Thursday, November 11, 2004

"Blame America 101"

(Hat tip: Joanne Jacobs)

Dickinson College in Carlisle, PA, together with the Smithsonian Institution, sponsored a contest among educators to create a curriculum on the subject of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Four winners were chosen--one for each level of education: elementary, middle school, high school, and college level. If these winning curricula were to be implemented nationwide, students in our public schools will learn that the 9/11 terrorist attacks were caused chiefly by the United States of America.

Call it Blame America 101. Outspoken leftist activist and fifth grade teacher Bob Peterson, whose plan to teach 9-11 at elementary schools was selected as one of the four winning entries, urges students to consider the attacks “in the broader context of global injustice.” To wrap their young minds around terrorism, Peterson contends, they must first untangle the “tough questions,” such as, “Why do they hate us?” Another winner, Iowa middle school teacher Tracy Paxton, recommends a vocabulary lesson. Among the words she believes shed light on the nature of terrorism are, “Al Qaeda,” “Saddam Hussein,” “stereotype,” “Taliban,” and, ominously, “Right wing.”

Equally politicized is the lesson plan of Oregon high school teacher Masato Ogawa. A proponent of “multicultural” studies, Ogawa’s lesson teaches students about the legislation prompted by September 11, the Patriot Act. Far from a dispassionate discussion of legal issues, Ogawa’s lesson exhorts teachers to present the Patriot Act against the backdrop of the Japanese internment during World War II. Finally, there is David Mednicoff. To teach his winning course, “Explaining Terror: The U.S. and the Middle East,” the University of Massachusetts professor, a strident critic of U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East who has accused Israel of backing the Iraq war in order to ethnically cleanse Palestinian Arabs, relies on a book by Fawaz Gergez. Gerges, it may be remembered, is the prominent Middle East studies professor who, prior to 9-11, downplayed the danger of militant Islam and assailed the U.S. government for “inflating” the importance of Osama bin Laden.

Read it all.


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