School District Asks Students If Holocaust Was A Hoax In Monumentally Stupid Assignment
Imagine for a second that your kid came home from school with the assignment to write an argumentative piece on whether or not the Holocaust is an elaborate piece of Jewish propaganda, because that’s exactly what these 8th graders were asked to do, according to The Sun. The assignment was to use “multiple, credible references” in order to draw a conclusion as toÂ â€œwhether or not you believe this was an actual event in history, or merely a political scheme created to influence public emotion and gain wealth.â€
What makes this train wreck of an idea exponentially more idiotic is that the “credible” sources include About.com, History.com, and of course, that bastion of academia, Bible Believers website, which was apparently made when the internet was new and hasn’t been updated since. Here’s a scholarly gem from that site:
“EvenÂ The Diary of Anne FrankÂ is a hoax. Portions of the diary were written with a ball point pen. These pens were not in use at the time Anne Frank lived.Â It is not denied concentration camps existed. Tragically, many died of typhus or starvation, as often happens in such situations. There is, however, no evidence that any gassings occurred for the reasons of genocide.”
This offends and horrifies me on so many levels. First as someone with Jewish family members, secondly because I am acutely aware that there are a number of people who truly doubt the veracity of the Holocaust despite its atrocities, and then as a parent of a school-aged child who will, in a few year’s time, begin to learn about this depraved and inhuman event.
That people deny that the Holocaust happened isn’t even new. Eisenhower predicted that deniers would emerge, which is why he had the camps so thoroughly documented. But that isn’t even at issue here. The issue is that this was all presented as a valid debate topic. Why not have kids explore whether or not gravity is a hoax?
What galls me is that the revisions to this assignment were only made after a local newspaper got wind of the assignment; no parents or students complained. First, if my kid came home with this, I’d be pissed. Second, if she ever parenthetically sourced a crappy website, I’d be extra-pissed. That’s just bad form.
On the plus side, this doesn’t look like it was part of a bigger agenda. Instead, it seems like it was an assignment designed to meet everyone’s favorite new academic standards: The Common Core. According to a blog post on the Anti Defamation League‘s site, after the ADL became involved in this nonsense:
â€œADL does not have any evidence that the assignment was given as part of a larger, insidious, agenda…rather, the district seems to have given the assignment with an intent, although misguided, to meet Common Core standards relating to critical learning skills.”
Fortunately, it’s looking like the entire assignment is being scrapped, which is a good thing. Though I can’t wait to see what’s next! A debate piece on why suffrage was a crappy idea? A point-by-point rebuttal of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.‘s speech? I guess we’ll just have to see.