Those who don't know history are doomed to repeat Internet memes
"America's K-12 education system is uniquely ill-suited to help students make sense of complicated world events and navigate contentious issues, let alone achieve some level of moral clarity about them," writes Robert Pondiscio, an American Enterprise Institute fellow.
U.S. students don't know much about history. (I wonder how many young people chanting that "Palestine must be free from the river to the sea" could name the river and the sea.)
Advice to teachers on “how to talk to students” about traumatic events usually aims at "reassuring children that distant events do not place them physically at risk or fostering 'tolerance and empathy,' not teaching history," Pondiscio writes.
Accustomed to going online for lessons, teachers -- some of whom don't much history either -- "are a ripe target of opportunity for curriculum materials and lesson resources published by organizations that promote particular points of view," he writes.
The neglect of history as a discipline, inattention to current events, the collapse of trust in the media — and the normalization of teachers culling their classroom materials from untrustworthy sources — adds up to a kind of pedagogical perfect storm that is likely to result in students either misinformed or in the dark entirely on events that are likely to have far-reaching impact on their lives for many years.
Many teachers avoid controversial subjects. Others dive right in.
A "World Studies" teacher, described as “team leader/diversity, equity & inclusion teacher" at a Montgomery County, Maryland middle school, is promoting anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, reports Luke Rosiak on Daily Wire.
“Debunked!! No music festival attack. Babies were not burned. Women were not violated,” wrote Sabrina Khan-Williams on Facebook. “Palestinian’s [sic] are being killed and their organs are being sold,” she alleged. She shared a video claiming that Hamas tunnels exist to bring school supplies to children.
School officials say they're investigating.
Also in the county, Clarksburg High School “approved” a pro-Hamas walkout organized by the Muslim Students Association and offered excused absences to participants, in violation of school policy, writes Haley Strack in National Review. Principal Edward Owusu has resigned.
Montgomery County, which is about 10 percent Jewish, has experienced swastikas scrawled on school buildings in recent weeks, she notes.
In Los Angeles, teachers who boasted of teaching first graders that Israel is guilty of genocide were suspended by Citizens of the World Charter School, which rents classrooms at a synagogue, reports Marc Sternfield for KTLA. The principal, who asked when Adat Ari El Synagogue would take down Israeli flags, has taken a leave of absence for sensitivity training.
Senior Rabbi Brian Schuldenfrei quoted an Instagram post by one of the teachers:
"LOL but I did a lesson on the genocide in Palestine today w my first graders . . . My fav was a kid who was like ‘What if they just gave the land back to Palestine and find somewhere else to live.”
The teacher added a heart emoji, the rabbi said. "Anyone who calls for the eradication of Israel is expressing a pernicious form of antisemitism, a denial of the right of Jews to live in our ancestral homeland. The heart emoji … is perverse punctuation, dressing up hate in the guise of love.”
I give the kid credit for knowing that all the Jews would have to leave.
Melissa Kaplan, executive director of Citizens of the World, apologized, and said the school is investigating. If the teachers keep their jobs, they'll be reassigned to another campus, presumably not one that rents space from a synagogue.