Florida teacher tells fourth-graders to give up constitutional rights, report says

Florida teacher tells fourth-graders to give up constitutional rights, report says

Published April 13, 2013


  • constitutionus12.jpg

    This image shows the Constitution of the United States. (AP)

A Florida father says he was shocked to find a note in his fourth-grade son’s backpack suggesting that his teacher instructed students to write letters on their willingness to give up their constitutional rights.Aaron Harvey told WOKV.com that his 10-year-old son was told to write a note reading, “I am willing to give up some of my constitutional rights in order to be safer or more secure,” after a civics lesson at the end of last year.Harvey said he found the note earlier this month and obtained the curriculum guide for the lesson, which he said was geared toward helping students “determine their opinions on which rights they value most and least,” the report states.

He told the station that his son’s teacher instructed several students in the class to write the statement and sign it. He said the story was corroborated by other parents with children in the class.Harvey, a military veteran, told FirstCoastNews.com he thinks the statement reflects the teacher’s personal opinion.
“I don’t believe that any American or American child should be asked to write this,” he said.class blogDuval County Public Schools issued a statement Friday to FirstCoastNews.com in which they said the lesson was consistent with the district’s “efforts to broaden civics-based education and develop critical thinking skills among our students.””The lesson builds awareness of First Amendment rights through a partnership with an association of local attorneys. Our possible concern rests with a follow-up activity that may have been conducted after the lesson,” the statement read.

School Assignment in New York School: Prove Jews are evil.

Adolf-Hitler blog copy

NY school assignment: Think like a Nazi, argue that Jews are evil

Students in some Albany High School English classes were asked to participate in the unthinkable this week as part of a persuasive writing assignment. The objective? Prove why Jews are evil and convince the teacher of their loyalty to the Third Reich in five paragraphs or less.

“You must argue that Jews are evil, and use solid rationale from government propaganda to convince me of your loyalty to the Third Reich!” read the description on the assignment, which the school superintendent said reflects the kind of sophisticated writing expected of students under the new Common Core standards and was meant to hone students’ persuasive argument abilities.

The TimesUnion reports that students were asked to digest Nazi propaganda material, then imagine that their teacher was an SS officer who needed to be persuaded of their loyalty by arguing that Jews are the root of all the world’s ills.

“I would apologize to our families,” Albany Superintendent Marguerite Vanden Wyngaard said. “I don’t believe there was malice or intent to cause any insensitivities to our families of Jewish faith.”

The TimesUnion explains more of the reasoning behind the offensive assignment:

Vanden Wyngaard said the exercise reflects the type of writing expected of students under the new Common Core curriculum, the tough new academic standards that require more sophisticated writing. Such assignments attempt to connect English with history and social studies.

She said she understood the academic intent of the assignment — to make an argument based only on limited information at hand. Still, she acknowledged that it was worded in a very offensive manner. She did not identify the English teacher or discuss whether the educator faced any discipline.

Students were asked to draw on elements of the great philosopher Aristotle, and frame their arguments as either: “Logos” (persuasion by reasoning), “Pathos” (persuasion by emotional appeal) or “Ethos” (persuasion by the author’s character).

Nonetheless, a reported one-third of the Albany students refused to complete the assignment.

Whether school faculty chose this particular subject matter for the writing assignment, or if the subject matter came directly from Common Core remains unclear (it could have been the justification and not a direct lesson), but the amount of controversial lessons administered under curriculum system is indeed mounting.