You may have seen this sixth grade homework assignment making the rounds on Facebook. It’s unbelievable, but a teacher in the D.C. public school system asked sixth grade students to compare former President George W. Bush to Nazi leader Hitler as examples of abuse of power. We'll see if this book is updated to include President Obama’s rulership by pen, but somehow I doubt it.
One upset parent -no Bush supporter- thought this homework assignment was inappropriate and called the school to complain. Apparently, that parent was told the assignment was part of a curriculum unit approved by the school system. The children are studying the Holocaust and the War in Iraq.
Neither events are even remotely related, but never mind that. Some educators hate President Bush so much that they’re willing to enshrine their disdain for him in academic materials and inculcate young minds to hate him as much as they hate one of history’s biggest murderers.
The school was quick to say that the comparison should not have been made nor the texts used in this way, and apologized for the poor judgment on the part of a teacher.
It makes you wonder though just how else teachers are weaving their biases and dislike for policies they disagree within into their teaching plans.
The Washington Times reports:
A copy of the assignment, made by the parent, instructs students to draw examples from two texts they were assigned and to fill in a Venn diagram with similarities and differences between the two men.
“Now that we have read about two men of power who abused their power in various ways, we will compare and contrast them and their actions. Please refer to your texts, ‘Fighting Hitler — A Holocaust Story’ and ‘Bush: Iraq War Justified Despite No WMD’ to compare and contrast former President George W. Bush and Hitler. We will use this in class tomorrow for an activity!” reads the text at the top of the assignment.
“I think trying to compare Adolf Hitler to an American president is just not right,” the parent said. “I didn’t agree with Mr. Bush or his policies, but that was over the line.”
A spokeswoman for D.C. Public Schools said the two readings were among suggested curriculum the school system had previously approved but that the texts were not meant to be compared in the manner assigned by the teacher.
“The teacher deeply regrets this mistake, and any suggestion to malign the presidency or make any comparison in this egregious way,” spokeswoman Melissa Salmanowitz said.
An apology is not enough and that teacher is somebody who should not be teaching children. If he/she demonstrates such poor judgment so early in the year, why wait for this teacher to inflict more damage later on. Severe punishment would also send a signal to other would-be offending educators to keep their biases to themselves while teaching.
The glaring snub is disrespectful to both President Bush and the highest office of the United States. Also, comparing the genocidal murder of millions of Jewish men, woman and children at the hands of an evil man to the deaths of soldiers in a declared war is incomprehensible.
There’s no need to go into a historical analysis, but as a taxpayer in Washington, D.C., I am highly disturbed to know that my tax dollars are being used to mis-educate young minds. D.C. has the second lowest graduation rate in the country -just 58 percent of students graduate on time. The school system often complains about losing kids to the charter schools, which offer better choices and where students perform slightly better. This episode does little to instill trust in those public schools.
Let us hope that this is not a system-wide problem. By taking a firm response the District's Public School System can send a strong signal to their entire teaching cadre that such “poor judgment” won’t be tolerated.