The Spectacle Blog

What They Teach About 9/11

By on 9.9.11 | 4:58PM

I read Michelle Malkin's piece about how the events of September 11, 2001 are taught in school and it is not very encouraging:

A decade after the 9/11 attacks, Blame America-ism still permeates classrooms and the culture. A special 9/11 curriculum distributed in New Jersey schools advises teachers to "avoid graphic details or dramatizing the destruction" wrought by the 9/11 hijackers, and instead foucs elementary school students' attention on broadly defined "intolerance" and "hurtful words."

No surprise: Jihadist utterances such as "Kill the Jews," "Allahu Akbar" and "Behead all those who insult Islam" are not among the "hurtful words" studied.

Well, lo and behold, consider this article by Thomas Page McBee in The Boston Phoenix titled "Teaching 9/11." McBee interviewed Chris Ougheltree, a high school social studies teacher in Rhode Island. This following passage makes Malkin's point all to well:

Ougheltree decided to interpret the teaching standards in such a way that he could rearrange his classes to focus on 9/11 for "a few weeks" as a lens in which to teach civics and good citizenship, critical thought, and compassion. He encourages the students to connect emotionally to the events of those days, and to question the implications 9/11 has had for US foreign policy, Guantanamo, and Abu Ghraib. He says that, this year, he wants to discuss the way people celebrated bin Laden's death. "What we want to teach kids in a social studies class is to think for themselves," he says.

It's all well and good for Mr. Ougheltree to talk about the "celebration" of bin Laden's death. But if that is the route he wants to go then he ought to contrast the reaction to bin Laden's death with that of Palestinians in the West Bank who on September 11, 2001 responded by dancing in the streets and handing out candy.

For my take on where we are ten years after the September 11th attacks, including my thoughts on our response to the death of Osama bin Laden, please check out my latest article which went up on the main site this morning.

UPDATE: A few days ago, I was interviewed by The Jamaica Plain Gazette (along with several other residents of JP) for my thoughts on the tenth anniversary of 9/11. I am described as being "likely JP's only high-profile conservative political commentator." You can find the article here.

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