SICK: Students Asked to Defend “Exterminating Jewish People” In Class

SICK: Students Asked to Defend “Exterminating Jewish People” In Class

Critical thinking?

New York Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia says that an assignment asking students to argue in support of the Holocaust would prompt them to critically think.

Yes. You have heard this right…she said “support of the holocaust”

There is a teacher in Oswego County, who earlier this year asked students to put themselves in a Nazi leader’s shoes and make an argument FOR or against the “Final Solution” …. which was to exterminate Jewish people.

She responded to the assignment after speaking to a round-table with Syracuse’s Rosamond Gifford Zoo. She delivered a speech around the same time published an article regarding students who were upset with the assignment.

Elia says she was not aware of this assignment that was given, but said that she agrees that it would create an opportunity for critical thinking and it could be good for students.

“I think it’s certainly a question where you want students to think on both sides and analyze … which position a person is taking,” Elia said.

“That idea of being able to identify the perspective an article has or a writer has is a very important skill.”

Elia, who taught social studies near Buffalo for several years, said she would judge the appropriateness of the assignment based on the age of the students in the class, the material and background information leading up to the assignment, and how the assignment was presented in the class.

“Those factors would influence the appropriateness or not,” she said. “The concept of having students identify a particular position is pretty critical, whether they can analyze a position, and then decide whether to agree or not.”

The assignment in this case was given to high school seniors in a “Principles of Literary Representation” class taught by Michael DeNobile.

The class was offered through a program that gives students the opportunity to take college-level courses three times a week and participate in internships.

Administrators of the program declined to be interviewed, but said in a statement that an alternative essay was offered after students brought forward concerns.

According to students Archer Shurtliff and Jordan April, who took issue with the assignment, the essay was given during a series of lessons on war.

Prior to the essay, the class watched the movie “Conspiracy” which recreates the Wannsee Conference, where high-level Nazis devised the “Final Solution.”

Here is the FINAL SOLUTION homework assignment…check it out by clicking here.

What are your thoughts on this?

Does this make any sort of sense to you?

Wickedness has never promoted rational thought after all… but sometimes, it’s still too much to comprehend.

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