AP Courses, Baltimore Public Schools, Dual Credit Classes, logical fallacy, Nazis, political indoctrination, President Trump, representative republic, Soviet Union, The College Board, The Constitution
I have, upon occasion, reported on public schools engaging in outrageously inappropriate anti-Trump, anti-America—partisanship. Usually, the schools involved do little or nothing to the teacher/political activists because those schools are situated in blue states, places where teachers know that sort of malpractice will not only be allowed, but lauded. Less often, the teachers involved are reminded of their professional responsibilities, even reprimanded. Matt Margolis at PJ Media reports on yet—yawn—another:
A public high school in Towson, Maryland is being criticized by Republican lawmakers in the state because of a history lesson that compares President Trump with Nazis and communists.
According to a report from The Baltimore Sun, a slide used in a presentation in an Advanced Placement history lesson at Loch Raven High School shows a picture of Trump, with the caption ‘Wants to round up a group of people and build a giant wall.’ Underneath that is swastika with the caption ‘been there’ and the communist hammer and sickle symbol with the caption ‘Done that.’
Another caption reads ‘Oh, that is why it sounds so familiar.’
The teacher involved certainly deserves no points for originality. Calling Mr. Trump a Nazi is common, contemporary intellectual laziness.
Maryland Delegate Kathy Szeliga posted a photo of the slide on Facebook, and had copies of the slide distributed to fellow Baltimore County members of the House of Delegates.
‘This propaganda was used in an AP history class at Loch Raven High,’ Szeliga said. ‘Educational malfeasance of the highest degree.’
Surely the Baltimore Public Schools would take this seriously? Here’s what they had to say about it:
The slide was used as part of a lesson in an AP History course. The topics being discussed included World Wars and the attempts by some leaders to limit, or prevent migration, into certain countries. In isolation and out of context with the lesson, the image could be misunderstood. In our Advanced Placement (AP) classes, which are college level courses, we expect and encourage analysis and discussion around historical and current events even if they are considered controversial. This lesson was not intended to make a political statement. If a student has concerns when discussing a controversial issue, schools have the tools to address the concern and support the student.
Of course, in Baltimore, school officials would not see that sort of thing as controversial at all.
The curriculum and lessons for AP courses are written by individual teachers. The school system sent out a new statement of Friday, declaring that the issue is a personnel matter now, and ‘will be appropriately addressed by the school administration and is not subject to further clarification.’
‘Is this a coverup???’ asked Del. Szeliga on Facebook.
In other words, “’shut up,’ they explained.” Of course it’s a coverup. While confidentiality in personnel matters is necessary, it’s also a convenient way for corrupt school officials to hide their mischief. One suspects the worst that will happen to the teacher involved is they’ll be told to be more stealthy in their efforts at political indoctrination.
In this case, suggesting anyone disagreeing with the characterization of Mr. Trump as a Nazi or Communist is taking the slide out of context is a common D/S/C dodge. Every action Mr. Trump has taken to enforce American immigration laws is very different than anything done by the Nazis or Soviets. Those systems were totalitarian. All policy was set by the dictators; the people had no input. American immigration law is written by the elected representatives of the people, and it is the constitutional duty of the President—any president—to see the law is faithfully enforced.
“Rounding up” people breaking the law is precisely what the Constitution and the law demand of the head of the executive branch, and building a wall is necessary to enforce the law as well. Suggesting this is merely a “controversial” issue, the discussion of which is what schools are supposed to be doing in advanced placement classes, is also misleading at best.
AP classes are something of a fraud. They are ostensibly established to meet the greater intellectual needs of advanced students. In some schools, this is the primary focus. However, they are also part of a bureaucratic/financial infrastructure that benefits primarily the College Board, the same people that produce the SAT. Schools are often graded on how many kids take AP tests, and how well they score, therefore AP classes are all too often focused on drill designed to get those test scores, not for the benefit of the kids, but for the benefit of The College Board and of educrats.
Generally, dual credit classes are of greater benefit to kids. Done in cooperation with local colleges, they are not test focused. They are college level classes, but if a student passes, they not only earn high school, but college credit, guaranteed. I have known students who graduated high school and entered college as Juniors, so serious were they about taking dual credit courses during high school. A student passing a high school AP course earns only high school credit. Even if they pass an AP test, there is no guarantee the college of their choice will accept that score for credit, allowing them to avoid taking the parallel college course.
The problem in this case is not that the slide was “controversial, rather, the problem is the slide was not educational, but blatantly political. Worse, the comparisons it was drawing were not only historically inaccurate, but false.
All teachers have a professional and moral obligation to present only factual information, and the most correct curriculum in their discipline. It’s common to introduce genuinely controversial issues in history, politics even literature, but again, teachers have the obligation to honestly, accurately and fairly represent the involved arguments, not take sides. This slide was a representation of partisan hatred, not fact. It illuminates nothing of the current immigration issue; it merely calls President Trump a Nazi and a Communist, two opposed ideologies. This takes no scholarship, merely Trump Derangement Syndrome inspired mindless, partisan hatred. If the teacher used this slide to point out that it made a false equivalency between Mr. Trump’s lawful actions in enforcing democratically made immigration law and the actions of totalitarian dictators—in essence, a logical fallacy—it would be acceptable. Presented as it apparently was, no.
The wall analogy is particularly misleading. The Nazis used walls only to enslave and torture. Communists used walls—the Berlin Wall being the most obvious example—to keep their citizens from fleeing to freedom. The border wall is being used to stop illegal immigration, drug running, human trafficking and to enforce immigration law. Those that oppose the wall do not do so because it is ineffective and wasteful, but because it is effective. It has nothing to do with legal immigration, as American citizens may leave the country at will, and foreign nationals, so long as they obey our immigration laws, may enter.
Likening the President of the United States, the lawfully elected president of a representative republic that, at great cost in blood and treasure, defeated both the Nazis and the evil Soviet Empire, to those totalitarian states that murdered millions is not only false, but reprehensible. AP students are advanced in comparison to their peers, but they are still susceptible to suggestion, and generally lack the knowledge and experience to know when a teacher is indoctrinating rather than teaching them. Even smart kids are impressionable.
Does such a teacher deserve to be fired? That would depend on their record. This sort of thing in isolation would not normally be a firing offense. However, if the teacher demonstrated, over time, their desire to be a political operative rather than an educator, any professional, competent school district has an obligation to ensure they have that opportunity by freeing them from their teaching contract to pursue what they obviously see as a higher calling.