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April 13, 2013

Public school assignment: ‘must argue that Jews are evil’

Thomas Lifson

Oh, the glories of government schools! In Albany, New York, a teacher — whose name has not been revealed for some reason – instructed students, according to the New York Times:


…to imagine that their teacher was a Nazi and to construct an argument that Jews were “the source of our problems” using historical propaganda and, of course, a traditional high school essay structure.

“Your essay must be five paragraphs long, with an introduction, three body paragraphs containing your strongest arguments, and a conclusion,” the assignment read. “You do not have a choice in your position: you must argue that Jews are evil, and use solid rationale from government propaganda to convince me of your loyalty to the Third Reich!”


The Albany Times-Union, which broke the story, added this helpful background:


Students were asked to watch and read Nazi propaganda, then pretend their teacher was a Nazi government official who needed to be convinced of their loyalty. In five paragraphs, they were required to prove that Jews were the source of Germany’s problems.


Here is the actual assignment sheet, via thre Times-Union:

On its face, the assignment is so offensive that one wonders how a teacher could possibly think it was appropriate. At this very historical moment, the leaders of Iran and Egypt, among others, are promising to finish the business the Nazis started. Is the teacher a Jew-hater or merely so dense and insensitive that this raised no alarm bells? Either way, the person should not be entrusted with young minds to shape while drawing a salary and lavish retirement benefits from the public purse.


But of course, even though AP reports that the teacher “could face disciplinary action” (which implies maybe there won’t be any disciplinary action), the chances of the teacher actually getting fired are only slightly higher than my chances of winning the next Powerball lottery drawing (and I won’t be buying a ticket). No matter how incompetent, malicious, or evil the teaching, it requires sexual involvement or physical violence to get rid of a teacher with tenure.


The comments of the Albany school superintendent reported by the Times-Union are not very reassuring either:


Albany Superintendent Marguerite Vanden Wyngaard said. She said the assignment should have been worded differently.


“I would apologize to our families,” she said


She “would apologize”? That is a conditional statement, which means she isn’t apologizing yet, but she would if something else happened.  Or maybe she just doesn’t understand the language she is using. Once again, the question is: evil or just stupid?


Why is the teacher’s name being withheld? This was a public action by a public employee. But absent serious public pressure, the schools bureaucracy and teachers union can eb expected to stay true to form and ensure that nothing serious happens to this teacher.


Hat tip: Jack Kemp.

Page Printed from: at April 14, 2013 – 07:34:54 AM CDT

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