Was the Holocaust “an actual event in history, or merely a political scheme created to influence public emotion and gain wealth”? That was the stunning question eighth graders in the Rialto Unified School District in California were asked to consider in the form of an argumentative essay last month. On radio this morning, Glenn referred to the assignment as “one of the most outrageous stories” he has ever seen.
“One of the most outrageous stories I have ever seen. The Rialto school district in southern California is now under fire after a stunning 8th grade assignment asked students to write an essay about the Holocaust,” Glenn said on radio this morning. “So you know, before I get into this, no parents in the school district complained. It was only after this came out in the press that people started calling and the school. The superintendent of schools has apologized and said it was a mistake. Was it a mistake?”
The San Bernardino Sun first reported on the 18-page assignment that gave students three sources to use to write their essays. One of the sources, traced to a webpage on biblebelievers.org.au, alleges the gassings in concentration camps were a “hoax” and there is no evidence Jews actually died in gas chambers:
“With all this money at stake for Israel, it is easy to comprehend why this Holocaust hoax is so secretly guarded. In whatever way you can, please help shatter this profitable myth. It is time we stop sacrificing America’s welfare for the sake of Israel and spend our hard-earned dollars on Americans.”
District spokeswoman Syeda Jafri told the San Bernardino Sun the project was designed by district teachers and assigned during the eighth grade’s “Diary of Anne Frank” unit. According to Jafri, Rialto Unified has received no complaints regarding the assignment.
Furthermore, school board member Joe Martinez told the paper that the assignment is acceptable because Common Core emphasizes critical thinking.
“One of the most important responsibilities for educators is to develop critical thinking skills in students,” Martinez wrote in an email Friday morning. “This will allow a person to come to their own conclusion. Current events are part of the basis for measuring IQ. The Middle East, Israel, Palestine and the Holocaust are on newscasts discussing current events. Teaching how to come to your own conclusion based on the facts, test your position, be able to articulate that position, then defend your belief with a lucid argument is essential to good citizenship. This thought process creates the foundation for a good education.”
In a statement issued Monday, however, the school district said Interim Superintendent Mohammad Z. Islam would meet with administrators to make sure references to the Holocaust “not occurring” are taken out of current assignments and not included in future assignments.
Glenn’s latest book, Conform: Exposing the Truth About Common Core and Public Education, was released on Tuesday, and, as Glenn explained, this heinous assignment was borne from the Common Core standards.
“Common Core put this one together,” Glenn said. “You had better check your kid's 8th grade homework. It might be happening in your district. And the scary thing is, in this district, no parents complained… Nobody complained.”
“The other scary thing is,” Pat added, “if it's not this, it will be something else equally abhorrent to you and your family.”