Deptively Altered Primary Source Documents

Six documents reviewed by Verity Educate were purported 'primary source' documents that had been altered or edited so as to change their, meaning, and/or had been given an introduction or title which changed its meaning. Two of these documents - the Palestinian National Charter and the Hamas Covenant - are foundational documents of the Palestine Authority/ Palestinian Liberation Organization and Hamas, respectively. Students need accurate copies of these documents to understand and analyze the conflicts between Israel, the Palestine Authority, and Hamas and assess claims about disputed land.

Three of the documents are speeches introduced with manufactured titles that do not reflect their content. Introductions and commentary cite inaccurate 'facts' about the context and effects of the speeches. The fourth document is an altered synopsis of Hamas' 2006 Electoral Platform.

All six deceptively edited and/or altered documents are reviewed in the 'Primary Sources' section of the Verity Educate Report.

NPS administrators refuse to investigate the use or source of the altered documents, despite numerous requests and despite being provided several times with examples of the documents and descriptions of the alterations.

The sub-pages in this section consist of the altered versions of the Palestinian National Charter and Hamas Covenant provided to some students, and analyses of the three speeches and excerpts from the 2006 Hamas Electoral Platform described above. In the analyses (titled Speech 1 - "We Recognize Israel"; Speech 2 - "Program for Dealing with the Palestinians"; Speech 3 - "The Price of Occupation"; and "Altered 2006 Hamas Electoral Platform", respectively), text in black type is the material given to students. Text in blue type is from PENS and/or Verity Educate and describes the inaccuracies in the student materials.

The deceptively altered primary source documents provided to students indicate that educational standards in Newton high school history courses have fallen far below even a minimally acceptable level. It also illustrates why the review of class materials is so important. The current policy of "peer review" means that the only review of class material is by other teachers, who themselves may be biased or uneducated about the subject matter under review. While peer review may work well in some subjects, it is clearly not working as intended in the high school study of Middle East history and religion.

A periodic review of these materials is necessary to ensure that students use accurate and non-biased material (except where the material is used to illustrate bias) so that they will learn not only accurate facts, but how to evaluate material to determine its accuracy. That this has not occurred even after years of public controversy and the efforts of dozens of parents and other residents, in a community that prides itself on its "world class" schools and the education its students receive there, is a travesty.