A school district in Illinois has withdrawn a teacher workshop course titled “Teaching Palestine” after backlash from educators and members of the community.
Early last week, the Niles Township High School District 219 had informed teachers of outside-the-district “training opportunities” focused on “racial equality and social justice,” according to the Jewish News Syndicate. The course description for “Teaching Palestine” states the lesson “brings together critical educators who want to teach about Palestine and the Palestine liberation struggle.”
Beware of anything these days which includes the term “critical.”
Objectives included developing “a deeper understanding of the history and current political context of the Israeli occupation of Palestine and the Palestine liberation struggle,” examining and analyzing “existing curriculum on Palestine, the Palestinian liberation struggle and Israel.”
Goals also included discussing “concrete strategies for how to respond to Zionist professional developments and curricula or when parents/staff/others object to anti-Zionist curriculum,” developing grade appropriate scope and sequence for teaching Palestine” and making “curriculum connections between Palestine and issues affecting our students, such as: state/police violence, the struggle for racial justice in the U.S., settler colonialism in Palestine and the U.S., access to education for historically marginalized youth.”
The district said in a statement that after criticism from the community about the “one-sided nature” of the class, it “retract[ed] the course” from its list of offerings:
“We recognize that without multiple perspectives surrounding this topic, we created a sense of exclusion by including this offering. We should have noted this before including the course and apologize for this mistake.”
Ironically, Niles Township includes the town of Skokie, center of the classic Nazi free speech case.
Officials at the Simon Wiesenthal Center said it will offer the district lesson materials so teachers (and students) can “better understand the complexities” of the (mid-east) region.
IMAGE: Chameleons Eye / Shutterstock.com