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Man, that was easy!.
“Vanden Wyngaard said the exercise reflects the type of writing expected of students under the new Common Core curriculum, the tough new academic standards that require more sophisticated writing. Such assignments attempt to connect English with history and social studies.
She said she understood the academic intent of the assignment — to make an argument based only on limited information at hand. Still, she acknowledged that it was worded in a very offensive manner. She did not identify the English teacher or discuss whether the educator faced any discipline.
The students were asked to make a rhetorical argument, drawing on previous lessons in crafting an opinion.
To help with their writing, they were required to incorporate the elements of an argument identified by Aristotle, the ancient Greek philosopher. Students had to look up the definitions of "Logos" (persuasion by reasoning), "Pathos" (persuasion by emotional appeal) and "Ethos" (persuasion by the author's character) and choose one of those argument styles before writing.”
No they weren’t.
They were told they “had no choice” and that they “must argue that Jews are evil”
An argument based only on “limited information at hand” results in a limited argument---in fact less of an “argument” than an ignorant opinion, and there’s nothing to be learned in “crafting an opinion” based on limited information other than that an opinion based on “limited information” can be very dangerous, deadly and colossally consequential when that ignorant opinion is crafted to negatively define a part of humanity for the express purpose of making that part of humanity the embodiment of evil, especially when such opinions are given the imprimatur of otherwise accepted authority.
The students couldn’t honestly argue by Logos or Ethos, but only by Pathos based not on co-operative common emotions but on emotions of division prompted by extremely limited (and distorted/fictional) information, and coercion—not just in the context of the assignment as-per 1930s’ Germany (‘you must toe the party line on Jews or face death’) but in the context of their assignment grades in 2012 USA (“you must argue that Jews are evil…to convince me of your loyalty.”)
Quite apart from the assignment being “worded in a very offensive manner”, it is also offensive that a teacher supposedly trying to conform to “tougher standards that require more sophisticated writing” clearly couldn’t meet the “sophisticated writing” requirement that was supposedly to be tested, in her writing of this assignment.
In addition, given that the assignment as written, intrinsically excludes the use of Logos and Ethos, this teacher also failed in the supposed intent of the course, not just the supposed intent of the assignment.
Kudos to the students who refused the assignment. Critical thinking indeed
I’d reserve judgment on the statements of the Principal, who needs to tread carefully at this early stage of the game.
As for the teacher—at best she’s demonstrated impressive incompetence.
Clearly the object of the assignment was to recognize and understand the pernicious consequences of “loyalty”, especially to an authoritarian figure or regime, (as represented by Nazi Germany) and thus learn to be circumspect about declarations and/or demands of loyalty.
"Please remember your life (here in Nazi Germany in the 30′s) may depend upon it!"
Okay... also the other objects of the assignment were probably...
a) To recognize and understand the systemic coercion of individuals that empowered Nazi Germany (and the consequences), which the Nazis deemed necessary because they couldn’t otherwise convince the general population of the sense and morality of their socio-political outlook—in other-words, to recognize propaganda as propaganda and not as legitimate argument, just because it carries the imprimatur of authority.
b) To appreciate the conflicts that can arise between self-preservation and communal preservation, between principle and practice.
c) To consider that context is relevant to a person’s words and actions (or inactions) before passing judgment.
“You do not have a choice in your position “
Ah! Okay, so ALSO also as well and furthermore....
The object of the assignment is that self-preservation is the primary function of a human being, and that no human being will or should sacrifice themselves for a common good or a common moral imperative.
"— you must argue that Jews are evil, and use solid rationale from government propaganda to convince me of your loyalty to the Third Reich!”
Hey wait a minute!
Solid rationale? Propaganda by definition does NOT exhibit a “solid rationale” but instead is a promotion of self-referenced lies and imaginings used to achieve an end that would actually be impossible if it otherwise depended on “solid rationale”.
Continued in 'Reply'...
A) Too close to March Madness? All those coordinated athletes, seems a bit insensitive by proximity.
Ted Cruz is being sensitive.
B) It's March 18 already. MS Awareness month is already over!!
Ted Cruz is being efficient and doing the people's work!
C) If there's no definitive symptom (like say, a third nose?) what's to be aware of? Wouldn't it make more sense to let the invisible hand of the market decide who has MS, and when?
Ted Cruz is is ready to reach across the aisle and make a Grand Bargain with people's lives--he's a statesman!
UPDATE: I apologize for my  vice president  to our readers.
It's journalamism people! look it up!
Also probs solar-powered = Solyndr-Obamfascunism-ism and such.
So basically, it's the the plot of "The Two Towers" only in Middle America.
Well it's about time this country developed a few epic myths it can call its own.
---sorry, I mean, "Englishmuffins"
It's funny how racists really HATE being called racists.
It's also comforting to me that they find it so irksome.