DC Public Schools (DCPS) faced criticism this week after a teacher required students to compare former president George W Bush to Nazi leader Adolf Hitler in a homework assignment.
The district refused to identify the teacher responsible for the controversial assignment or indicate if disciplinary action will be taken.
The McKinley Middle School instructor reportedly gave sixth-grade students a Venn diagram consisting of two intersecting circles – one representing Bush, the other Hitler.
"Now that we have read about two men of power who abused their power in various ways, we will compare and contrast them and their actions," the homework's instructions read.
Reaction on social media was swift and condemning.
"Making students compare Hitler and W as men who abused power? This teacher should be fired immediately," a Michigan man tweeted.
The district responded to the controversy on Wednesday.
"This week, a DCPS teacher created a worksheet to assign as homework which asked students to compare and contrast President George W. Bush and Adolf Hitler, after reading two texts," a statement read.
"No DCPS curriculum materials suggest in any way that teachers should compare the texts in this manner or compare Hitler to any other individual. One text, 'Fighting Hitler — A Holocaust Story' is part of the current suggested materials.
"The text about President Bush is not suggested as part of the current year's curriculum, but was included last year in a separate unit.
"The teacher deeply regrets this mistake, and any suggestion to malign the presidency or make any comparison in this egregious way. The teacher admits to extremely poor judgment and short sightedness and will apologize to students."
For Bush speechwriter Marc Thiessen called for the teacher's termination.
"A person who can't tell the difference between George W Bush and Adolf Hitler shouldn't be teaching children," he told Fox News. "This isn't even political bias, this is utter incompetence."
Thiessen added that the teacher demonstrated a "level of ignorance that's uncorrectable," and is indicative of some of larger problems within DCPS.
"I'm not shocked by anything that happens in DC Public Schools," Thiessen said. "I feel sorry for the fact that there are parents who are actually stuck in a system who hires a person like that.
"With all the problems that DC Public Schools have, you've got a teacher who exposes children to this? This is the best they can find?"
DCPS spokeswoman Melissa Salmanowitz declined to identify the teacher involved or confirm if corrective action was taken.