EAG: ALBANY, N.Y. – New York Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia is fending off calls for her resignation over recent comments she made about a controversial assignment that tasked students with arguing for the “Final Solution,” Nazi Germany’s plan to exterminate Jews.
The assignment was given to students as part of an Oswego County CiTi/BOCES New Vision program earlier this year, and Elia responded to a reporter’s question about her views on the approach during a round-table discussion at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo late last month, Syracuse.com reports.
“I think it’s certainly a question where you want students to think on both sides and analyze … which position a person is taking,” the education commissioner said. “That idea of being able to identify the perspective an article has or a writer has is a very important skill.”
The former Buffalo social studies teacher said context for the assignment, such as the age of students, other materials provided, and how the lesson was presented, “would influence the appropriateness or not.” read more