Middle East studies in the News
PBS Teaching Students to Sympathize With Suicide Bombers
by Andrew McNealy
An investigation on "Dying to be a Martyr," a lesson plan by PBS, indicated that the plan was in fact developed in New York state and had continued to be promoted for many years. It was indicated that the show was heavily promoted by the New York State Education Department on its very own website.
The lesson was also featured on Thirteen.org, a website that belongs to WNET-TV network, the PBS affiliate for New York City and immediate areas surrounding the city.
The controversy surrounding the Public Broadcasting Service that has been featuring a lesson plan that encourages students to be more sympathetic towards Islamic terrorists in Palestine has brought forward many interesting facts. The lesson plan was made available decades ago and is titled, "Dying to be a Martyr." The program features video interviews with Islamic terrorists who go on to tell the viewer why their attacks on Israelis are justified. It is noted, there are no instructions in the lesson plan for teachers to denounce these views and the program contains no videos that feature showing the Israeli response.
The lesson plan contains instructions for teachers to "Check for understanding by asking students to respond to the focus question. (Mohanned, feels he would rather die and be a martyr than live his life, sees his life as hollow—in contrast he sees Israelis as happy, going out, having fun, traveling.) Ask your students why Mohanned may feel that way (Answers may include: Palestinians have less land, fewer privileges, cannot come and go as they please.)"
An investigation into the lesson plan shows that the plan was developed in New York State and was (until a couple of weeks ago) actively promoted by the New York State Education Department.
The investigation has also revealed that the teacher who authored "Dying to be a Martyr" is still teaching at Ballston Spa High School, a public school in Ballston Spa, New York. The teacher leads courses covering world history for 9th and 10th graders. A review of her classroom notes posted on the teacher's website show that she covers the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in great deal in her course.
The questions surrounding the agenda behind "Dying to be a Martyr," continue to remain unanswered as sources still try to approach New York State Department of Education and Ballston Spa High School.Note: Articles listed under "Middle East studies in the News" provide information on current developments concerning Middle East studies on North American campuses. These reports do not necessarily reflect the views of Campus Watch and do not necessarily correspond to Campus Watch's critique.
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