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Tue May 6, 2014, 03:45 PM

From the "what the hell" files: Rialto Unified says Holocaust debate assignment will not be repeated

Word that Rialto Unified School District had assigned middle school students an essay on whether the Holocaust occurred or was “merely a political scheme created to influence public emotion and gain” brought swift reaction Monday, even as the district reversed course and acknowledged the assignment was inappropriate.

Throughout the day Monday, the district fielded angry calls from parents, a death threat and a flurry of media inquiries over the assignment, which district officials initially defended as an effort to teach students to think critically. Ultimately, however, administrators acknowledged the assignment was in poor taste and promised it would not be given again.

“Our interim superintendent will be talking with our Educational Services Department to assure that any references to the Holocaust ‘not occurring’ will be stricken on any current or future Argumentative Research projects,” district spokeswoman Syeda Jafri said in a prepared statement late Sunday.

The assignment was given to Rialto Unified’s approximately 2,000 eighth-grade students in April, requiring them to cite sources for their point of view.

“When tragic events occur in history, there is often debate about their actual existence,” the assignment reads. “For example, some people claim the Holocaust is not an actual historical event, but instead is a propaganda tool that was used for political and monetary gain. Based upon your research on this issue, write an argumentative essay, utilizing cited textual evidence, in which you explain whether or not you believe the Holocaust was an actual event in history, or merely a political scheme created to influence public emotion and gain. Remember to address counterclaims (rebuttals) to your stated claim. You are also required to use parenthetical (internal) citations and to provide a Works Cited page.”

more: http://www.sbsun.com/social-affairs/20140505/rialto-unified-changes-tune-on-holocaust-debate-essay-project

[hr]

Is it any wonder why anti-Semitism refuses to die?

9 replies, 1988 views

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Reply From the "what the hell" files: Rialto Unified says Holocaust debate assignment will not be repeated (Original post)
Behind the Aegis May 2014 OP
NYC_SKP May 2014 #1
meti57b May 2014 #2
theHandpuppet May 2014 #3
Behind the Aegis May 2014 #4
MosheFeingold May 2014 #5
Behind the Aegis May 2014 #6
MosheFeingold May 2014 #8
theHandpuppet May 2014 #7
meti57b May 2014 #9

Response to Behind the Aegis (Original post)

Tue May 6, 2014, 04:00 PM

1. In case people in other states think that Southern California is "progressive"...

 

This is embarrassing, to say the least.

And from a school system, at that.

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Response to NYC_SKP (Reply #1)

Wed May 7, 2014, 07:34 AM

2. Yes, embarrassing to say the least!

Worse is that questioning it implies that it did not happen.

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Response to Behind the Aegis (Original post)

Wed May 7, 2014, 08:38 AM

3. Ah yes, molding a whole new generation of holocaust deniers

Who the hell thought this was ever a good idea?

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Response to theHandpuppet (Reply #3)

Wed May 7, 2014, 02:10 PM

4. Take a look in LBN.

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Response to theHandpuppet (Reply #3)

Thu May 8, 2014, 06:12 PM

5. According to Superintendent Mohammad Z. Islam

FTA: According to Superintendent Mohammad Z. Islam, a "group of 8th grade teachers" came up with the assignment.

The ADL response:

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

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Response to MosheFeingold (Reply #5)

Fri May 9, 2014, 12:03 AM

6. I agree with the ADL that is it unlikely "part of a larger, insidious, agenda"; that said,

...it is still a pile of steaming bullshit. To me, this is almost as bad as the "fried chicken for Black History Month" crap we see every year.

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Response to Behind the Aegis (Reply #6)

Fri May 9, 2014, 01:17 PM

8. Concur

I am just so pissed.

I am suspecting intentional sabotage of Common Core materials by right wingers.

For reasons unknown, they oppose Common Core visciously.

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Response to Behind the Aegis (Original post)

Fri May 9, 2014, 08:28 AM

7. OP ED from the LA Times

http://www.latimes.com/opinion/opinion-la/la-ol-rialto-schools-holocaust-20140508-story.html
The Holocaust mistake at Rialto schools is more than a glitch

(excerpt)
For one thing, this wasn't the work of a single teacher working in isolation. A team of teachers came up with the assignment, helped by the district's educational services division, the people who are supposed to be the experts on developing appropriate assignments. All of which says some scary things about how well Rialto's academic staff understand the new curriculum standards and how well they carry out basic instructional functions. If they could so thoroughly botch something this clear, what else are they teaching under the guise of Common Core?

Then consider that when the San Bernardino Sun first reported the story, the district's reaction was to defend the assignment.

"We want our students to engage in developing critical thinking skills," district spokeswoman Syeda Jafri told the Sun. Worse, school board member Joe Martinez reportedly wrote in an email to the paper, "This will allow a person to come to their own conclusions."

Sorry, Mr. Martinez, but people cannot come to their own conclusions about whether facts are facts. That is not critical thinking. Four times five equals 20; students don't get to make up their own minds about whether that's true....

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Response to theHandpuppet (Reply #7)

Sat May 10, 2014, 08:58 AM

9. Sounds like the district spokeswoman and school board members are the ones who need to develop......

"critical thinking skills".

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