A sixth-grade teacher at a Washington, D.C. public school will apologize to students but otherwise is receiving no punishment whatsoever for sending students home with an assignment this week instructing them to use a Venn diagram to compare former President George W. Bush and Adolf Hitler.
The teacher is employed at McKinley Tech Middle School, a taxpayer-funded school in the Northeast quadrant of the nation’s capital, NBC Washington reports.
The Washington Times obtained a copy of the assignment, which innovatively melds together the Holocaust and the Iraq war.
“Now that we have read about two men of power who abused their power in various ways, we will compare and contrast them and their actions,” the directions explain. “Please refer to your texts, ‘Fighting Hitler — A Holocaust Story’ and ‘Bush: Iraq War Justified Despite No WMD’ to compare and contrast former President George W. Bush and Hitler. We will use this in class tomorrow for an activity!”
As is typical when public school teachers do the next outrageous and unbelievable thing, officials at McKinley Tech Middle School have refused to name the teacher.
The principal at the school is Louise Jones.
A disturbed parent, who also has not been identified, reported the assignment to the local press.
The parent said that when he initially called school officials to express discomfort with the assignment, school officials assured him that the homework was part of an approved “War and Peace” curriculum unit. A goal of the unit is for middle schoolers to determine when war is justified.
“I think trying to compare Adolf Hitler to an America president is just not right,” the parent said, according to the Times. “I didn’t agree with Mr. Bush or his policies, but that was over the line.”
The parent also noted that the claim that Bush and Hitler “abused their power in various ways” provides the teacher’s opinion as fact to impressionable sixth graders.
The District of Columbia Public Schools released a statement concerning the homework assignment on Wednesday. According to NBC Washington, the full statement reads:
“The District of Columbia Public Schools provides teachers with an English-Language Arts curriculum that outlines the topics, texts, and standards to be taught within instructional units, while allowing teachers the flexibility to decide the best approach and day-to-day lessons for their students. One of the units at the beginning of the year is about War and Peace, allowing students to explore different perspectives and determine when conflict is warranted, and when peace should prevail. This week, a DCPS teacher created a worksheet to assign as homework which asked students to compare and contrast President George W. Bush and Adolf Hitler, after reading two texts. No DCPS curriculum materials suggest in any way that teachers should compare the texts in this manner or compare Hitler to any other individual. One text, “Fighting Hitler — A Holocaust Story” is part of the current suggested materials. The text about President Bush is not suggested as part of the current year’s curriculum, but was included last year in a separate unit. The teacher deeply regrets this mistake, and any suggestion to malign the presidency or make any comparison in this egregious way.
“The teacher admits to extremely poor judgment and short sightedness and will apologize to students. The school will also send a letter home to families explaining the incident and offering to address any additional questions should they arise.”