Phyllis Schlafly claims that an assignment in an Illinois high school’s sociology class and a Oregon health class assignment dating back to 1984 are signs that the public education system is trying to “prepare us to accept death panels from Obamacare.”
St. Joseph-Ogden High School, a public school in St. Joseph, Ill., gave its sophomore class an assignment to choose which of 10 people were “worthy” of getting kidney dialysis when the hospital had only six machines. The assignment instructed the students, “four people are not going to live. You must decide from the information below which six will survive.”
The students were given the list of the 10 who desperately needed kidney dialysis with identification about their occupation, age and ethnicity, and told to give each a score. The instructions stated: “Put the people in order using 1-10, 1 being the person you want to save first and 10 being the person you would save last,” with the assumption that those getting scores 7 through 10 would be marked for death.
Since when are high-school students allowed to judge who may live and who must die? Is this to prepare us to accept death panels from Obamacare?
Unfortunately, such public school class assignments are not new. A Department of Education hearing in Seattle on March 13, 1984, heard a parent describe the Health class at Clackamas High School in Oregon.
Students were presented with the “lifeboat situation”: Too many people are in the sinking lifeboat, and the students were ordered to choose whose lives are not worth saving and should be thrown overboard so the lifeboat won’t sink. Variations of the lifeboat situation have been widely used in public schools for many years.
The principal at the high school responded to a reporter from the conservative ChampionNews.net and explained that the assignment in question was meant to educate students on “social value biases” and “how people in our society unfortunately create biases based off of professions, race, gender, etc.”
The assignment you are referring to is not a “Death Panel” assignment. The assignment is one in the sociology unit of our Introduction To Social Studies class. The purpose of the assignment is to educate students about social values and how people in our society unfortunately create biases based off of professions, race, gender, etc. The teacher’s goal is to educate students in the fact that these social value biases exist, and that hopefully students will see things from a different perspective after the activity is completed. The teacher’s purpose in the element of the assignment you are referring to is to get students emotionally involved to participate in the classroom discussion, and to open their minds to the fact that they themselves have their own social biases. The assignment has nothing to do with a “Death Panel.”
We encourage parents to contact their son/daughter’s teachers if they have any concerns about an assignment in the classroom. That line of communication typically clears up any potential misunderstanding.