A creative writing assignment at Albany High School asks students to make an argument as to why they would be loyal to a pretend Nazi official.
The assignment was given to three separate classes, and to their credit, one third of the students refused to complete the assignment.
Via the Times Union:
Think like a Nazi, the assignment required students. Argue why Jews are evil.
Students in some Albany High School English classes were asked this week as part of a persuasive writing assignment to make an abhorrent argument: “You must argue that Jews are evil, and use solid rationale from government propaganda to convince me of your loyalty to the Third Reich!”
Students were asked to watch and read Nazi propaganda, then pretend their teacher was a Nazi government official who needed to be convinced of their loyalty. In five paragraphs, they were required to prove that Jews were the source of Germany’s problems.
The exercise was intended to challenge students to formulate a persuasive argument and was given to three classes, Albany Superintendent Marguerite Vanden Wyngaard said. She said the assignment should have been worded differently.
Yea, I’m having trouble imagining any scenario in which the wording of an assignment asking kids to argue that “Jews are evil” would be acceptable.
Worse, the assignment also asks students to draw on personal experience to make the case against Jews, encouraging anti-Semitism amongst the high schoolers.
Wyngaard did apologize to the families that may have been offended, though she noted there was no malice or intent behind the assignment.
That said, she refused to name the teacher responsible or if that teacher would face disciplinary action. In fact, the Superintendent shifted focus by blaming the Common Core curriculum for leading to such an assignment.
The teacher should be disciplined, if not for the assignment itself, then for the inability to recognize why this would be offensive to people.
A copy of the assignment may be seen below (h/t WNYT).