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PSAL Sports Season Delayed Indefinitely, New York City Says

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The Department of Education in New York City released its plans for the 2020-21 academic school year and it does not include sports.

What We Know:

  • The Public Schools Athletic League (PSAL), which coordinates interscholastic competition for all New York City Public High Schools, announced August 6th that fall sports will have an indefinite delay to their seasons.
  • In a letter sent to parents and students, the PSAL relayed, “We recognize the importance of sports to our scholar-athletes along with the PSAL community and are working diligently to provide athletics in accordance with all health and safety policies. While we are anxious to reconvene PSAL activities, the health and safety of our athletes is our top priority and sports programming will not return until it is safe to do so.”
  • In regards to when exactly the fall sports seasons will start, PSAL pledges they “will continue to monitor all available information from [their] various governing bodies and associated health experts to determine an appropriate date to resume PSAL activities”.
  • The state’s Health Department guidances do not allow for interscholastic sports due to the current pandemic. In PSAL’s official press release, they noted, “Per CDC guidelines, the associated risk of any sports activity is increased when athletes engage in competitive play across different geographic areas. Therefore, when PSAL activities are permitted to resume, they will be restricted to practice and conditioning until further notice.”
  • PSAL is the second of New York’s four athletic associations to announce delays to sports seasons. Recently, the New York State Public High School Athletic Association made the decision to delay all sports until September 21st, as well as cancel all Fall Championships.

Although Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on the 7th that New York City schools will be allowed to return to in-person instruction, the decision on interscholastic sports is still up in the air.

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Education

Barack Obama Memoir to be Released November 17

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The former president announced Thursday that he will be releasing the first volume of his long-awaited memoir two weeks after the election, the Chicago Tribune reported.

What We Know:

  • Obama’s book will be titled A Promised Land and will cover his rise to the White House as well as his first term. The 768-page book is the first of the president’s memoirs. Though the second book has not yet been announced, it is expected that more will follow.

  • “I’ve spent the last few years reflecting on my presidency, and in ‘A Promised Land’ I’ve tried to provide an honest accounting of my presidential campaign and my time in office: the key events and people who shaped it; my take on what I got right and the mistakes I made; and the political, economic, and cultural forces that my team and I had to confront then — and that as a nation we are grappling with still,” an Obama statement read.
  • He added that the book details some of his own feelings about the times we are living in today and how we can work to get back on the right track. The work is expected to do incredibly well with sales, already announcing its printing of 3 million copies. James Daunt, CEO of Barnes & Noble, believes the book has the potential to compete with Harry Potter. “This will be a book of rare consequence. That it will sell as no other book has done since July 21, 2007 is immensely cheering to booksellers,” he stated.
  • A Promised Land is not the first book from President Obama, who has been referred to as the best literary president since Abraham Lincoln. He also authored Dreams from My Father and The Audacity of Hope before his race for the White House in 2008.

The memoir’s release date was set for November 17th so as to not overshadow the importance of this year’s election.

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Survey Finds “Shocking” Lack of Holocaust Knowledge Among Millennials, Gen Z

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A nationwide survey released on Wednesday showed a “worrying lack of basic Holocaust knowledge” among adults under 40, including over 1 in 10 respondents who did not recall ever having heard the word “Holocaust” before.

What We Know:

  • The U.S. Millennial Holocaust Knowledge and Awareness Survey, touted as the first-ever 50-state survey on Holocaust knowledge among Millennials and Generation Z, showed that many of the respondents were unclear about the basic facts of the genocide. 63% of respondents did not know that 6 million Jews were murdered in the Holocaust, with over half of those thinking the death toll was fewer than 2 million. During World War II, over 40,000 concentration camps and ghettos were established but almost 50% of those surveyed could not name a single one.

“The most important lesson is that we can’t lose any more time,” said Greg Schneider, executive vice president of the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, which commissioned the study. “If we let these trends continue for another generation, the crucial lessons from this terrible part of history could be lost.”

  • The Holocaust was the state-sponsored mass persecution and murder of millions of people under the Nazi regime, led by Adolf Hitler. The genocide campaign targeted those who Hitler, and therefore the government, believed to be “biologically inferior”. These were rooted in ideas of homophobia and anti-Semitism as well as targeting those with disabilities. Through the use of concentration camps, gas chambers, firing squads, and other methods, the Nazi regime targeted the Jewish people in particular, killing nearly 2 of every 3 European Jews by 1945.
  • The survey’s data came from 11,000 interviews that were conducted across the country by either phone and online with a random, demographically representative sample of respondents ages 18 to 39. The data collection was led by a task force that included Holocaust survivors, museum historians and experts, nonprofits, and educational institutions. The Claims Conference, a nonprofit that works to secure material compensation for Holocaust survivors and commissioned the survey, said the lack of Holocaust knowledge demonstrated in the study is “shocking” and “saddening”.
  • Besides raising concerns about Holocaust ignorance, the study also raised concerns about Holocaust denial. Only 90% of those surveyed believed the Holocaust happened with 7% saying they were not sure and 3% denying that it happened. In one of the more shocking revelation from the survey, is 11% of respondents believe Jews caused the Holocaust. In New York, the state with the largest Jewish population, that number rises to 19%.
  • “There is no doubt that Holocaust denial is a form of anti-Semitism,” said Deborah Lipstadt, a professor of modern Jewish history and Holocaust studies at Emory University in Atlanta. “And when we fail to actively remember the facts of what happened, we risk a situation where prejudice and anti-Semitism will encroach on those facts.”
  • Experts believe some of the problems may be connected to social media. According to the survey, half of the respondents have come across Holocaust denial or distortion posts online. Additionally, 56% of those surveyed reported having seen Nazi symbols, like the swastika, on social media or in their communities within the past five years.
  • The majority of adults who took the survey said they believe something like the Holocaust could happen again, an alarming revelation as some worry the decades-old rallying cry to “never forget” is being forgotten with few Holocaust survivors still alive to share the lessons of the Holocaust. “When you learn the history of the Holocaust, you are not simply learning about the past,” Lipstadt said. “These lessons remain relevant today in order to understand not only anti-Semitism but also all the other ‘isms’ of society. There is real danger to letting them fade.”
  • Although many respondents shared that they first learned about the Holocaust in school, the survey suggests that education might be incomplete as not everyone could associate it with World War II. 22% associated it with World War I, 10% were not sure, 5% connected it with the Civil War, and still, 3% connected it with the Vietnam war.
  • The survey also split up the data by state, ranking states on their Holocaust knowledge based on average scores throughout the survey. Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Massachusetts, states that do not require Holocaust education, ranked the highest in Holocaust knowledge. Contrastly, respondents in New York, Indiana, and California, where Holocaust education is required, were most likely to believe the Holocaust is a myth or has been exaggerated, with rates higher than 20 percent of the surveyed population.

80% of respondents agree that it is important to learn about the Holocaust partly so it never happens again and educators are working on ways to improve Holocaust education across the country. “We’ve seen it time and time again,” Schneider said. “Education is the best way to prevent ignorance and to prevent hate.

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Outrage After Dallas School Assignment Lists Kyle Rittenhouse as a Hero

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W.T. White High School in Dallas, Texas faces serious backlash following an assignment that prompted students to write about various heroes from a list including Gandhi, Malcolm X, and Kyle Rittenhouse.

What We Know:

  • The 17-year-old accused of killing two people in Kenosha, Kyle Rittenhouse, was included on a list for an assignment labeled “Hero for the Modern Age”. The English assignment asked students to write a half-page biography of each name listed. The list included Mahatma Gandhi, César Chávez, Malcolm X, George Floyd, Kyle Rittenhouse, and Joseph D. Rosenbaum.
  • The English teacher that created the assignment remains unidentified due to personnel reasons. However, the school district, Dallas ISD, released a statement saying, “Racial equity is a top priority in Dallas ISD, and we remain committed to providing a robust teaching environment where all students can learn,” DISD officials said in a written statement. “It is important that we continue to be culturally sensitive to our diverse populations and provide a space of respect and value.”

“From the spelling, to the grammar, no women on the list… and then a white supremacist murderer.”

Kristian (Anonymous student)

  • W.T. White High School officials have announced that the students will not be asked to complete the assignment. Campus administration immediately removed the assignment that was posted on Google Classroom and an investigation of the situation is pending.

Parents, students, and social media remain outraged by the assignment’s blatant lack of empathy following the wrongful deaths in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

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