DCPS Students Asked to Compare George W. Bush to Hitler

Posted: Sep 11, 2014 10:40 AM

Sixth grade students at McKinley Middle School had a rather unusual homework assignment this week: they had to fill in a Venn diagram comparing former President George W. Bush to Adolf Hitler.

D.C. Public Schools quickly issued a statement condemning the assignment, saying that there is no curriculum material suggesting that teachers compare Adolf Hitler to anybody. Additionally, the text about President Bush was not in the curriculum at all.

“The District of Columbia Public Schools provides teachers with an English-Language Arts curriculum that outlines the topics, texts, and standards to be taught within instructional units, while allowing teachers the flexibility to decide the best approach and day-to-day lessons for their students. One of the units at the beginning of the year is about War and Peace, allowing students to explore different perspectives and determine when conflict is warranted, and when peace should prevail. This week, a DCPS teacher created a worksheet to assign as homework which asked students to compare and contrast President George W. Bush and Adolf Hitler, after reading two texts. No DCPS curriculum materials suggest in any way that teachers should compare the texts in this manner or compare Hitler to any other individual. One text, “Fighting Hitler – A Holocaust Story" is part of the current suggested materials. The text about President Bush is not suggested as part of the current year’s curriculum, but was included last year in a separate unit. The teacher deeply regrets this mistake, and any suggestion to malign the presidency or make any comparison in this egregious way.

“The teacher admits to extremely poor judgment and short sightedness and will apologize to students. The school will also send a letter home to families explaining the incident and offering to address any additional questions should they arise.”

I am certainly glad the teacher was called out for this horrifically inappropriate assignment. It is absolutely absurd that these students were being taught that the dictator whose policies killed 11 million people has anything in common with President Bush, and it is equally as absurd that the teacher thought this was an appropriate assignment. Kudos to the D.C. Public Schools for their swift response and condemnation.