Saturday, July 14, 2007

(Not) Teaching History

Britain's World War II prime minister Winston Churchill has been cut from a list of key historical figures recommended for teaching in English secondary schools, a government agency says.

The radical overhaul of the school curriculum for 11- to 14-year-olds is designed to bring secondary education up to date and allow teachers more flexibility in the subjects they teach, the Government said.


I'd agree it's radical, that's for sure.

Unfortunately, the article only mentions by name one person still required to be taught (about) in history classes, the important but unknown William Wilberforce.

Churchill's grandson calls this decision "madness", and I must agree with him.

From "Greatest Briton of all time" to not meriting a mention in history class in only 5 years. Amazing.

At least most of the commenters at the article's web site have some sense about them. As one says:

If Ghandi, Churchill, Stalin, Hitler, et al are OUT, who is IN? The Spice Girls?

9 comments:

Tony said...

Absolutely absurd. I had an entire course on him in college and I can't even begin to imagine how he could be excluded from British history classes.

Law and Order Teacher said...

As a history teacher I am continually amazed that the curriculum seems to be up for grabs. It's a shame that all the things that make western culture what it is are slowly being whittled away. It is no longer OK to celebrate the things that go into western culture. It is only OK to trash those people who made western culture the preeminent culture in the world. Somehow we are supposed to be ashamed of ourselves and pay penance to the gods of political correctness for all of our past sins. Political correctness has become the buzzword for changing history as it happened to something that is more palatable to the left wing. I think we should teach history as it happened without any spin and allow it to stand on its own. I think it will hold up just fine.

Darren said...

It *will* hold up just fine on its own--which is exactly why it must be trashed. Otherwise, they (the left) can't get what they want.

Ellen K said...

I thought it was the communists that indulged in rewriting history for their own agendas. Even my AP kids were woefully ignorant of many ideals of the Enlightenment through the end of the 19th century. If history is based on cause and effect, then how can we gauge the future not knowing our own past?

Polski3 said...

And, next on the list will be St.Cuthbert, Alfred, Harold Godwinson, various men named William, Edward, Henry and George. But they ( British kids ) will know what a traitor Beckham is, how they must accept Boy George and how cutting edge he was, and how evil Mrs. Thatcher and Mr. Blair were for their destruction of the British way of life.

No Sir Winston Churchill. How pathetic.

Of course in US schools, some names are politically incorrect; Washington, Jefferson, that old womanizer Franklin, the "Indian" hater Jackson, the warmonger Roosevelt, Nixon and Reagan......

Ellen K said...

Remember when George Washington and Abe Lincoln each had their own birthdays celebrated? Now they have been lumped together into "President's Day" which seems to be an excuse to clear out old Valentine's Day candy. But we have Martin Luther King, Jr. Day a week after we return from school, which makes it doubly hard to get kids refocused in January. If Dr. King wanted all children to be better educated, shouldn't his honorary day be in the summer when it doesn't interfere? I propose that we build a Hall of Heroes, sort of based on the Greek ideal, and that every year we add a statue of one. We can include all those heroes that every group wants and have JUST ONE DAY to celebrate them all. Wouldn't that make more sense? (And isn't that exactly why it will never happen?)

Darren said...

Given his importance in the latter half of the 20th Century, I don't begrudge Dr. King a holiday. If you're not comfortable with the date of his birthday, then the anniversary of one of his famous speeches?

Ellen K said...

I don't have a problem honoring him, I think he was an extraordinary man. But the timing of his designated holiday leave a lot to be desired. Add to that the other holidays which we now have to accommodate and we have kids missing school for the unofficial ones on top of the official ones. Plus, I think when we get to the point of honoring people, it needs to be within the context of the entire society. That someone would be put in a national hall of heroes and memorialized in that way would make it more of a situation where that person is EVERYONE'S hero, not just one group, not just one segment of the population. I would imagine that the case could be made that many legitimate heroes are never recognized due to the lack of publicity or the fewer numbers of people in their segment of the community. Wouldn't it be nice to see Washington, Jefferson, Franklin and Roosevelt alongside King, Parks, and others? It would elevate all of them to the same status, and children would learn of their entire history.

Darren said...

I kind of like American Heroes Day.

Could you imagine the political wrangling that would go into it, though? Take a look at history textbooks. Every group on the planet wants "their guy" showcased in the history book. Multiply that by a few factors of 10 for American Heroes Day and the Pantheon of Statues.

Not that yours is a bad idea, it's just too easily corrupted. When I heard Dr. Paige speak, he said evil is a corruption of what was once good. I think it's appropriate here.