“Holocaust is a propaganda tool so Israel can make money for Jews.” That’s what one 8th grader in California’s Rialto school district wrote for his “critical thinking” exercise.
“A profitable hoax made by the Jews to obtain land, money and power” is how another eight grader describes the holocaust.
School district administration actually assigned holocaust denial reading materials as a part of the preparation for this assignment.
from Los Angeles Daily News (emphasis mine):
Dozens of Rialto eighth-graders questioned whether the Holocaust occurred in essays written for an in-class assignment this spring.
Rialto Unified School District administrators, besieged by criticism after the assignment became public in May, claimed at the time that none of the students who completed the assignment questioned or denied the Holocaust, but a survey of the students’ work by this news organization found numerous examples of students expressing doubt or flatly denying that the Holocaust occurred.
“I believe the event was fake, according to source 2 the event was exhaggerated,” one student wrote. (Students’ and teachers’ original spelling and grammar are retained throughout this story.) “I felt that was strong enogh evidence to persuade me the event was a hoax.”
In some cases, students earned high marks and praise for arguing the Holocaust never occurred, with teachers praising their well-reasoned arguments:
“you did well using the evidence to support your claim,” the above student’s teacher wrote on his assignment.
The complete archive of the essays was provided to the Los Angeles News Group in the form of 45 PDF files, some of which contain hundreds of pages of student assignments. An examination of the essays by newsroom staff found that at least 50 essays denied or doubted the Holocaust occurred. Even many students who agreed the Holocaust occurred said there were good reasons to believe it had not or that elements of the historical record were actually hoaxes.
The argument-style writing assignment was developed by district English Language Arts teachers and was coordinated by staff at the district headquarters level.
California adopted the federal Common Core standards in August 2010. ”Critical thinking” exercises like these are a primary component of the centralized public school program that passed as a part of Obama’s stimulus package.