School district apologizes for "Jews are evil" assignment

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School district apologizes for "Jews are evil" assignment

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Susan R's picture
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Valid school assignment?

Students were to "research Nazi propaganda, then assume their teacher was a Nazi government official who had to be convinced of their loyalty."

The teacher's assignment told students they "must argue that Jews are evil, and use solid rationale from government propaganda to convince me of your loyalty to the Third Reich!"

 

Do you think this assignment was a legitimate "devil's advocate" thought exercise? Was there a better way to do it, or was the subject simply unacceptable no matter how it was worded?

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I am just now reading and

I am just now reading and hearing that a lot of these recent "I cant believe the school thought this was ok" assignments are tied to the new Common Core stuff that a lot of people are so opposed to.  I am so new to the discussion that I dont really have anything to contribute, but a lot of parents seem to think that this is a really big deal.  That the Common Core is pretty much a brainwashing method that has nothing to do with real academics like reading, math and writing.  Instead it has to do with analyzing and changing students attitudes towards diversity, morals, moldability to change without questioning authority and self esteem. 

Are you more aware of what it is Susan? 

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invalid because there are

invalid because there are still today racists who propagate that idea, probably in that school district and the students are too young to separate fantasy racism from real racism that perpetrates real damage. maybe for a college project, but i would have made the assignment be about the countries who rationalized why it was good to give up the jews and other minority groups.

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Crystal, These assignments

Crystal,

These assignments are stemming from the ungodly predisposition predominate in public education, not common core. I completely disagree with common core, but it is not the cause of this.

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

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Broader issue

Simply looking at reports since 1/1/13 there is a very real desire to derail, discredit, destroy the Judeo-Christian values that many n this country still hold to.  this happening at all levels of education including the college level.  It is imperative for parents to build a solid biblical foundation for their children to grow on, so our children can develop a biblical worldview that is solidly built upon the Scriptures.

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@ Crystal about Common Core

Common Core proponents claim that the new standards help students think more deeply, but from what I've seen, they direct students more to what to think rather than how to think. One aspect of CCS that many teachers are concerned about is the significant reduction in literature studies in favor of 'informational' reading, which sounds good, but it's the choices of informational reading that are worrisome. And since the Common Core Standards are owned and copyrighted by the National Governors Association and Council of Chief State School Officers, teachers will not be able to diverge in any meaningful way from those standards. 

I think the Common Core Standards are a cause for concern, as they are tied to gov't funding, NCLB waivers, and all the money strings tied to various businesses who stand to make a tremendous profit if these standards are adopted. 

There have been other instances reported lately of students in schools and colleges being required to do some very controversial 'thought' exercises, such as stomping on a piece of paper with the name of Jesus printed on it, creating 'wanted' posters for runaway slaves, and writing a comparison of President Barack Obama to Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin. In my opinion we can teach critical thinking without pushing the envelope in this way. 

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Thanks for the clarification

Thanks for the clarification on CC.  I appreciate it. 

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Susan R wrote: Common Core

Susan R wrote:

Common Core proponents claim that the new standards help students think more deeply, but from what I've seen, they direct students more to what to think rather than how to think. One aspect of CCS that many teachers are concerned about is the significant reduction in literature studies in favor of 'informational' reading, which sounds good, but it's the choices of informational reading that are worrisome.

Again, speaking as an opponent of common core, they do not contain any specific information to be taught. Content is entirely left to the discretion of the individual districts/schools/teachers. At our district, content varies from school to school, and individual teachers have great individual latitude in the way they may present the same content from one classroom to the next.

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

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@ Chip

I agree that as it stands, CCS looks as though it offers some flexibility. However, the ink on the CCS for English and Math is still wet, standards for other subjects such as history and science have yet to be presented, and the real biggie -testing- is still in the works. IOW, we don't know what to expect, or what students will be required to learn in order to score well on the inevitable high stakes testing to follow. I think more obvious 'indoctrination' efforts will show up later, after CCS has been adopted and interwoven into our nation's schools to the point where withdrawing would be even more monumental than the implementation. 

In most cases, teacher latitude is a good thing. However, when teachers use their liberty in this way, or schools adopt curriculum with these kinds of assignments, I think we have to ask ourselves who is on the bridge our nation's academic ship, and why are they driving it onto the rocks?

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I have lived in Albany for

I have lived in Albany for over 20 years now and our church is located about 15 minutes from this school.  This is one of the most liberal places in the Country and Albany High School is one of the worst schools around.  I believe they have about a 50 percent graduation rate.

 

This assignment is consistent with the anti-American agenda that permeates the thinking in most of the public schools in this area.  The thinking in this area is becoming more like Hitler's Germany all of the time.

 

There are somewhere around 30,000 Jews here in the Capital Region and they obviously did not appreciate this homework assignment.

 

 

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I can't contribute a whole

I can't contribute a whole lot to this situation, and this one specifically may very well have been over the line or intended to do harm, but I think its legitimate to have high schoolers and higher argue for something that they clearly don't agree with, It definitely builds logical and critical thinking skills which are especially lacking in conservative circles. The issue in a public school environment is how do you find something that your entire class will disagree with. It would take something fairly big to do so. I would find it hard to assume that this was malicious towards Jews even in today's world, especially when the article gives no testimony from the "offending" teacher. 

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Susan R wrote: I agree that

Susan R wrote:

I agree that as it stands, CCS looks as though it offers some flexibility. However, the ink on the CCS for English and Math is still wet, standards for other subjects such as history and science have yet to be presented, and the real biggie -testing- is still in the works. IOW, we don't know what to expect, or what students will be required to learn in order to score well on the inevitable high stakes testing to follow. I think more obvious 'indoctrination' efforts will show up later, after CCS has been adopted and interwoven into our nation's schools to the point where withdrawing would be even more monumental than the implementation. 

In most cases, teacher latitude is a good thing. However, when teachers use their liberty in this way, or schools adopt curriculum with these kinds of assignments, I think we have to ask ourselves who is on the bridge our nation's academic ship, and why are they driving it onto the rocks?

 

I have no idea what Common Core is, but why would they need to change the education system to "brain wash" kids. The current age graded form of education already creates a peer based model of education that solely disburses information instead of teaching one how to learn through logical thought. Then uses the built in effects of peer pressure to make sure no one questions the information being presented.

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Susan,   First, CCS for

Susan,

 

First, CCS for science just came out; social studies have been out. Unfortunately, the only CCS for social studies are language arts applications.

 

Second, testing is currently designed to be handled by the states. Each state establishes their own tests based on CCS. That doesn't mean the feds won't eventually try to "standardize" the testing as well, but it is currently left to each state.

 

Third, I think we agree on pretty much all of this, except for the one fine point I mentioned earlier. CCS does not establish the content to be used in teaching the standards, only the tasks students are supposed to perform given any random content. Districts and schools largely determine the content, and teachers largely determine how the content is presented.

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

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Because it was brought up

Because it was brought up above by paynen- 

 You mentioned that logic and critical thinking skills are lacking in the current education-especially among conservatives.  I wonder, could you point to some ways to teach oneself these topics?  I feel as though my education in these areas is lacking and just didn't know where to start in teaching myself-and then my children.  My sister on the other hand was born with a very logical mind.  She can talk circles around me and I am still trying to figure out what I said that was illogical.  LOL  Feel free to PM me if anyone wanted to as I know that it is off topic for this thread. 

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"Educating" the children in

"Educating" the children in the same fashion as Hitler's Germany in the past and like many Palestinian schools in the present is dangerous.

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The foundational philosophy

The foundational philosophy of Common Core is to create students ready for social action so they can force a social-justice agenda. Common Core is not about students who actually have a grasp of the intricate facts of a true set of what E.D. Hirsch would call "core knowledge." Common Core is about, as David Feith would say "an obsession with race, class, gender, and sexuality as the forces of history and political identity." Nationalizing education via Common Core is about promoting an agenda of Anti-capitalism, sustainability, white guilt, global citizenship, self-esteem, affective math, and culture sensitive spelling and language. This is done in the name of consciousness raising, moral relativity, fairness, diversity, and multiculturalism.

Read more: http://www.americanthinker.com/2013/04/common_core_nationalized_state-ru...
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Embedded pedagogy

 You are correct, I forgot about the release of the Next Generation Science Education Standards.

I still think it is important to note that the standards are owned and copyrighted, which mean changes will not be made at the state level. Nothing can be altered/subtracted by the states/schools (such as when concepts are introduced), and only a small percentage of material can be added. There is more than a little embedded pedagogy in the CCS, such as in the aforementioned science standards for middle school-

MS-ESS3-5. Ask questions to clarify evidence of the factors that have caused the rise in global temperatures over the past century. [Clarification Statement: Examples of factors include human activities (such as fossil fuel combustion, cement production, and agricultural activity) and natural processes (such as changes in incoming solar radiation or volcanic activity). Examples of evidence can include tables, graphs, and maps of global and regional temperatures, atmospheric levels of gases such as carbon dioxide and methane, and the rates of human activities. Emphasis is on the major role that human activities
play in causing the rise in global temperatures.]

But the fact is that CCS has us headed for a national curriculum and mandated national standardized testing, of which a by-product will be jumping through CCS hoops in order to qualify for federal education dollars.

Here are some articles that provide more information about where all this is leading:

A call for national curriculum- Note: the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is investing $20million to develop a national curriculum aligned to the CCS in partnership with the Pearson Foundation. The testing process would be via PC. Makes you go hmmmmm?

Problems with Common Core assessments

Americans Deserve to See Federal Role in National Tests

This CCS stuff is a bit of a rabbit trail, but I think the underlying issue is all the experimentation going on in education. It really is not that difficult to have a list of skills that students need to learn, and allow teachers to use their expertise to guide learning and help students master those skills, and report to the school and to parents their assessment of student progress. With all the federal hoops and special interest groups and teacher's unions sticking their fingers into every pie, I don't know how teachers get anything done. 

As for the assignment in the OP, I agree that role playing devil's advocate can be valuable, but it requires some discernment to use these exercises correctly. Convincing a teacher that you are loyal to the Third Reich reminds me of Apt Pupil, and gives me spiny shivers.

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Susan R wrote:This CCS stuff

Susan R wrote:
This CCS stuff is a bit of a rabbit trail, but I think the underlying issue is all the experimentation going on in education. It really is not that difficult to have a list of skills that students need to learn, and allow teachers to use their expertise to guide learning and help students master those skills, and report to the school and to parents their assessment of student progress. With all the federal hoops and special interest groups and teacher's unions sticking their fingers into every pie, I don't know how teachers get anything done.
It never ceases to amaze me that people don't get more upset about the constant experimentation going on in public schools, especially with monumental levels of ongoing failure and ever-increasing expenses we have seen over the last century. My school, a k-8, lost over a month of instructional time last year to special testing we "need" to provide data points for analysis. Of course, this same district publishes that they will promote k-8 students who only fail one core class; students are told they must fail two core classes before being retained. Even if they fail all four core classes, the district practice then is to encourage them to try hard for the last 4 weeks of the year and do well on the state testing so that they can be moved along to the next grade on a probationary basis. The only real mantra seems to be don't do anything to make parents/students upset - ever. If the "stakeholders" are blissful, we must be doing a good job as educators. Blah!

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

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Critical Thinking

Crystal wrote:

Because it was brought up above by paynen- 

 You mentioned that logic and critical thinking skills are lacking in the current education-especially among conservatives.  I wonder, could you point to some ways to teach oneself these topics?  I feel as though my education in these areas is lacking and just didn't know where to start in teaching myself-and then my children.  My sister on the other hand was born with a very logical mind.  She can talk circles around me and I am still trying to figure out what I said that was illogical.  LOL  Feel free to PM me if anyone wanted to as I know that it is off topic for this thread. 

Crystal,

I used the series called "Critical Thinking" by Anita Harnadek:

Book 1: http://www.amazon.com/Critical-Thinking-Book-Reasoning-Arguments/dp/0894...

Book 2: http://www.amazon.com/Critical-Thinking-Problem-Reasoning-Arguments/dp/0...

There are also teacher/answer books for these if you want them (you will probably find them very helpful if logic is not one of your strong suits).  I found these to be excellent, but as with any secular source, they are not perfect.  There are a couple places where it seems that when she is teaching about things that should be questioned, she is referring to things about God and religion is well.  However, these books are not hostile to Christianity, and those places are minor and easy to teach around.  (Actually, whenever I found something like that, I went over it with my kids, since they will be faced with many skeptics in their lives, and they need to know why God's word transcends our thinking.  Also, I expect them to evaluate even what comes from the pulpit when they are listening, and compare anything they hear with scripture.)

There are many exercises in these books where you learn about propaganda being used, and also there are exercises where she wants arguments for or against something, and in the very next exercise, the student was supposed to refute the arguments they used.  All of these were very good at getting the students to think, which is the point of the exercise.  My oldest is in her 2nd year of college, and she has already thanked me for making her do all that work in my Critical Thinking class.

You probably don't want to start with these if your kids are not yet in 7th grade or so, but there are other books that are good for elementary students that will get them to have to think hard, and lead into something like these books.

Dave Barnhart

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I Am Going To Play The Bomb Thrower Provocateur Here But ...

Logic, reason, critical thinking et al left our schools when God was taken out and replaced by Darwin, the Big Bang, humanism etc. So basically, CCS and its forerunners have been in place ever since our schools went secular, and made man's fallen reason the standard and authority. The only real change is going multicultural, politically correct etc. in these times as opposed to "the good ole days." The reality is that all we have done is exchange one set of humanism - which exalted this nation's history, traditions, and way of life - for another. 

And who has always supported taking the influence of Christianity out of schools (as well as the mass media and the public sphere in general)? Why the Jews. Jews are personally offended by Christianity, and - for example - see even so much as having to abide Christmas carols (that actually mention Jesus) and Easter pageants as a most horrible form of persecution and attack on their rights and identity as a people. 

So while this lesson was clearly offensive to Jews, let us not forget that Jews have contributed heavily to the decades of political activism - as well as to the shaping of our mainstream culture through their disproportionate influence in Hollywood and media - that have created the climate where such an outrageous lesson as this could be taught in the first place. And please note: very little attention has been paid to this because it was a PUBLIC school, and Jewish leaders still very much support using public schools as a powerful agent of secular humanism to oppose Christianity. But had this lesson been taught in - say - an evangelical or fundamentalist Christian private school as part of the A Beka curriculum or similar, it would have been an intense national scandal with weeks of front page and headline news coverage with the ADL and the other various leaders, politicians and organizations from that community leading the charge.

I know that it is not a popular sentiment to express in a Christian landscape that is so shaped by premillennial dispensationalism and the religious right (the fact that Jews are so influential in and many respects lead the neo-conservative movement that now runs the Republican Party often masks the fact that Jews vote Democratic in numbers similar to blacks and even higher than Hispanics) but - with the exception of Messianic Jews and other Jewish believers in Christ - Jews are not our allies. Quite the contrary, they're on the other side (which is why this talk of "Judeo-Christian" is a self-delusion as Jews certainly do not believe in or advocate it ... in fact Jews truthfully prefer Islam to Christianity ... it is permissible for a Jew to pray inside a mosque but not a church). Always have been, and until Romans 11:26 is fulfilled always will be. 

Let the Jews fight their own battles, especially the messes that they have created by joining forces with - and in many cases funding and leading - the anti-Christian forces in this country and in Europe only to have those forces turn on them (including the Muslims that Jewish groups fought tooth and nail to allow to immigrate to western countries so that there would be another interest group to use to play the "religious pluralism" card to help undermine Christian institutions and influence). We've got problems of our own that need to be tended to.

That sound anti-Semitic to anyone? Sorry. Read what what the New Testament says about Jews who rejected Jesus Christ and tell me how I am wrong. Our own little version of political correctness doesn't change what the Bible plainly teaches. 

Solo Christo, Soli Deo Gloria, Sola Fide, Sola Gratia, Sola Scriptura
http://healtheland.wordpress.com

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Please lay a shred of

Please lay a shred of evidence that anything your saying is historically true, and then give your reasoning for personally attacking God's chosen people, do it academically and intelligently (with sources), Otherwise leave and continue to be ignored.

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Who cares?

Be that as it may, Bro. Job, the Jews have been the world's punching bag far too often, and IMO no group of people deserve to be targeted and wiped out of existence because of their religion or heritage. I'd consider a devil's advocate scenario about wiping homosexuals from the face of the earth to be just as ridiculous for the classroom setting and the lesson objective. 

Crystal- for elementary and middle school, we use The Fallacy Detective http://www.fallacydetective.com/products/, and for high school we also use workbooks from The Critical Thinking Co - http://www.criticalthinking.com/series/052/index_c.jsp

Both provide proof IMO that one can teach logic without being offensive or inappropriate.

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More critical thinking

Crystal,

Those "Building Thinking Skills" books that Susan points to are the same series I got books from for my youngest, before she started with the "Critical Thinking" books. They provide an excellent lead-in, and my daughter really enjoyed them.

Dave Barnhart