kitchen table math, the sequel: The tragedy of histogeomegraph continues

Saturday, April 13, 2013

The tragedy of histogeomegraph continues

In the news today: another botched attempt at interdisciplinarity in our public schools:
ALBANY — High school is full of hypotheticals, like “How does one solve for x?” and “What happens if I skip class?” But this week, students at Albany High School were given an alarming thought puzzle: How do I convince my teacher that I think Jews are evil?


“Your essay must be five paragraphs long, with an introduction, three body paragraphs containing your strongest arguments, and a conclusion,” the assignment read. “You do not have a choice in your position: you must argue that Jews are evil, and use solid rationale from government propaganda to convince me of your loyalty to the Third Reich!”


Dr. Vanden Wyngaard, who met with Jewish leaders in Albany and made a public apology on Friday, said the assignment was apparently an attempt to link the English class with a history lesson on the Holocaust. The assignment itself seems to back up that theory, telling students to use “what you’ve learned in history class.” It also suggests using “any experiences you have.”

It echoed another recent, controversial assignment in Manhattan, where an elementary school class was given math problems featuring the whipping and killing of slaves, according to The Associated Press. That assignment was an effort to combine math and social studies lessons.

Students Told to Take Viewpoint of the Nazis
Published: April 12, 2013
I always thought the problem with teaching all subjects as one was that the results would be superficial and pointless. Like histogeomegraph.

It's always worse than you think.


Auntie Ann said...

This assignment would have been unobjectionable if, instead of structuring it as taking one side in a debate, it had been structured as a simple history paper displaying knowledge of Nazi arguments and propaganda. Do students get assigned straight-up papers anymore? Or are they all transmuted into first-person narratives or "pretend you are a Nazi propagandist..." role playing.

lgm said...

There are no reports in high school. All papers have a thesis. My sons' propaganda assignment was a poster project.