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Anti-Semitic essay assignment draws fury

Albany City School District Superintendent Marguerite Vanden Wyngaard speaks about a controversial essay asking Albany High School 10th graders to think like a Nazi, during a press conference at the Jewish Federation of Northeastern New York in Albany on Friday, April 12, 2013.
Photographer: Patrick Dodson
Albany City School District Superintendent Marguerite Vanden Wyngaard speaks about a controversial essay asking Albany High School 10th graders to think like a Nazi, during a press conference at the Jewish Federation of Northeastern New York in Albany on Friday, April 12, 2013.
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Albany school officials are planning to retrain school staff on religious sensitivity and hold workshops promoting diversity in response to an English assignment that asked students to write a persuasive essay that “Jews are evil.” The teacher of the 10th-grade English class is being pulled from the classroom pending disciplinary action, according to Superintendent Marguerite Vanden Wyngaard. District officials announced the actions at a news conference Friday afternoon at the United Jewish Federation of Northeastern ...


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comments

safny
April 12, 2013
4:57 p.m.

[ Flag Post ]

Retrained? I think a you-know-what kicking would be appropriate, or a firing. I love that "ill-conceived" comment - let's see, moronic? Unbelievably stupid?

pnotto
April 12, 2013
5:26 p.m.

[ Flag Post ]

I have a suggestion for another assignment the Jewish students can be asked to give their opinion on and that is for them to write a composition essay explaining about how, why and the purpose for the Palestinians who reside in Israel have a credo written into their constitution and that is taught to the Palestinian school children to destroy Israel and eliminate the Jewish people in the land of Israel. Then the students are to show how and why the Palestinians behind the leadership of Nobel Peace award winner Yasir Arafat's 1979 Calafiate against the Jewish nation to ultimately push the Jewish people into the Mediterranean differs and contrasts from antisemitism the Nazi's had in creating Operation Reinhard and the 1935 Nuremberg Laws that relabeled the Jewish people in Germany as an in human subclass. Then show and contrast how these two forms of racism and bigotry are one in the same against people who despise and hate the people of the Jewish nation who by the way won control of this land on the battle field which by the way was started by the Arab nations in wars against Israel in 1948, 1967 and 1973....

dan
April 12, 2013
6:17 p.m.

[ Flag Post ]

I've got to support the teacher here. This assignment teaches critical thinking and the understanding of others' points of views. Nowhere does it say "this is how you should think." It's scary watching the closed-minded people react to this. When kids grow up, they're going to have to learn that there are people out there who think differently. Vilifying the teacher teaches the student that it's wrong to think differently and they should be punished for it. While the teacher is teaching "First understand where the other side is coming from". I stand by the teacher.

safny
April 13, 2013
6:55 a.m.

[ Flag Post ]

I do not think I am at all closed minded. I do think that this type of assignment is fraught with danger since most of today's high school students probably do not have much of an understanding of the holocaust, World War II, the Middle East conflicts, etc. I work with kids and some of them don't know that they live in the State of New York. Critical thinking requires ideas and facts. And I do believe that certain ideas (racial supremacy, for example)do not have a place in our schools in so far as the public at large has no way of knowing how the schools and teachers are able to moderate such discussions. If someone told me that they were a member of the American Nazi party I doubt I would want to spend much time having a "critical thinking" discussion as much as watching my back.

grant18
April 13, 2013
9:51 a.m.

[ Flag Post ]

Critical thinking requires an ability to understand that there are usually two or more sides of a question, making it necessary to analyze which is more reasonable & why. In my college liberal arts courses, my history instructors' exam questions often started with "Compare & contrast . . ." Apparently this teacher was awarded a Masters degree without ever having seen such a question.

Sparkys_Dad
April 13, 2013
10:38 a.m.

[ Flag Post ]

What a great teacher! What's wrong with a little controversial assignment to spark some critical thinking in otherwise atrophied 10th grader brains? Good for him! But seriously...to quote another post: Blaming JEWS for the problems of Nazi Germany? Ha-ha-ha! That's like giving
kids an assignment to have them explain how the MAFIA was responsible
for the problems of Fascist Italy or Catholics for being responsible for
the Spanish Inquisition and collapse of Iberian autocracy or maybe like
assigning the students to write about blaming the Redshield Banking
Cartel (aka Rothchilds)...our very own Federal Reserve System for the
collapse of the U.S. economy (again). There's a little truth in all of
it. But make no mistake about it: One does not criticize G-d's chosen. To quote Woody Allen: If you so much as even think about
finding fault with those people watch out...they'll start writing
letters! And as Vince Lombardi once said: The best defense is a strong
offense. -Just food for thought kids.

irene58
April 13, 2013
1:03 p.m.

[ Flag Post ]

There was a time when administrators reviewed lesson plans.....Obviously that doesn't happen anymore, and if it does, not nearly as often as it should. The teacher should be terminated, the rest of the staff doesn't need "re-training". Do it swiftly and move on.

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