This photograph http://rexcurry.net/pledge-allegiance-pledge-allegiance2.jpg (and many others photographs on the same web site that archives the work of the documentarian Dr. Rex Curry ) illustrates a difference between the Pledge of Allegiance in the past and in the present.
In the past, there was time when the flag and pledge occurred outside, and no flag was inside the classroom(s). That practice emphasized the militaristic nature of the dogma touted by Edward Bellamy (author of "Looking Backward") and his cousin and cohort Francis Bellamy (author of the "Pledge of Allegiance"). The Bellamy cousins called their scheme "military socialism." Under the old pledge ritual children either 1) assembled and waited outside before school began, enduring injurious weather, until the forced ritual chanting was led by the teacher, or 2) they entered the school and then, at a designated time, they marched outside into injurious weather. http://rexcurry.net/pledge-of-allegiance-images.html
It is difficult to say whether a common modern practice is better or worse: there is often a flag in EVERY classroom. State government dictates the expenditure and the size of the federal flags and their ubiquitous placement. The omnipresent flag is viewed all the time by all children. It still looks backward to many. The orwellian ritual then occurs via a barking or pre-recorded voice over an intercom, often accompanied by martial music and even bizarre video piped over school televisions.
The pledge tracks the book "1984" by George Orwell (1949). Orwell describes a government that uses these slogans: Freedom is Slavery; War is Peace; Ignorance is Strength. The government bamboozled Americans into believing that collective robotic chanting in government schools daily is a beautiful expression of freedom. Chanters let the catch-phrase "with liberty and justice for all" delude them from the totalitarian reality of the behavior. Government schools maintain strength by maintaining ignorance about the pledge's true history. Wars over the pledge coincide with never-ending wars abroad under Bellamy's military socialism in the USA.
Ouch. This goes into the “I-don’t-know-whether-to-laugh-or-cry-or-both” file. See the video on Youtube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BssWWZ3XEe4
Many local government schools cannot drop the pledge routine even though they so desire (because the pledge is dictated by state law in many states). That is unfortunate in that the pledge has acheived a result opposite that intended: It is an opportunity for students to show contempt, loathing and hatred. The pledge is the outlet whenever a student refuses to stand, or stands silently with arms crossed and a glare in his/her eye. Every student can do so every day. Some students continue to chant, and that highlights the divisiveness and puts the spotlight on the rugged individualists. It is an opportunity that they would not otherwise have in such a stark in-your-face manner. But the Pledge of Allegiance gives them that spotlight daily. http://sites.google.com/site/francisbellamy/
It is easy to see why many schools would consider it to be better to drop the attempted brainwashing method entirely, rather than have it used so easily to its opposite impact, with the tables turned.
Student feelings of hate might be directed toward many targets: government, teachers, military socialism, regimentation, taxation, mounting future debt, social security numbers.
Defying the pledge is a shorter (and quieter) version of the "Two Minutes Hate" in George Orwell's novel Nineteen Eighty-Four (1984). The Two Minutes Hate (or "Two Minutes' Hate" or "Two-Minute Hate") was a daily period in which people must watch a film depicting enemies and express their hatred for them.
The film version of Orwell's book portrays the brainwashing technique imposed upon people in Oceania, attempting to whip them into a frenzy of hatred and loathing toward the current enemy. At the end, the mentally, emotionally, and physically exhausted viewers chant "BB" (Big Brother) over and over again.
It is evolving differently for the Pledge of Allegiance. Job Conger can tell you as a substitute teacher that often a lethargic assemblage of 14-year-olds rises, faces the flag at the start of the class day, and listens to the words that come out of the substitute teacher’s mouth, spoken in unison with the crackly sound whispering from an antique speaker that shares the words broadcast by a student announcer in the government school’s main office.The mass affirmation of allegiance has become irrelevant to crowds of 70,000 lining NASCAR tracks, and slightly smaller crowds attending ball games and puck games in the USA. Thanks to this website, many students (and adults) know more than the typical government-school teacher knows about the pledge. Many people know that the teacher and the office believe that they are REQUIRED by law to perform the chanting on cue. The teacher and school officials should wonder why any students even continue to stand.