Skip to comments.NY teacher who gave ‘Jews are evil’ assignment suspended
Posted on 04/14/2013 6:47:46 AM PDT by SJackson
(JTA) -- A New York teacher who assigned her students to write a persuasive essay on why Jews are evil has been placed on leave and will be disciplined.
The teacher, who has not been named, was placed on leave from her job at Albany High School on Friday, and could face a reprimand or firing, according to the Albany Times Union.
School Superintendent Marguerite Vanden Wyngaard said in a news conference on Friday, where she appeared with members of the Anti-Defamation League and Jewish Federation, that the teacher will be disciplined by the school district and might not return to the classroom this year.
The district also will bring in sensitivity trainers from the ADL to work with the teachers and their students, the newspaper reported.
Wyngaard said the teacher was a long-time employee whose work has never been criticized but said that her assignment "displayed a level of insensitivity that we absolutely will not tolerate."
The writing project, assigned before the class read "Night," by Elie Wiesel, called on the students to research Third Reich propaganda and then write a letter to a Nazi officer arguing that "Jews are evil." One of the three classes given the assignment refused to carry out the assignment, the Times Union reported.
If youd like to be on or off, please FR mail me.
Unless there are issues we don't know about, this seems like an overreaction
Unless the teacher can point to past assignments like ‘Explain why blacks shouldn’t be educated past the 8th grade’ or ‘Why America is better off if Catholics aren’t allowed to vote’, it is not overreaction.
Again the inflammatory headline.
The assignment was for the student to imagine themselves as Nazis and write why they think Jews are evil. This is valid creative writing exercise for a history or “social studies” class. Only problem I can see is that she probably has not taught the inter-war period to the students well enough for the assignment; Germany went through a civil war against the communists after WWI.
All because this cretin was black? The fact is blacks are the privileged ones here; they have grown to feel entitled to say and do anything they want - simply because they are black - the government, the media and the ACLU are their stalwarts. This teacher is evidence of that.
Dissing Jews in NY is kind of . . . not smart.
It is NOT valid in any shape form or fashion. It is an exercise designed to immerse an impressionable student into thinking a certain way, determined by a teacher that has no business teaching anyone. It is questionable even for a college level course, let alone grade school. To think otherwise is naive.
I know there have been more and more instances of idiotic things teachers have been asking their students to do.
All of it, is because they all feel empowered by their man in the White House and his ilk, the courts, their unions, and the general apathy people show nowadays.
Things like this are nothing more than probes, seeing just how far they can go and what they can get away with.
This was Albany, not NYC. Not many Jews up there. If the teacher were in NYC, I would imagine there would have been a different assignment chosen.
Took a lot of doing. If a teacher had said “watermelon” or drawn some curly lines or said this is a picture of moe heads would be rolling.
Oh Wow! She gets a paid vacation...
On a more personal level, this kind of thinking is not healthy for young skulls full of mush. Remember Columbine, they got a little to caught up in what the Nazi's believed.
Should we just add “pretend you're a modern progressive democrat” to all of the other assignments kids receive pushing a liberal agenda?
In my case, yes.
“Things like this are nothing more than probes, seeing just how far they can go and what they can get away with.
No further comments necessary, we have the winner.
I could see the assignment geared toward the nature of propaganda, like, “what false information did the Nazis disseminate in their war against the Jews that led people to believe Jews were evil?”
But to present the premise that Jews were evil as fact is not “kosher”.
It is not a valid exercise to invite children to put themselves into the shoes of an evil person. Really, what’s next? Write an essay explaining why the Anti-Christ has been misunderstood?
I am amazed at the total lack of journalist fervor in covering this story. The teacher has not been named. How difficult is it to get the name? True the board of education is required to keep disciplinary proceedings confidential and the public does not have the “right” to know. But it would flesh out the story if journalists would do their job and report details that might explain motives whether malicious or benign in this case.
re: “The writing project, assigned before the class read “Night,” by Elie Wiesel, called on the students to research Third Reich propaganda and then write a letter to a Nazi officer arguing that “Jews are evil.”
I’m not so sure this was a stupid assignment. Elie Wiesel was a Jewish man incarcerated at Auschwitz during WW2. His book, “Night”, is about his experiences there. The teacher asked the students to research Nazi propaganda, I’m assuming this was to find out what the Nazi’s claimed was “evil” about the Jews, not to affirm those beliefs, but to teach his/her students how nuts that whole era was. Then, later on, reading “Night”, it would help put that book in context to these kids to understand what political, moral, and social ideas existed in Germany to bring about the horrors of the Holocaust.
I’m not yet sure this teacher was off-base or sinister in this assignment without more info. Remember, kids today have NO CLUE what was going on at that time in history. It looks to me like this teacher was trying to get them to see some of that madness first hand. I could be wrong, but that’s how it is looking to me at this point.
I suspect you're right. It was apparently preparation for reading "Night" by Elie Wiesel.
The problem is political correctness. Once you start down the road of political correctness, critical thinking goes out the window.
In this case, once you forbid any level of analysis as to why, e.g., Detroit has gone bankrupt (because we don’t want to appear to be insensitive to African Americans), then other groups will demand that they should be extended the same kid-glove treatments. Soon, we wind up with a generation of air-heads who are unable to explain why anything is good or bad.
re: “If the assignment had been to write an editorial for the 1861 Charleston, SC Mercury defending slavery and secession, would we be having this conversation?”
Yes, the background of the assignment, which I suspect was minimal. The nature of the teacher's past lessions. She's not rewriting history, though imo she's approaching in from the wrong perspective. But I'd have to know more to fire her or remove her from the classroom. Which I suspect the school does.
I think the teacher would have been fired on a rocket sled.
I think this teacher is more nihilistic than anything. If we teach the Holocaust then we have to teach the other point of view. It may be evil from a Jewish perspective but it makes perfect sense through Nazi eyes. So you see there is no truth, no reality, in the end it’s all just stories and feeling.
Much like the USA IS presently after the cold war
Maybe. I'd suggest that persuading a writer for Der Sturmer the error of his ways might have been a better approach. And I suspect that a high school English class probably doesn't provide adequate background.
I frequently try to imagine I’m a modern progressive Democrat to see where they are coming from and why they believe the things they do. Mostly I fail. There is almost no common ground left.
I also try to understand the bad guys in shows and novels. I read “The Turner Diaries” just to try to understand what idiocy the author believed; to call it absurd would be flattery. The downside is, in some shows, I find I like the villains better... The theme of “Diversity is our Strength” in Babylon 5 still brings a snort of laughter.
If any case, if it is an English assignment, and they haven’t studied inter-war Germany, then they can’t do the assignment properly. All they’d be doing would be venting ignorance and hate. Not much of a writing assignment.
Then you are right; without a background in the period, all they could do would be to vent ignorance and hate.
re: “It was apparently preparation for reading “Night” by Elie Wiesel.”
Exactly - I think this teacher was trying to put Wiesel’s book in context so her students can have some idea how such a horrible thing as the Holocaust could happen. I don’t see this as her affirming Nazi beliefs, but informing her students what their propaganda said.
I had a professor who collected Nazi, Soviet, KKK, etc. propaganda pieces, posters, art - in order for us to see how sick this stuff was. Not to promote it.
As I said before, without more info, I think the jury is still out on this teacher as to whether or not she should be reprimanded or fired.
Perspective? The Germans were led wholesale into Jew Hatred by the NAZIs because they saw (which coincidentally matches Alinksky’s tenet) someone they could isolate and blame for the between war troubles. It is nothing more than that - no EVIL there, no collective responsibility for anything other than as an addled convenience for Herr Hitler.
It (the ‘lesson’) was, and is, nothing more than instruction in hatred.
To defend this woman in this assignment is unconscionable.
re: “I’d suggest that persuading a writer for Der Sturmer the error of his ways might have been a better approach. And I suspect that a high school English class probably doesn’t provide adequate background.”
But remember, this IS background research for the book her students are about to read, Wiesel’s “Night”. Research does not mean “acceptance” or “affirmation” of what the propaganda teaches. Until there are more facts given, all this looks like to me is this teacher’s attempt to GIVE her students some context for what Wiesel is about to describe in his book. If you don’t know what the beliefs were at the time, how can one fully appreciate what happened to Jews during that period?
Now, if indeed the teacher was advocating what the propaganda taught or that she felt she had to give “the other side” of the story as though the Nazi propaganda was a genuine “other side” and a legitimate viewpoint, then yes, I’d had a big problem with that. But, we don’t know that yet. This could be a knee-jerk reaction by someone who too thin skinned.
He would still have a job if it were “kulaks are evil.” Fits right in with the Bolshecrat policy of “evil rich.”
I wrote NY . . . not NYC.
You wrote my thoughts exactly - I think it was a pre-assignment to start training young and impressionable minds...the facists/socialists progressives are really coming out of the wood work lately with bold visions!
re: “The Germans were led wholesale into Jew Hatred by the NAZIs because they saw (which coincidentally matches Alinkskys tenet) someone they could isolate and blame for the between war troubles. It is nothing more than that - no EVIL there, no collective responsibility for anything other than as an addled convenience for Herr Hitler.”
I totally agree with you that that WAS the Nazi message, but these kids have no clue what Nazism was about or how the Holocaust could happen. These kids barely know their own history, how can they fully appreciate Wiesel’s book, “Night”, without understanding that the ideas that were prevalent in Nazi Germany? The teacher asked her high school students to RESEARCH Nazi propaganda - research means examine, find out, inform oneself - it does not mean “affirm” those ideas or “accept” those ideas. The writing part of the assignment would demonstrate to the teacher that the student actually looked at the material she asked them to research.
I still think this teacher was trying to create a context for Wiesel’s book so that these students could possibly begin to understand the nightmare that brought about the experiences they are about to read in his book. Understand does not mean “agree with”. You may be absolutely correct that this teacher was way out of line, but I haven’t seen enough info to make that judgement yet.
I think it was a cover for a larger purpose — surround your true intent around issues that soften opponents objections...kinda like what Google did on Easter...of course, I didn’t pay attention to the fact they used a Catholic Mexican immigrate to celebrate what he did for the poor and oppressed by forming a union to protect them from larger farm/corporate industries...I burned off a letter thinking it was a young Hugo Chavez...but I got wrapped up in the e-mails and what others were saying instead of taking my time and researching the “true” intent...which was to totally ignore Jesus’ Resurrection and in its place - put someone who championed more or less the same cause...I don’t trust the education system anymore......
I can appreciate your thoughts on how to develop a meaningful course on an historical era so important in shaping the world we have today nearly 80 years later.
However, unless this was a senior or junior level High School AP class and not a grade school assignment (which I believe was speciously documented after the fact), there is no educational basis for what this woman was trying to do, period.
In this day and age and the multitudes of stories and anecdotes about school curricula, I find it impossible to believe such a thoughtful, learned process in constructing this teacher’s assignment existed. I’d say morelike after-the-fact concocted bullshit.
Try your own poll. If you have kids, any age grade 6 through 12, ask them to tell you about Hitler. I’d be willing to bet you that many of them will say to you “who’s Hitler.” I’d footnote this with the caveat that you’d probably get a reasonable answer from the home-schooled ones.
Betcha she doesn’t lose a dime of pay.
It was a 10th grade class. Which IMO is way too young for this kind of assignment.
The teachers' union is very powerful. There's a lot of steps that have to be taken before you can fire one. Investigations have to be completed, making sure you've dotted every 'i' and crossed every 't' before you can fire a teacher so you suspend them with pay while doing so. Failure to follow every proper procedure and the teacher will be right back teaching after receiving a whole lot of back pay.
re: “However, unless this was a senior or junior level High School AP class and not a grade school assignment (which I believe was speciously documented after the fact), there is no educational basis for what this woman was trying to do, period.”
According to the article, this was a high school assignment. I didn’t see a particular grade level mentioned, but if it was a high school class, then I don’t think the material is beyond them.
I agree there are a lot of “anecdotal” stories everyday about public schools and some of the crazies there are within it. But, remember, just as we suspect all the crap that the news media spews out, I would take some of these stories with a grain of salt. Remember that there are about a half a million public schools (elementary to high school), and ANY organization that big is bound to have idiots and crazies in them. But, I don’t necessarily believe that all teachers or all administrators are equally idiotic. But, that’s another issue.
As to this particular teacher, I just don’t know enough information to condemn her - yet.
Try an assignment of why Islam may have been considered evil and see where that gets them.
It seems to me if what you say were actually the truth, they'd use the truth as a defense, not attempt to hide the crime.
The cover-up indicates they know it wasn't just an innocent assignment.
It was 10th grade BTW per DmanA.
I am not about to be as forgiving as you are on this. I find the premise, content and explanation of this assignment by this ‘teacher’ despicable and indefensible.
We can just leave it at that. I’m expecting her to be fired at the minimum, but my expectations won’t be realized. The organizational structure under which she is operating has apparently fallen way too short in my opinion, because she felt it appropriate to assign such a task in the first place.