberta. No, his father was not in the military.Why should you care? Maybe you shouldn’t. But this February 2024 is the official release of a second book on a dangerous, overreaching educational censorship program. The book’s title is Canadian Mockingbird: Exposing Censorship and Textbook-Mediated Social Engineering. ISBN 978-0-9936529-3-6. It’s about how Canada’s largest provincial government from 1960 organized its Ministry of Education’s textbook evaluation program with a pervasive layer of censorship. Organizationally built-in. It was estimated, the last time I attempted, that between 5 and 10 percent of publisher-submitted textbooks were prevented from reaching classrooms despite legal protections from this kind of censorship by the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights and Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Keep in mind that this investigation focuses on nonfiction subjects. Many of the books found to have been censored were majority-approved by experts hired to make conclusions on their suitability. After the committee decision, a senior manager or director-level bureaucrat, sometimes with orders from a Minister or Premier, or their close associates, issued an order. Perhaps most disturbing for somebody who has become a book collector, is the destruction of national knowledge and culture. Of what could have been.What’s that image on the book’s cover? At its core the cover image is a treemap diagram of the textbooks found to have been censored in one of two ways and proportioned into subjects and decades. It’s how Canadian Mockingbird organizes and presents source data.

There was supposed to have been a more sensational cover. An important cover artist had designed one, as he had for well-selling books. I was lucky that he wanted to work with me. But then I felt the reader needed to know right away about the subject matter being investigated. It was a late change. Later on a marketing advisor mentioned they might have stuck with the other cover. There could be a future related book to integrate elements of both designs.Why don’t you know about this program? Potentially some educators and bureaucrats were aware and kept quiet. The program though was covert. Before the launch of Ontario’s Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, there wouldn’t have been an opportunity to know without a senior government employee sneaking files out, risking the destruction of their career and pension, and potentially going to jail.

What led to the discovery? Other people have asked this. One bored Friday night in 2007 while searching the Archives of Ontario’s online database of fonds and images two collections of interest appeared. These were Record Group 2-243-3, Textbooks rejected as ineligible, and RG 2-243-4 or Textbooks rejected after evaluation. I went to investigate.

Before long I visited regularly after work, staying late. The Archives were then downtown Toronto within walking distance of the office and home. With more searching, I’d also find RG 243-1 regarding Circular 14 or Ontario’s annual serial list and description of acceptable books that was distributed all across Canada, to other provinces with less resources to investigate Canada’s print culture. I reviewed publishers’ own historical files at McMaster University’s William Ready Division of Archives and Research Collections on campus in Hamilton, Ontario.Are all these files publicly available? The Ministry of Education files are restricted. It is necessary to complete a  Freedom of Information request to gain access. Readers will find in the book’s appendix that some names are redacted. The archival fonds at McMaster are more accessible. Or you could read the book, which is available from its website and retailers.1960 makes this history? Yes! Crucially, the source files span the 1950s to early 1990s, during the educating of Canadian Baby Boomers and Generation X. Premier Doug Ford and Minister of Education Stephen Lecce are not responsible for what happened. They were not the censors. Neither were immediate predecessor administrations. If government’s activities in Canadian Mockingbird anger you, likely the best response is to become more aware of what is poorly understood. This could happen by reading the books kept from schools, or portions. Some of these books are fantastically interesting.Does the government know about Canadian Mockingbird? At least a part of the Ontario Government is familiar with my effort and this publication. The Archives of Ontario approved the publication before even its soft release. I don’t think the government necessarily wants you to be stupid, not Ontario and not anymore. Not during the era of an information economy.Why would readers outside Canada be interested? A higher percent of Canadians attend government K-12 public schools than in the United States. Getting to know what wasn’t allowed to be distributed as textbooks may be a path to understanding more about Canada and Canadians’ uniqueness. A small, remarkable subset of Canada’s English-language print culture opens up to the reader.Where can I find more information? The next best place to find out more about covert censorship of public school textbooks, Canadian Mockingbird, and its author, is on the book’s website. The site’s frequently asked questions. Even more answers.

Before continuing, let me show appreciation for two people who added to this project, and who I haven’t sufficiently thanked. Web designer Taelor Branco, who designed blog, told me she was leaving the project. But I needed a book website. A business associate suggested Paul Brown and CSM Consulting. Paul brought to life with creativity and competence. Your own website remains somewhere you can explain the world without the interference of media ownership.

And secondly Susan Truong, my library school romance and life partner, whose assistance made this book possible. Thank you.References

[1] Brzezinski, Zbigniew. John C. Whitehead Lecture, November 17, 2008. Oxford: Chatham House, 2008. I don’t believe the lecture was secret or privileged, as claimed elsewhere. A printed version was printed as “Foreign Policy Challenges for the Next US President” in International Affairs (Royal Institute of International Affairs 1944-), Jan., 2009, Vol. 85, No. 1, International Order: Politics, Power and Persuasion pp. 53-60).

[2] Ibid.