Middle school assignment: Find flaws in GOP candidates—but not president
posted at 12:00 pm on March 22, 2012 by Howard Portnoy
We’ve come a long way since the days when first-graders were required to sing hosannas to the nation’s first black president—all the way to eighth grade. The Daily Caller reports:
A Virginia middle school teacher recently forced his students to support President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign by conducting opposition research in class against the Republican presidential candidates.
The 8th grade students, who attend Liberty Middle School in Fairfax County, were required to seek out the vulnerabilities of Republican presidential hopefuls and forward them to the Obama campaign.
The assignment entailed digging into the backgrounds and positions of each of the GOP candidates and ferreting out “weaknesses.” In order to cover all bases, the teacher, Michael Denman, divided his honors civics class into four groups of six students each, one group per Republican candidate. Within each group, two students were tasked with identifying the weaknesses, two with writing the attack strategy paper, and two with finding an individual within the Obama campaign to whom the information could be forwarded. (Obviously, the teacher was not up to the task of indoctrinating impressionable pre-teens. He appears to have been oblivious to the “Truth Team,” the Obama campaign’s latest website for snitches.)
Although the Virginia county where the school is located is reliably left-leaning in its political makeup, enough parents were put off by the audacious assignment to phone the school. One parent told The Daily Caller, “This assignment was just creepy beyond belief—like something out of East Germany during the Cold War,” adding:
I was shocked that a school teacher would so blatantly politicize the curriculum of a middle school classroom. I asked [my child] if a similar assignment had been handed out to examine the background and positions of President Obama to see if the teacher was at least being bipartisan.
The school’s principal, Catherine Cipperly, is on record as saying that students should have been given a choice, but John Torre, a spokesman for the Fairfax County Public School system, seems to come to Denman’s defense, rationalizing that the students weren’t actually instructed to send their reports to the Obama campaign.
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