The school committee and superintendent of Newton, Massachusetts are in for a tough week as a report on the Middle East Curricula in Newton’s Public Schools is scheduled to be released and the results are frightening. The report, conducted by Verity Educate, found "Some educational materials were found to be without error, but others were replete with factual inaccuracies and sometimes blatant biases."
“There has been a demonstrated lack of subject matter expertise in the creation and oversight of these Middle East curricula, and the vast majority of materials used do not originate from authoritative sources or are so altered as to have lost their authority,” according to Verity Educate.
The report was requested by parents and community members after the organization Americans for Peace and Tolerance uncovered a troubling trend of anti-Israel material in the school system.
According to the Executive Summary of the Florida based non-profit organization Verity Educate, the findings ranged from plagiarism to anti-Semitic hate texts including “Material taken directly from a hate-filled, religious, proselytizing website” which “also prophesies about an Armageddon when all Jews will be murdered and the rest of the world will convert to Sunni Islam.”
The website, www.Islamicweb.com, “espouses virulent hatred and dismissed Shi’a Islam, Christianity and Judaism,” according to a press release from Verity Educate. “Multiple handouts are taken from books and articles with no citation or attribution,” wrote Ellen R. Wald, Ph.D., the Executive Director of Verity Educate. “In some cases, the lifted text has been transcribed, reformatted, and changed to conceal plagiarism and deceptive editing.”
An advanced copy of the report provided to TruthRevolt shows that a page in the Newton, MA school system devoted to “Islamic History: The Umayyads, Isalmic Spain and The Coming of The West” contains three sections which were not only unattributed but originated from www.Islamicweb.com. As noted by Verity Educate, “The lack of citation or attribution raises issues of academic dishonesty and present a poor example for students. It also prevents students and parents from understanding the hate-filled source of this material.”
One section on www.Islamicweb.com says, “the Anticrist (sic) will appear (sic) and a greater war will start between Jews and Muslims for 40 days (longer that (sic) usual days) and will end when Jesus (pbuh) will come and Muslims will kill all Jews. All people will convert into Islam. Peace will pervade the whole world.”
Verity Educate highlights 35 misleading claims that the Newton Public Schools took from www.Islamicweb.com which included an equation of Zionism with European colonialism and a mischaracterization of Jewish history, and a demonization of Jews.
“It is important that we do not lose focus of the fact that the curricular material is also regularly wrong, or inaccurate,” explained Dr. Wald. “Inaccuracies range from misidentifying the entire Middle East as a region that stretches to Southeast Asia, to mistakes of dates and names, to more insidious errors like identifying Hamas as a political group. It is a designated terrorist organization. ”
Verity Educate also noted some “Assignments that prejudice students in favor of the radical position of a one-state scenario in Israel/the West Bank/Gaza” and “A neo-Orientalist mistreatment of various Arab perspectives, particularly the infantilization of Arab peoples and countries in the twentieth century and elevation of the perspectives of the PLO and Hamas at the expense of the perspectives of Palestinian individuals.”
The Newton School Committee and the Superintendent have failed to respond to Verity Educate on three occasions. A full copy of the report can be requested at www.verityeducate.org/newton.