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Not Everyone Hates AIG

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Here’s an interesting class project: Rebecca Chapman’s 4th grade students in Texas recently sent letters of support that brought tears to the eyes of AIG employees in Connecticut and London, according to The Washington Post. Yup, the same AIG that incurred global scorn recently for dolling out millions in bonuses after receiving a government bailout.

Chapman gives her students daily economics lessons. Last month, she used the populist outrage over the AIG bonuses as a teachable moment. First she asked her students to pretend they were the tax payers funding the bailouts. They got riled up.

Then she posed a question from another side of the issue. "What if you were an AIG employee?,” she asked. “Imagine if you had not been involved in the deals that ruined the company but were left to clean up the mess … What if your family had received death threats?”

A boy in the class suggested that they write letters to let AIG know “it will be okay.”

According to the Post, the students “adorned their messages with peace symbols and smiley faces, rainbows and vivid red hearts.” They included messages like "Hi AIG. Not all of USA hates you," "We know you're not villains," and "Keep working hard, dudes!”

Chapman mailed the cards to AIG, where they were well received.

AIG Employee Patrick O'Neill wrote back saying, "To have reached out to us in such a heartfelt way is really a testament to your individual and collective humanity."

3 Comments

I for one am grateful that Ms. Chapman is helping to raise a generation of children who are 1) capable of empathy 2) bold and articulate enough to express their feelings to people they have never met 3) are able to see the complexities and intricacies of an argument and find the solution for themselves. I have hope for the children of our future.

eh...they're over-paid whether they're responsible for the mess or not. Sorry -- I can think of 1,001 better class assignments to teach perspective and empathy.

Although I tend to agree with Anonymous, I think this is a political act that should not be part of class instruction. As Anonymous noted, there are 1001 better class assignments that have no political overtones. I wonder if there will be much support of today's tea parties in classes ...

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  • tim: Although I tend to agree with Anonymous, I think this read more
  • Anonymous: eh...they're over-paid whether they're responsible for the mess or not. read more
  • Nathan: I for one am grateful that Ms. Chapman is helping read more

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