More Teachers Shun NEA's 9/11 Lessons; AFT Affiliates Call Plan 'inappropriate'.(PAGE ONE)

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), August 24, 2002 | Go to article overview

More Teachers Shun NEA's 9/11 Lessons; AFT Affiliates Call Plan 'inappropriate'.(PAGE ONE)


Byline: Ellen Sorokin, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

The New York and West Virginia affiliates of the American Federation of Teachers are the latest teachers' unions to reject the National Education Association's suggested September 11 lesson plan that cautions against assigning blame for the terrorist attacks.

The West Virginia Federation of Teachers (WVFT) and the New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) said yesterday they are urging their members to steer clear of the lesson plan, which said that no group is responsible for the terrorist attacks that killed more than 3,000 people.

"I find this curriculum to be highly inappropriate," said Judy Hale, WVFT's president. "This is insulting to our teachers' intelligence and patriotism. Lesson plans should be based on the facts, including what is undisputed about the terrorists who are to blame for this atrocity. The attacks on America are as historically significant as World War II or the Holocaust and should be presented to students in the same factual manner."

Dennis Tompkins, a spokesman for NYSUT, the state's largest labor union, shared Ms. Hale's sentiments.

"This was a day America was attacked, and we have to teach it as such," he said. "This will definitely change the way social studies and history will be taught."

Their comments come several days after a dispute arose over whether the lesson plan, developed by Brian Lippincott, who is affiliated with the Graduate School of Professional Psychology at the John F. Kennedy University in California, was appropriate for teachers to use when teaching schoolchildren about September 11, on its one-year anniversary.

Responding to the AFT's concerns, the NEA issued the following statement:

"The goals of our [Web] site are to show the history of the United States, to highlight American values such as tolerance, freedom and democracy, and to provide our members with information they might find useful as they prepare how to observe the September 11 anniversary in their classrooms.

"We have links to an array of sources, including the CIA, PBS, Fox News Channel, the White House, as well as the Lippincott piece. Our resource library pulls together a whole host of links for educators to review and to pick and choose which are appropriate for their individual needs.

"NEA has a long-standing friendship and an official partnership with the AFT. We work on many issues together and trust that we will continue to do that in the future. We don't see a major issue between the two organizations. …

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