**Posted by Phineas
School has certainly changed since my day:
An upstate New York school district is reportedly apologizing — and mulling possible disciplinary action — for a high school writing assignment that asked students to “argue Jews are evil” while making a persuasive argument blaming them for the problems of Nazi Germany.
The Albany Times Union reports that some students at Albany High School were asked to research Nazi propaganda before assuming their English teacher was a Nazi government official who had to be convinced of their loyalty. In five paragraphs, they were required to prove that Jews were the source of Germany’s problems, the newspaper reports.
“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 assignment reportedly read. A third of the students refused.
Wow. I’ll be charitable and assume a stunning lack of sensitivity and plain good sense on the instructor’s part. There are, after all, good uses for exercises that ask the student to explore and defend the other side or other points of view. But when you’re talking about one of the most monstrous atrocities in the history of humanity –the Holocaust– the only point of discussing the attitudes that lead to it is to criticize them and show their utter evil, not to learn how to be an apologist for them.
Yeah, I’d say this teacher deserves at least a suspension, if not termination, but someone should pointedly ask that school district why they don’t supervise their employees’ lesson plans more closely.
(Crossposted at Public Secrets)