A Washington, DC public school teacher who instructed a sixth-grade class to fill in a Venn diagram comparing former US president George W. Bush with genocidal Nazi leader Adolf Hitler, apologized Wednesday for “poor judgement and short-sightedness.”
The homework sheet distributed to the students was based on two readings — “Fighting Hitler – A Holocaust Story” and “Bush: Iraq War Justified Despite no WMD” — and was part of a “war and peace” learning unit at McKinley Middle School.
“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,” the instructions on the worksheet read.
Facing fierce backlash from parents, a statement from DC Public Schools said 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 judgement 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,” the statement said.
The school system denied that the district curriculum encouraged these sort of comparisons.
“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 statement maintained.