Great moments in education: CA school asks students to ponder whether Holocaust story was just propaganda “for political and monetary gain”

posted at 10:01 am on May 6, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

The school called this “an exercise in critical thinking,” but the most important lesson from this Rialto school is that its educators need instruction in it. This middle school tasked its eighth-graders to study whether the worst genocide of the 20th century actually happened, or whether it was a myth designed for “political and monetary gain.” It also sent students to an Australian Holocaust-denier website for one of its principal sources (via Twitchy):

Take a look at the two other sources assigned to the students for their assignment, too. This point didn’t come up in the video report:

The English/Language Arts assignment, first reported Sunday by the San Bernardino Sun and provided to KTLA by the newspaper, asked students to write an argumentative essay about the Holocaust describing “whether or not you believe this was an actual event in history, or merely a political scheme created to influence public emotion and gain wealth.”

The 18-page assignment instructions included three sources that students were told to use, including one that stated gassings in concentration camps were a “hoax” and that no evidence has shown Jews died in gas chambers.

“With all this money at stake for Israel, it is easy to comprehend why this Holocaust hoax is so secretly guarded,” states the source, which is a attributed to a webpage on biblebelievers.org.au. “In whatever way you can, please help shatter this profitable myth. It is time we stop sacrificing America’s welfare for the sake of Israel and spend our hard-earned dollars on Americans.”

The other sources were from the websites history.com and about.com.

Really? Why not add Wikipedia in there, too? If the school wanted to teach critical thinking, why not start by teaching students to look for primary sources? Since the earliest days of the commercial Internet, universities and foundations have put those primary sources on line so that students just like these could benefit from the research. Instead, Rialto sends them to non-academic aggregators … and the lunatics.

Why offer this assignment in the first place? The ADL notes that Common Core requires a project on critical thinking:

The ADL posted a statement, including the quotes from Friedman, on its blog on Monday.

“ADL does not have any evidence that the assignment was given as part of a larger, insidious, agenda,” the blog post read. “Rather, the district seems to have given the assignment with an intent, although misguided, to meet Common Core standards relating to critical learning skills.”

Perhaps we should add a requirement that educators have to pass any curriculum standard before they apply it to their students.

It’s not that teaching critical thinking is bad, or even age-inappropriate for young teens. In fact, it’s a darned good idea. However, the subject matter should be something where critical thinking actually applies — like, say, global-warming hysteria or moral relativism, just to name a couple of topics. It should involve a healthy process, like a resort to primary sources and academic discipline. Finally, it would be best confined to areas where eyewitness testimonies have not already documented the industrialized mass murder of millions.

Let’s give the final grade on Rialto’s educators to a leading expert on the Holocaust:

In an interview, Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, noted a section in the assignment that stated Anne Frank was a fraud.

“Pedagogically, socially, morally — an F,” Cooper said of the assignment.

They have invited Rialto’s students to the center for an education on the Holocaust. It might be the only one available to them.


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Comment pages: 1 2

As usual you are spot on RWM.

celtic warrior on May 6, 2014 at 11:15 AM

Meow, your take?

Bmore on May 6, 2014 at 11:15 AM

Oldnuke on May 6, 2014 at 11:10 AM

ROFL

The graphic part is that you can see the poop flying from their pants after the first salvo. Imagine being hunted by an Apache helo, in the dark, with high explosive rounds.

Bishop on May 6, 2014 at 11:18 AM

Then they came for the Holocaust curriculum in middle school.
And I didn’t say anything because I didn’t have a child in miidle school.

So, who has lost their job over this?

Galtian on May 6, 2014 at 11:18 AM

So I Mo Islam going to be fired now and hounded out of polite society, like Don Sterling and Brendan Eich and Paula Dean…just to name a few?

PattyJ on May 6, 2014 at 11:22 AM

If this is their idea of critical thinking, I say let’s go with it.
Here are some more suggestions:

CA school asks students to ponder whether Holocaust global warming/climate change/climate disruption story was just propaganda “for political and monetary gain”

CA school asks students to ponder whether Holocaust Muhammed story was just propaganda “for political and monetary gain”

CA school asks students to ponder whether Holocaust global cooling story was just propaganda “for political and monetary gain”

CA school asks students to ponder whether Holocaust Benghazi video protest story was just propaganda “for political and monetary gain”

CA school asks students to ponder whether Holocaust Donald Sterling story was just propaganda “for political and monetary gain”

CA school asks students to ponder whether Holocaust Cliven Bundy BLM story was just propaganda “for political and monetary gain”

dentarthurdent on May 6, 2014 at 11:23 AM

The best part of the story is the name of the district’s interim superintendent: Mohammed Z. Islam. I know nothing about Muslim names, but it does seem contrived.

bobs1196 on May 6, 2014 at 11:23 AM

We’re getting closer and closer to Huxley’s Brave New World.

DethMetalCookieMonst on May 6, 2014 at 11:33 AM

Why not have students do a little critical thinking on the impact of teacher unionization on standardized test scores?

Or creationism and evolution
http://www.icr.org/article/summary-scientific-evidence-for-creation/

VastRightWingConspirator on May 6, 2014 at 11:36 AM

Commonunist Core…

PatriotRider on May 6, 2014 at 11:37 AM

Guess who hates the Jews a lot? Jimmy Carter. I have clear and concrete evidence that he worked with the PLO, against Israel, with the biggest scum on Earth. He enabled Jews to be killed all over the world, he and his friends Arafat and the commie scum, who all hated the Jews, vehemently.

Media, I hope most of you croke, from dereliction of duty. You don’t deserve to be free, nor to waste oxygen.

Schadenfreude on May 6, 2014 at 11:39 AM

First off, homeschool!
Second, if you cannot homeschool, private school.
If none of those work, read your kids assignments and be engaged.
I successfully homeschooled three of my kids and they were ready to deal woth the shitshovelers in college. In fact, my daughter is notoroius for pissing off the professor. She sometimes complains about the grade because she writes great papers but only scores a B or A- (they would be lower but they don’t dare because she actually writes well).
In the end, if she had this type of assignment, she would of blasted the very sources and probably thrown a right cross so to speak at the instructor for assigning garbage. But alas, her class seems to only write about the poor illegals and homosexual “rights”.

libbyscooter on May 6, 2014 at 11:53 AM

Here is what political correctness and so called tolerance get you, more lies. Logic and the truth never get in the way of the liberal agenda.

crosshugger on May 6, 2014 at 11:53 AM

Fire Doesn’t Melt Steel: How The United States and Israel Conspired To Commit 9/11 And Blame The Muslims.

Bonus credit will be given to students who discuss the ’5 Dancing Jews’ in front of the WTC.

Resist We Much on May 6, 2014 at 10:28 AM

Ug. You’re stealing my thunder. :) –Just give me another two hours. Just another two hours, Sophie.

. . . and now get that glint out of your eye.

Axe on May 6, 2014 at 11:55 AM

I note that verbaluce and lib free are nowhere to be found. Isn’t this in Libfree’s ballpark–explicit racism? Why no outrage from him?

Of course, that’s rhetorical… we all know that the left agrees with this guy. Cliven Bundy says that blacks were better off in the days of slavery? AutoOutrage, despite the salient point that they had their families back then and weren’t slaughtered by the millions in the womb.

But say that the Joooos didn’t really die and it’s all a hoax? Yeah, lib free and the left are down with that.

Vanceone on May 6, 2014 at 12:09 PM

The best part of the story is the name of the district’s interim superintendent: Mohammed Z. Islam. I know nothing about Muslim names, but it does seem contrived.

Here’s a critical thought exercise, for you, Superintendent Islam:

Mohammed Ali is looked upon as a divine Prophet, but is also widely regarded as a sniveling, self-serving polygamist raving lunatic. With bad hygiene. Please consult sources including 15th Century Spanish Catholic Church publications, and provide a fair and balanced assessment.”

There, Supe. Give that one a try. Statist, lackey POS.

orangemtl on May 6, 2014 at 12:22 PM

I’ve been seeing this report for some time now and I cringe every time. I guess I finally should actually READ the reports to see what they were doing but migosh what a tasteless, hideous thing. Maybe I will change my mind when I read what they were doing but it just smacks of progressives planting seeds in children for future molding into “good” little foot soldiers.

Chuck Ef on May 6, 2014 at 12:40 PM

worst genocide of the 20th century

I don’t question whether the Holocaust happened. I do
question the criteria for naming it the worst. There were numerous genocides in the last century. Maybe this is a case of “moral relativism” which we are encouraged to study.

burt on May 6, 2014 at 12:40 PM

Lourdes on May 6, 2014 at 10:35 AM

Me neither. In fact, around age 8, I remember believing “you dirty Jew” was a general insult like “you stupid jerk”. I didn’t even know the word “Jew”, just the phrase “you dirty Jew”. Apparently there was some anti-semitism in the neighborhood!

LashRambo on May 6, 2014 at 10:46 AM

I wasn’t exposed to that but I did hear a lot of use of “don’t Welsh on the debt”.

Lourdes on May 6, 2014 at 10:50 AM

Don’t forget “don’t gyp me on this”.

slickwillie2001 on May 6, 2014 at 12:43 PM

The best part of the story is the name of the district’s interim superintendent: Mohammed Z. Islam. I know nothing about Muslim names, but it does seem contrived.

Here’s a critical thought exercise, for you, Superintendent Islam:

“Mohammed Ali is looked upon as a divine Prophet, but is also widely regarded as a sniveling, self-serving polygamist raving lunatic. With bad hygiene. Please consult sources including 15th Century Spanish Catholic Church publications, and provide a fair and balanced assessment.”

There, Supe. Give that one a try. Statist, lackey POS.

orangemtl on May 6, 2014 at 12:22 PM

How about they look into the theory that mohamed never really existed?

slickwillie2001 on May 6, 2014 at 12:46 PM

Name the teachers.
Name the school principal.
Post their photographs.
Shame them without mercy.
Call for the end of their jobs.

Now.

chuckh on May 6, 2014 at 12:46 PM

dentarthurdent on May 6, 2014 at 11:23 AM

…good one!

KOOLAID2 on May 6, 2014 at 12:49 PM

Autoplay ads with sound are bad, m’kay?

GEAH on May 6, 2014 at 12:49 PM

Wait. It gets far worse:
Interim Superintendent Mohammad Z. Islam was set to talk with administrators…

… a statement from district spokeswoman Syeda Jafri

Can you hear me?

chuckh on May 6, 2014 at 12:50 PM

LashRambo on May 6, 2014 at 10:46 AM
Lourdes on May 6, 2014 at 10:50 AM
slickwillie2001 on May 6, 2014 at 12:43 PM

And were any of you “Indian givers”?

dentarthurdent on May 6, 2014 at 1:01 PM

Seems more like an assignment in how to be duped by political propaganda.

Looks like a win for Democrats.

Next they need to teach them how to interpret the Benghazi incident, and provide only White House press releases as the sources.

s1im on May 6, 2014 at 1:04 PM

dentarthurdent on May 6, 2014 at 11:23 AM

I’ll add,

CA school asks students to ponder whether Holocaust public sector unions working for themselves and not for students was just propaganda “for political and monetary gain”

Wanderlust on May 6, 2014 at 1:10 PM

dentarthurdent on May 6, 2014 at 1:01 PM

Don’t forget, “indian summer”.

Wanderlust on May 6, 2014 at 1:11 PM

My earliest and most profound instruction in what the Holocaust was was from a film called “Remember Us” that was shown decades ago on tv.

Are you sure that was the title? I’m trying to find it but the only success so far is a film that is newly made and hasn’t been released. I’d like to watch the film you saw.

Laura Castellano on May 6, 2014 at 1:20 PM

Hmm, I guess I’m in the tiny minority here, but I actually think it’s not a bad topic for a critical thinking assignment. There’s a couple of points to consider: –

1) If any of them writes up a report indicating it was likely it didn’t happen, you can fail them straight off for not doing the research.
2) It’ll teach them that critical thinking is an important skill, as they’ll learn that there are some totally crazy people out there and that maybe you should think things through before taking them at face value.
3) Sooner or later (the way things are going) they’ll come across holocaust denial sometime in their lives – at least this way they’ll have been exposed to both the facts and the crazy, and are thus better able to respond.
4) If they do the research and are dumb enough to decide it didn’t happen, there was no hope for them anyway.

I’d also be fine with any of these –

dentarthurdent on May 6, 2014 at 11:23 AM

slickwillie2001 on May 6, 2014 at 12:46 PM

as substitute critical thinking reports.

Ramadahl on May 6, 2014 at 1:21 PM

The interim super and his spokesperson have muslim names.
Holocaust denial runs rampant in the muslim community.
It’s that simple.

annoyinglittletwerp on May 6, 2014 at 10:08 AM

You said it, ALT. Maybe Common Core opened the door for this, but it’s not really the issue. Radical Muslim agendas, and people too PC or intimidated to object to them, are the problem.

Isn’t it ironic that the SCOTUS just handed down a decision that municipal town councils can have a moment of prayer, and libbies are freaking out that CHRISTIANS will impose their will on everyone? Ha ha, what a joke.

I would ask my European relatives if the Holocaust was real but oops! There aren’t any. The villages my grandparents and great-grandparents were born in don’t exist anymore.

ncinca on May 6, 2014 at 1:24 PM

Un f***ing believable…curious which school district that is… Cali Jewish community is pretty large and don’t think that they’d even contemplate giving that assignment in, say, Beverly Hills or Brentwood school district…must be some heavily black or hispanic school district, antellope valley or so, where they are administered the leftist anti-white and anti-semitic propaganda early on…

jimver on May 6, 2014 at 1:29 PM

A neighbor of mine, wounded twice in Europe as a member of Pattons 3rd army, brought back very vivid memories of the concentration camps. He spared no one when describing them, not even children. He admitted to killing enemy soldiers in every way possible. Calling for artillery strikes, with a rifle/pistol, bayonet and even choking 1 or 2 to death. He never batted an eye about it, but when describing the camps that grizzled old bastard would break down and cry like a baby. All the proof I needed lived right next door.

flatlander on May 6, 2014 at 1:30 PM

It really does depend on exactly how this was handled in the classroom, doesn’t it? I mean, IF the teacher used those propaganda sites to teach the kids how to spot and decide if a site is likely legitimate or not, and similarly used the whole debate for the same, e.g., to show how some historical facts that are beyond question still wind up with some extremists falling into unsound conspiracy theories – so the exercise was really used as a true critical thinking exercise debunking the “holocaust never happened” propaganda using good primary sources — then it could actually be a good lesson.

On the other hand, IF the “sources” were presented as equal, and they were actually debating the issue of whether the Holocaust really happened or not, then it deserves every bit of condemnation it’s getting.

So the question becomes, how was it actually handled by the teacher. Is this a story actually worth outrage, an example of a dismal educational system failure — or is it yet another knee jerk reaction that isn’t warranted if one knows all the facts involved? It seems suspicious to me that the reporters apparently never bothered to interview the teacher to find out some of these basic crucial details (or they did, and the information they got wouldn’t have been a “news” story so they just omitted it, and went with parent/community outrage instead – which would be reprehensible on the part of the news organizations in and of itself).

Rational Db8 on May 6, 2014 at 1:31 PM

ncinca on May 6, 2014 at 1:24 PM

My grandfather’s birthplace still exists-but most of those who remained likely are buried in some grave.

annoyinglittletwerp on May 6, 2014 at 1:33 PM

I note that verbaluce and lib free are nowhere to be found. Isn’t this in Libfree’s ballpark–explicit racism? Why no outrage from him?

Of course, that’s rhetorical… we all know that the left agrees with this guy. Cliven Bundy says that blacks were better off in the days of slavery? AutoOutrage, despite the salient point that they had their families back then and weren’t slaughtered by the millions in the womb.

But say that the Joooos didn’t really die and it’s all a hoax? Yeah, lib free and the left are down with that.

Vanceone on May 6, 2014 at 12:09 PM

On all things JOOS and Israeli politics topics they have delegated to coolrepub(l)ica, she’ll be bere to give us her 2 cents on this topic in no time….

jimver on May 6, 2014 at 1:36 PM

Like a couple of folks here, I was at first disappointed with Schindlers List. But on watching it a second time, I realized it was more about the society that created, condoned and used the Holocaust than about the actual brutality itself.
Even Herr Schindler started out as a war profiteer.
But I’m just an uneducated country bumpkin, so what do I know.

flatlander on May 6, 2014 at 1:50 PM

The best part of the story is the name of the district’s interim superintendent: Mohammed Z. Islam. I know nothing about Muslim names, but it does seem contrived.

bobs1196 on May 6, 2014 at 11:23 AM

Probably a black convert, given the ridiculousness of the whole name…

jimver on May 6, 2014 at 1:54 PM

Liberals constantly attack Jews, yet Jews are overwhelmingly liberal.

bw222 on May 6, 2014 at 2:01 PM

Actually, this is a great exercise in critical thinking: it is showing us that we need to think critically about common core and just how bad it is.

And Jeb Bush supports common core.

How does this lesson pass so many layers of review? And if there aren’t any layers of review, that is a problem as well.

rbj on May 6, 2014 at 10:13 AM

Common Core will ensure that within 5-10 years we will be living in complete Idiocracy.

That is the goal.

Just dumb down kids and gather all their info and give it to large corporations.

tetriskid on May 6, 2014 at 10:25 AM

Yep, thanks to Common Core, more and more of this will be happening!

Roselle on May 6, 2014 at 10:37 AM

This has nothing to do with the Common Core. If you really, truly think it does, please learn more about what CC is and isn’t.

CivilDiscourse on May 6, 2014 at 2:28 PM

OK, it’s a work in progress, but here’s the outline. *Ahem*

The People’s Community College
Course Catalog, Fall 2014

‘It’s never to late to . . . “learn”’

Steel, the miracle alloy
Fire won’t melt it!

Sex without consequences (Special relativity)

Cause without effect (General relativity)

How to keep children from being harmed by imaginary weapons

How to decrease violent crime by arming only violent criminals

How to decrease the barbarity of violent crime by allowing only the most barbaric tools of violence
No one will be shived — that’s crazy talk.

Mohammad: More peaceful than Jesus — or else

How to identify the inner Progressive in every prophet

(etc.)

^ Will be adding instructors, course materials, etc. Additional course suggestions welcome. I have to post it early because RWM is pretty evil.

Resist We Much on May 6, 2014 at 10:28 AM

Axe on May 6, 2014 at 11:55 AM

K. :p

And now I must eat burritos. And lots of them.

Axe on May 6, 2014 at 2:29 PM

Rational Db8 on May 6, 2014 at 1:31 PM

Yours is a nuanced view and right on target. I would agree with everything you’ve said about this particular assignment IF these were juniors or seniors, and in advanced classes, certainly. However, the assignment is too fraught with potential for misinterpretation for the middle school level.

CivilDiscourse on May 6, 2014 at 2:33 PM

Don’t forget “don’t gyp me on this”.
slickwillie2001 on May 6, 2014 at 12:43 PM

And don’t forget the epithet: ” cotton-pickin’ “.
(refers to bl@ck farm laborers)

ReggieA on May 6, 2014 at 2:34 PM

This has nothing to do with the Common Core. If you really, truly think it does, please learn more about what CC is and isn’t.

CivilDiscourse on May 6, 2014 at 2:28 PM

They think it has something to do with Common Core.

The school district initially defended the assignment, with Jafri saying it was meant to engage students in “critical thinking.”

The district’s “CORE team” planned meet to revise the assignment, Jafri said in her statement provided to KTLA on Monday.

“This was a mistake. It should be corrected. It will be corrected,” Jafri said in an interview. “We all know it was real. The Holocaust is not a hoax. … I believe our classroom teachers are teaching it with sensitivity and compassion.”

The Common Core State Standards, adopted by most U.S. states including California, include writing standards that seek to have students make arguments and defend their answers based on texts they have read, among other goals.

http://ktla.com/2014/05/05/rialto-assignment-asking-to-students-to-question-holocaust-to-be-revised

Axe on May 6, 2014 at 2:37 PM

Axe on May 6, 2014 at 2:37 PM

They only mention CC in order to give context to the intended outcomes of the assignment. The Common Core is a set of standards, including objectives around critical thinking, which every rational person will agree is an essential goal of education. That’s where the core ends. CC does not dictate curricula, lessons, or assignments. This misguided assignment is the sole responsibility of the teacher, school, and district. Unless you think that having a goal of critical thinking will necessarily lead to an assignment like this. Which is wrong.

CivilDiscourse on May 6, 2014 at 2:42 PM

Un f***ing believable…curious which school district that is… Cali Jewish community is pretty large and don’t think that they’d even contemplate giving that assignment in, say, Beverly Hills or Brentwood school district…must be some heavily black or hispanic school district, antellope valley or so, where they are administered the leftist anti-white and anti-semitic propaganda early on…

jimver on May 6, 2014 at 1:29 PM

Not Antelope Valley (which is north of L.A.); Rialto is just west of San Bernardino (which is east). It’s also about an hour-and-a-half freeway ride to the Simon Wiesenthal Center, in case this school is interested in suggestions about possible field trips.

ajb3 on May 6, 2014 at 2:44 PM

well, lets see what the Daily Mail says is responsible for this

Syeda Jafri and interim Superintendent Mohammad Z. Islam

what do you think these people do to our society and culture?

ploome on May 6, 2014 at 2:47 PM

from the Daily Mail

ploome on May 6, 2014 at 2:48 PM

The best part of the story is the name of the district’s interim superintendent: Mohammed Z. Islam. I know nothing about Muslim names, but it does seem contrived.

bobs1196 on May 6, 2014 at 11:23 AM

Probably a black convert, given the ridiculousness of the whole name…

jimver on May 6, 2014 at 1:54 PM

In other words, a moron.

slickwillie2001 on May 6, 2014 at 3:02 PM

They only mention CC in order to give context to the intended outcomes of the assignment.

They mention Common Core because they were trying to implement Common Core. The stories read that the CORE team put it in, the CORE team took it out, the ADL spoke to them and came to the conclusion this was a misguided attempt to meet Common Core standards — and so on. The whole story starts and ends with Common Core.

The Common Core is a set of standards, including objectives around critical thinking, which every rational person will agree is an essential goal of education. That’s where the core ends. CC does not dictate curricula, lessons, or assignments. This misguided assignment is the sole responsibility of the teacher, school, and district. Unless you think that having a goal of critical thinking will necessarily lead to an assignment like this. Which is wrong.

CivilDiscourse on May 6, 2014 at 2:42 PM

Common Core is an attempt to nationalize education, and it is not some set of lofty and ethereal goals which have no negative impact.

Could start here: Rotten To The Common Corporate Core

Malkin’s Stuff

Inc’s written a book. Can check sidebar.

You are offering a blanket defense, so I’m offering a broad critique. Common Core is monstrous.

Axe on May 6, 2014 at 3:09 PM

Really? Why not add Wikipedia in there, too? If the school wanted to teach critical thinking, why not start by teaching students to look for primary sources? Since the earliest days of the commercial Internet, universities and foundations have put those primary sources on line so that students just like these could benefit from the research. Instead, Rialto sends them to non-academic aggregators … and the lunatics.

Because asking high school students to slog through approximately a metric ^%$# ton of primary sources is the same as asking them not to do the assignment at all. This is an assignment on a huge question (in terms of scope). The use of aggregation in such a case is perfectly reasonable an absolutely necessary for the kinds of assignments a high school student can do.

Asking them to go to primary sources is essentially asking them to do a master’s thesis level of work in a few weeks.

Tlaloc on May 6, 2014 at 3:13 PM

Axe on May 6, 2014 at 3:09 PM

I’m not offering a blanket defense. I’m stating very specifically that this assignment is intended simply to meet a standard and has nothing beyond that whatsoever to do with the Common Core.

If you don’t understand why an objective of critical thinking — which would be rightly included in every single scope and sequence and curriculum standard that exists in this country today — should in itself no more lead to an assignment like this than a standard of understanding how to measure the circumference of a circle should lead to an assignment to circumnavigate the globe, then you and others who blame this assignment on the Common Core have much to learn about how education works, period.

There is plenty to critique about CC, namely and mostly the test metrics and the emphasis on those tests. To tie this fiasco of an assignment to it in order to bolster some larger argument against it, however is either totally uninformed or intentionally disingenuous. In either case, trying to make that connection is, with respect to our hosts here, irresponsible journalism.

CivilDiscourse on May 6, 2014 at 3:23 PM

Axe on May 6, 2014 at 3:09 PM

Also, and in a much broader vein, a lot of what you posted in your links about this reads, in my opinion, like conspiracy-driven hysteria. Like I said, there’s much to rationally and intelligently critique about the CC in the hopes of improving our education system nationwide. But it’s this hysteria that poisons the well and holds back a productive conversation on the topic and prevents those solutions from moving forward. It’s also what will ultimately exclude those who hold on to those hysterical beliefs from the conversation. This is a fundamental flaw in strategy I see with much of the conservative position these days.

CivilDiscourse on May 6, 2014 at 3:34 PM

Not Antelope Valley (which is north of L.A.); Rialto is just west of San Bernardino (which is east). It’s also about an hour-and-a-half freeway ride to the Simon Wiesenthal Center, in case this school is interested in suggestions about possible field trips.

ajb3 on May 6, 2014 at 2:44 PM

I was (wrongly) guessing actually which district might that be, I missed that the Rialto school district was the villain when I first read the post, only saw it when I re-read it…I know where Antelope Valley is, I live in Valencia…..As for field trips to the Wiesenthal Center, yeah, the assignment there would be for kimds to critically ponder whether the center is a propaganda tool in the service of zionism of something…

jimver on May 6, 2014 at 4:00 PM

Kids that is…

jimver on May 6, 2014 at 4:01 PM

I wasn’t exposed to that but I did hear a lot of use of “don’t Welsh on the debt”.

Lourdes on May 6, 2014 at 10:50 AM

I’m pretty sure that the slang phrase was “Don’t welch on the debt.” The root of the word welch may indeed be Welsh but welch in it’s own right has a definition both as a noun and as a verb.

Oldnuke on May 6, 2014 at 4:20 PM

In a counter balance I give you my kid’s junior high, their 7th grade classes deeply study the Holocaust including a viewing of “Schindler’s List” with a parental opt-out. I’ve seen the study material and it’s no-holds barred, my daughter was aghast and we have had long discussions about general evil in the world because of it.

Bishop on May 6, 2014 at 10:24 AM

Same here in rural Georgia. The kids even visited the Holocaust museum and spoke to a survivor.

GAbred on May 6, 2014 at 4:25 PM

Because asking high school students to slog through approximately a metric ^%$# ton of primary sources is the same as asking them not to do the assignment at all. This is an assignment on a huge question (in terms of scope). The use of aggregation in such a case is perfectly reasonable an absolutely necessary for the kinds of assignments a high school student can do.

Asking them to go to primary sources is essentially asking them to do a master’s thesis level of work in a few weeks.

B.S. As someone who has actually written a Master’s thesis in history, it is patently false to suggest eight graders would be incapable of such an assignment. It’s quite hyperbolic to suggest these kids would have to consider all available primary sources and digest all relevant secondary literature published since 1945 and then write 160 pages.

This is really reaching. Surely the kids could find a handful of credible sources to write their little research paper. The teach should have said “have no less than 5 primary sources and 3 secondary sources” and be done with it. I wrote such papers as an eighth grader, no reason they could not.

But, of course, the teach had no interest in that. He’d rather his pupils use the twisted, dubious sources he selected.

TarasBulbous on May 6, 2014 at 4:42 PM

I’m not offering a blanket defense. I’m stating very specifically that this assignment is intended simply to meet a standard and has nothing beyond that whatsoever to do with the Common Core.

In adding “beyond that,” you let this have something to do with Common Core, so I guess I’m done.

If you don’t understand why an objective of critical thinking — which would be rightly included in every single scope and sequence and curriculum standard that exists in this country today — should in itself no more lead to an assignment like this than a standard of understanding how to measure the circumference of a circle should lead to an assignment to circumnavigate the globe, then you and others who blame this assignment on the Common Core have much to learn about how education works, period.

^ I’m ignoring this every time you bring it up because it’s a defense of critical thinking, something no one has attacked.

There is plenty to critique about CC, namely and mostly the test metrics and the emphasis on those tests. To tie this fiasco of an assignment to it in order to bolster some larger argument against it, however is either totally uninformed or intentionally disingenuous. Or In either case, trying to make that connection is, with respect to our hosts here, irresponsible journalism.

Or they’re related. I can’t find a rationale anywhere, why they chose to try this in particular in adapting themselves to Common Core. But knowing nothing else beyond the series of propagandist studies, from reinterpreting the second amendment to dropping two points from the “outdated” Bill of Rights to . . . this, denying the Holocaust — leaving the bizarre can of worms on the mathematical side completely out of it — it’s reasonable to wonder if there’s something wrong with Common Core. Not mentioning that Common Core is involved again would be irresponsible, and not mentioning it because they can’t make the logical connection would be hubris.

Also, and in a much broader vein, a lot of what you posted in your links about this reads, in my opinion, like conspiracy-driven hysteria.

I believe you.

Like I said, there’s much to rationally and intelligently critique about the CC in the hopes of improving our education system nationwide. But it’s this hysteria that poisons the well and holds back a productive conversation on the topic and prevents those solutions from moving forward. It’s also what will ultimately exclude those who hold on to those hysterical beliefs from the conversation. This is a fundamental flaw in strategy I see with much of the conservative position these days.

I believe you again.

In my opinion, a conspiracy theory requires guessing that something is happening that cannot be observed, and a good conspiracy theory requires guessing something improbable. If it doesn’t involve aliens yet, it isn’t finished. Things conspiracy theories never actually involve are video clips of, for example, the President declaring his intention to move the country to single-payer incrementally, or emails where the lies to be told to cover-up the events at Benghazi are specified under the heading “Benghazi,” — these things, in my opinion, are just facts. Put another way, an alien video taping a conversation with a reputable interviewer is actually an alien — whether I want to accept it or not.

You’re wrong about conservatives being ultimately excluded from the conversation because their ideological opponents believe them to be hysterical.

CivilDiscourse on May 6, 2014 at 3:23 PM

CivilDiscourse on May 6, 2014 at 3:34 PM

Axe on May 6, 2014 at 4:59 PM

I wonder what kind of monetary gain anyone could have had from over 6 million dead bodies. Aside from the worthy of torture scumbag nazi progressive socialist nationalist liberals that inhabited Germany that is.

Diluculo on May 6, 2014 at 5:26 PM

I thank you for your thoughtful reply; you’re clearly thinking rationally about a lot of this, and I appreciate your willingness to hear me out on this (the mischaracterizations make me very frustrated; I think everyone deserves to make their own decisions based in fact). So I hope you don’t mind my trying one more time, and I’ll try to break it down with examples for better understanding. You said this:

^ I’m ignoring this every time you bring it up because it’s a defense of critical thinking, something no one has attacked.

But a defense of critical thinking is a defense of the core standard. Critical thinking IS the standard. That’s the point. There is literally nothing involved in the CC that would necessarily lead to this assignment. It’s not a reading list, a source list, an ideological philosophy, nor suggestion of content. The CC standard in question involves reading a source, analyzing it, and synthesizing a response that involves thinking critically about the source, with that exercise in thinking as the main objective of the assignment.

Knowing that, a teacher is free to create the assignment to meet that objective. He could ask the students to compare the politics of Macbeth to some contemporary geopolitical power struggle, with the sources being the Shakespeare play and current news articles. He could ask the students to trace the structure of English poetry to examine how formal conventions were busted apart by WWII. He could ask students to look at crazypants holocaust-denier sources in order to examine propaganda. In all of these cases, and in every single assignment (appropriate or not) you can think of that would be intended to fulfill the objective of critical thinking, the assignment is completely up to the teacher and, if there’s a review process, the lesson reviewers, but it has nothing to do with the Common Core itself, except to say that the teacher is trying to fulfill the standard.

That’s why tying this particular assignment to the CC is completely nonsensical. It’s no more apt a connection than to try to connect a speed limit law to someone who would sit on his porch shooting a shotgun at speeding cars. The objective is the same: reduced speed — but the execution is outrageous, and, in this instance, illegal.

CivilDiscourse on May 6, 2014 at 5:33 PM

Once again a school board that’s out of control assigns a ludicrous theory only supported by Israel haters. Time for the people of this school district to use their vote to get rid of the racists in that school board.

regmgr on May 6, 2014 at 5:33 PM

A few random musings:
1 When will Jews see progressives for what they really are, rabid anti-Semites.

2 This wasn’t a *misguided attempt*. This curricula is a progressive wet dream, written years ago, means-tested and approved. It’s intentional, obvious and being taught to young children for indoctrination purposes.

3 Common Core is riddled with lies, anti-Semitism and racial slurs against white Europeans. It’s an overt and transparent rewriting of history to reflect leftist hatred of America.

4 Progressives will continue to pound this agenda, get caught, apologize, pound the agenda, get caught and apologize, ad nauseum, until more parents wake up and refuse to allow their children to be fed this leftist propaganda. It’s up to the parents to force removal, they elect the school boards, they can stop it with their vote.

AppraisHer on May 6, 2014 at 10:49 PM

Interim Superintendent Mohammad Z. Islam

There’s a joke about Jesus H. Christ here but I’m not sure how to make it. While you come up with one, let me just whip this out.

hurricane567 on May 7, 2014 at 4:25 AM

I was watching a historical show on the railroad system in Germany at the beginning of the century through WWII and the fact that they only had two main railways that really hindered their war effert at times. I decided to actually do the math. If the germans transported only jews on their railways, 24-7, it would have taken 8 years to transport 6 million jews to the “death camps”.

Redglen on May 7, 2014 at 1:05 PM

It doesn’t take much “critical thinking” to conclude that the Holocaust deniers are whacked. Just look at facts. The Germans kept meticulous records. All the Jews are, in fact, gone, deceased, killed. There was plenty of direct evidence. Why would a school even think of making this an issue?

oldennis on May 7, 2014 at 7:31 PM

Teach them the proper history, Mao Zedong — 78 million killed.

mixplix on May 8, 2014 at 7:19 PM

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