Godwin’s law made a surprise appearance in the District of Columbia Public Schools system when a McKinley Middle School teacher recently instructed 6th-grade students to compare George W. Bush to charismatic genocide-perpetrator Adolf Hitler.
On Wednesday afternoon, D.C. resident Matt Ashburn tweeted a photo of the homework assignment, which instructed kids to compare and contrast (based on a Scholastic text and an AP article) the former president and the fascist dictator. The teacher’s identity is being withheld by the school and DCPS.
“We will not release the teacher’s name,” Melissa Salmanowitz, press secretary for DCPS, told The Daily Beast. When asked if additional disciplinary action had been or will be taken against the teacher, Salmanowitz said that DCPS does not comment on personnel matters.
“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 assignment reads. “We will use this in class tomorrow for an activity!” The worksheet included a fun Venn diagram, which you can check out below:
Predictably, there were some people who weren’t terribly thrilled about this. One parent told NBC Washington that the Hitler-Bush comparison was at best an "obvious apples-and-oranges relation.” DCPS Chancellor Kaya Henderson tweeted an apology late Wednesday night, clarifying that, “no DCPS curriculum says to make these comparisons in any way.”
The teacher who created the worksheet admitted “extremely poor judgment,” and will apologize to the students in the class. A letter from the principal’s office will be sent home to parents explaining the incident.
The AP story used in the Hitler-Bush assignment is titled, “Bush: Iraq War Justified Despite No WMD,” which ran in October 2003. The Scholastic text, which covers the Jewish teenagers who fought the Nazis, is titled, Fighting Hitler: A Holocaust Story, and you can read it below: