A sixth-grade teacher in Washington, D.C., thought it would be just fine to have students compare President George W. Bush to the greatest monster of the 20th century, Adolf Hitler.
Complete with a Venn diagram and a set of snappy instructions, the 11-year-olds were sent home with a pretty clear plan: Show us how our 43rd president is similar to the man who sent millions of Jews to their slaughter.
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"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," began the worksheet. A parent, who is no big fan of W, thought the assignment was out of line, so they posted to Twitter and that got the ball rolling in the media.
This latest example of hatred toward the Republican Party as part of a teacher's curriculum has even drawn a condemnation from the public school district, with the teacher being called out publicly and suspended with hearing date set for further action. (ALERT: this paragraph is PARODY. Wouldn't want anyone to think this was true.)
Oh no… wait… that's wrong. The school district didn't do any of those things.
The D.C. schools spokesperson laid out a pretty tepid statement including the embarrassingly limp notification that the teacher in question "deeply regrets this mistake, and any suggestion to malign the presidency or make any comparison in this egregious way."
"Deeply regrets"? Almost as good as "mistakes were made."
I would think that parents at McKinley Middle School would like to know which teacher did this so they could have a heads-up in case their kids are in his or her classroom, but the district would not release the fine educator's name. They have also allowed the teacher to continue his or her duties without so much as a suspension or tersely worded memo.
The chancellor took swift action. She sent out an apology Tweet and assured parents that the lesson was not an official part of DCPS curricula.
No DCPS curriculum says to make these comparisons in any way. A deeply apologetic teacher used poor judgment & will apologize to students.
— Kaya Henderson (@HendersonKaya) September 11, 2014
It's difficult to see what, exactly, a teacher in D.C. has to do to get suspended. The district has already stopped using students’ test results as part of a teacher's evaluation. So even if kids get the spelling of Bush and Hitler wrong on an assignment, the teacher still keeps his gig.
The knee-jerk response from many is to only see this story as an example of the ugliest left-wing ideologies creeping into the lesson plan at the tax-payers' expense. But, let's not overlook the despicable layer of anti-Semitism at play here.
Comparing Hitler to Bush minimizes the evil that Hitler did. And to minimize the evil that Hitler did is an offense to any right-thinking human being, not to mention every person of Jewish descent.
George W. Bush was the president of the United States and reelected by a majority of American voters. His favorable ratings are still quite strong among Republicans, and even independents. In light of the current national security crisis the world now faces in Iraq at the hands of President Obama’s mis-management of the end of the Iraq war, Bush's policies are actually gaining favorability in the eyes of many Americans.
Given all of that, this teacher's despicable comparison of Bush to Adolf Hitler really ends up sending the message to students still learning about 20th century history that Adolf Hitler must not have been that bad. After all he's so similar to that guy Will Ferrell makes fun of.