Domestic Policy

WOW: 8th Grade Common Core Lesson in California Asks Kids If Holocaust Was Real or Just a ‘Propaganda Tool’


School officials said they will be rewriting a controversial essay question developed through the Common Core guidelines that asks eighth graders to consider whether the Holocaust a “real event” or “merely a political scheme created to influence public emotion and gain.”

From the Sun:

The district says the assignment is merely to teach students to evaluate the quality of evidence made by advocates or opponents of an issue. “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 a propaganda tool was used for political and monetary gain. Remember to address counterclaims (rebuttals) to your stated claim.

Wait, what? Since when do we debate whether tragic events happen? No one doubts 9/11 happened, or the disappearance of the Malaysian flight, or that Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans. Is this really “critical thinking”? According to their interpretation of the Common Core, it is:

The project was designed by district teachers and assigned during the eighth grade’s “Diary of Anne Frank” unit, according to district spokeswoman Syeda Jafri.


The Common Core state standards, which have been adopted by most states and the District of Columbia, emphasize critical thinking in students, which is what the assignment is intended to teach, according to school board member Joe Martinez.
“One of the most important responsibilities for educators is to develop critical thinking skills in students,” Martinez wrote in an email Friday morning. “This will allow a person to come to their own conclusion. Current events are part of the basis for measuring IQ. The Middle East, Israel, Palestine and the Holocaust are on newscasts discussing current events. Teaching how to come to your own conclusion based on the facts, test your position, be able to articulate that position, then defend your belief with a lucid argument is essential to good citizenship.

I’m all for critical thinking, but the Holocaust has so much historical baggage from heinous deniers that this topic is wholly inappropriate to be taught in this manner, and especially that age. Is it even proper to teach eighth-graders to doubt that any historical event occurred when students barely get through our schools knowing anything about history?

What’s worse, not one parent or student complained – either they are utterly unengaged with what’s going on at the schools, or they themselves are completely uninformed about history themselves.

But hey, don’t worry! The school district’s interim superintendent, Mohammad Z. Islam (I’m not making this up) assures everyone that everything is fine. Nothing to see here (No, really, that’s his actual name).

So I’m thinking that if you have a kid in our public schools, you might want to monitor their lessons very closely.

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