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Unfortunate rush to judgment on writing assignment about Jews

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Unfortunate rush to judgment on writing assignment about Jews I would like to comment on the April 13 story [“Anti-Semitic essay assignment draws fury”] about the Albany teacher who assigned a persuasive writing exercise to convince a Nazi government official of their loyalty by arguing that Jews were a source of Germany’s problems. As a Jew myself, I’m very sensitive to treatment of the Holocaust. Yet, I suspect that much has been left out of ...


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comments

wmarincic
April 16, 2013
8:10 a.m.

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David Hayes I'm sure they got the message and are working on it, at any time they are working multiple investigations and they usually don't speak to people, they may get the information from one person and ask them not to tell that they spoke to the police, not only for their safety but not to screw up the investigation. Believe me they know. If you want to send a message to whtma@yahoo.com, I will promise to get it to the right people today.

Newsworthy
April 16, 2013
4:30 p.m.

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William, a thoughtful and courageous letter. The superintendent's reaction appeared politically motivated - a knee-jerk to public comments. She was too quick to throw her teacher "under the bus".
There are many possibilities involved with this choice of assignment. My initial reaction was that it was an objective lesson based on a sensitive topic that could offend many people. Perhaps the teacher planned follow up lessons, or she didn't anticipate the strength of the reaction, or she may have had the far deeper lessons in mind, as you mentioned. Maybe she made an error in judgement.
Now, a new question arises. What did the students truly learn from this incident? If only they learned to be as thoughtful and non-judgmental as William, it would be a successful learning experience.

billnech
April 16, 2013
11:12 p.m.

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To "Newsworthy". I'm the writer of the letter. I want to thank you for your kind comments. I do not know the teacher, but something about the way the incident was presented on the Gazette, in the TU and on local TV struck me as not quite right. I don't know what actually took place and what the lesson plan and objectives are. But most teachers that I know are very thoughtful people, and I would be very surprised if this particular teacher was trying to turn her students into Nazis.

robbump
April 18, 2013
9:58 p.m.

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To "billnech": I also doubt the teacher was trying to turn the kids into Nazis as well. I think the kids were being given a seemingly "impossible" task: defend something you personally find abhorrent.

I'm sure many of the Germans found the Nazi actions abhorrent, yet had to convince party members of their "loyalty" to the party ...many of them were undoubtedly part of the "underground" trying to destroy the party. Lawyers must find ways to defend clients whom the lawyers aren't too pleased with. Heck, some of us even have had to defend our employers' actions even though we disagreed with them. Those are real-life experiences and the kids will find themselves in similar positions some day.

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