The administration at Albany High School–home of the fightin’ Falcons and the shaper of 2,300 young supple minds–is in some hot water (h/t Allison Hoffman) for a teacher’s English assignment, which required three classes to write persuasively about the evil nature of Jews.
“You must argue that Jews are evil, and use solid rationale from government propaganda to convince me of your loyalty to the Third Reich!”
Students were asked to watch and read Nazi propaganda, then pretend their teacher was a Nazi government official who needed to be convinced of their loyalty. In five paragraphs, they were required to prove that Jews were the source of Germany’s problems.
The initial good news is the one-third of the students immediately refused to do this. The bad news is that the Albany superintendent is not naming the teacher and saying only that it should have been worded differently.
“I would apologize to our families,” Superintendent Marguerite Vanden Wyngaard said. “I don’t believe there was malice or intent to cause any insensitivities to our families of Jewish faith.”
First of all, send Marguerite Vanden Wyngaard back to high school English because her statement doesn’t make a lick of sense. Second of all, how is there no malice in this exercise? The assignment asked students to draw on historical information as well as personal experiences? There are countless other ways to ask students to think critically and persuasively without asking them to inhabit the mental space of a Nazi.
School apologizes for ‘Nazi’ writing assignment [Times Union]