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Maryland Students Required to Impersonate Dictators

Hitler

High school freshmen in Howard County, Maryland have been given an assignment to impersonate dictators like Hitler, Stalin, or Mussolini.  Stephanie Morgan, mother of one of the students involved told EAGNews.org:

“I am literally sick and outraged. … My 9th grade son comes home and tells me his next assignment in history class is to pick a dictator from the mid-20th century and take on the persona of one of these dictators and write a speech articulating and defending their goals and perspectives. The purpose of this lesson is to teach the students to understand the world through their perspective. One of the objectives was to learn the ‘strengths and weaknesses of dictators.’

“They were told by their teacher that the goal was for them to imagine that they are the dictator they research, to act like the dictator, even to assume the voice, movements, gestures, and facial expressions of the dictator. You will see that it instructs the kids to ‘remember dictators like to impress their people and fellow dictators, so make yourself sound great.’

What is perhaps more disturbing is that students were asked to leave out racially charged or religious rhetoric, which gives an, at best, incomplete look into who these dictators were.

“You will also notice that throughout the assignment, it teaches that the driving force of this evil is nationalism (patriotic pride), militarism, and expansionism but no discussion of the desire to control their people’s lives through statism (or collectivism) out of pure lust for power,” Morgan noted.

Role playing can probably be a useful tool in teaching history but is it necessary to apply it to the most extreme examples of human cruelty in the 20th century? Is it really valuable to selectively role play only certain aspects of history’s greatest monsters? Today’s political rhetoric already misrepresents these dictators by neglecting to recognize that socialism was the vehicle  for their evil actions.  Is it wise to eliminate that from history classes as well?

UPDATE:

This situation has already been resolved with the teacher through Stephanie Morgan. The lesson came straight from a text book.

This is a perfect example of why parents need to be involved and read the textbooks and worksheets that are given to students. Mrs. Morgan stated that she has been going out of her way to read her child’s textbook and has been giving him alternate perspectives on the information within as many of the lessons have been ideolgically slanted.

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