Humint Events Online: Critical Thinking!

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Critical Thinking!


Word that Rialto Unified School District had assigned middle school students an essay on whether the Holocaust occurred or was “merely a political scheme created to influence public emotion and gain” brought swift reaction Monday, even as the district reversed course and acknowledged the assignment was inappropriate.
Throughout the day Monday, the district fielded angry calls from parents, a death threat and a flurry of media inquiries over the assignment, which district officials initially defended as an effort to teach students to think critically. Ultimately, however, administrators acknowledged the assignment was in poor taste and promised it would not be given again.
“Our interim superintendent will be talking with our Educational Services Department to assure that any references to the Holocaust ‘not occurring’ will be stricken on any current or future Argumentative Research projects,” district spokeswoman Syeda Jafri said in a prepared statement late Sunday.
The assignment was given to Rialto Unified’s approximately 2,000 eighth-grade students in April, requiring them to cite sources for their point of view.
“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 is a propaganda tool that was used for political and monetary gain. Based upon your research on this issue, write an argumentative essay, utilizing cited textual evidence, in which you explain whether or not you believe the Holocaust was an actual event in history, or merely a political scheme created to influence public emotion and gain. Remember to address counterclaims (rebuttals) to your stated claim. You are also required to use parenthetical (internal) citations and to provide a Works Cited page.”
Historians estimate 6 million Jews — about two of every three in Europe — were killed by the Nazi regime between 1933 and 1945 in a pogrom targeting “undesirables,” which also included communists, homosexuals, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Roma (Gypsies), socialists and others. While the atrocities have been well-documented, there has been some controversy over claims that the Holocaust did not really happen, Those claims have been thoroughly debunked, and in some European countries, Germany included, Holocaust denial is a crime for which one can be jailed.
The assignment was developed by a small group of eighth grade teachers in December, Jafri said Monday afternoon. It was distributed to middle school sites in February and teachers were asked for comment.
“If there were complaints, we never heard about it at the district office,” Jafri said.
That wasn’t the case on Monday, where the district’s receptionist was busy fielding calls about the assignment and handling the flotilla of television news vans outside the district offices and middle schools much of the day.
And it also generated another phone call: a death threat, phoned in around 9 a.m. to Jafri, threatening both her life and that of interim superintendent Mohammad Z. Islam.
Local police took the threat seriously.
The threats “meet the elements of a terrorist threat and will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” Rialto Police Captain Randy DeAnda said Monday afternoon.
While Rialto Unified administrators defended the assignment on Friday, explaining that the intent was to challenge students to think critically, by Sunday, the district had change course.
Interesting that initially there were no complaints about this, and it only upset people once it got in the news.

The assignment does have some "surprising" content, if you look down a few pages.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

critical thinking is not allowed.

8:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Spooked, you need to look at David' Walcock's Financial Tyranny video on russian TV. Go to divine and check it out. Very enlightening.

1:04 PM  

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