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Back to Sept. Ed Reporter

Education Reporter
NUMBER 200 THE NEWSPAPER OF EDUCATION RIGHTS SEPTEMBER 2002

NEA Wants Schools to Blame America for 9/11
But teachers reject recommendations
The National Education Association's Health Information Network (NEA-HIN) website last month unveiled lesson plans for teachers to help students observe the anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks that killed some 3,000 people. The main themes were "tolerance" and "diversity." Parents and teachers were exhorted not to "suggest any group is responsible," but instead to blame America. The NEA urged teachers to talk about "the internment of Japanese after Pearl Harbor" and the alleged "backlash against Arab Americans during the Gulf War."

Teachers nationwide disregarded the NEA's propaganda, telling the Washington Times (8-20-02) that they "will develop lesson plans based on students' questions and will focus on the facts to correct any misconceptions children may have about the terrorist attacks." Both educators and psychologists warned that the worst thing teachers could do is "sugarcoat" the truth.

A spokeswoman for the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) told the Times that her union does not agree with the NEA's lesson plans and "does not support a blame-America approach in particular." The AFT, she said, "wishes to distance itself from the entire document."

Included with the material offered on the NEA-HIN website is a link to a list of recommendations for remembering 9/11 by Dr. Brian Lippincott, a professor at John F. Kennedy University in California. Lippincott warns parents and teachers against "stereotyping people or countries that might be home to the terrorists," and urges them to "address the issue of blame factually by not suggesting any group is responsible." He states that "we have no reason to believe that the attacks on our country were part of an organized plan of any other country. The terrorists acted independently without the sanctions of any nation."

Lippincott does want parents and teachers to "discuss historical instances of American intolerance," however, such as the internment of Japanese Americans. His tips include politically-correct statements such as "America is strong because of our diversity," "Violence and hate are never solutions to anger" and "We need to work for peace in our communities and around the world." He asserts: "Protecting against harassment of our Arab American classmates and neighbors is most critical right now. But the issues of tolerance and inclusion go beyond this period in our national life together. We must embrace these values towards all Americans for all time. This includes race, religions, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and those with special needs."

A link to a Public Broadcasting System (PBS) website called "America Responds," also directs teachers to "use the treatment of citizens of Japanese and German ancestry during World War II - looking specifically at media portrayals of these groups and internment camps - as historical examples of ethnic conflict during times of trial; explore the problems inherent in assigning blame to populations or nations of people." In other words, observers note, parents and schools are to use the first anniversary of the worst atrocity ever perpetrated against Americans on American soil as an opportunity to teach children to hate America.

The NEA's "Advice to Parents" suggests focusing on "appreciating and getting along with people of diverse backgrounds and cultures, the importance of anger management and global awareness." An obvious question is how we could have gotten along with the 9/11 hijackers.

The NEA advised teachers to "create a low-key day of learning, not a return to the tragedy," but, as Eagle Forum President Phyllis Schlafly noted, "schools should stick to teaching more important subjects such as math, English and science," leaving the task of remembering what happened September 11 to parents.


 
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