From the Daily Mail...
Schools are dropping the Holocaust from history lessons to avoid
offending Muslim pupils, a Governmentbacked study has revealed. It found some
teachers are reluctant to cover the atrocity for fear of upsetting students
whose beliefs include Holocaust denial. There is also resistance to
tackling the 11th century Crusades - where Christians fought Muslim armies for
control of Jerusalem - because lessons often contradict what is taught in local
The findings have prompted claims that some schools are using
history 'as a vehicle for promoting political correctness'.
The report concluded: "In particular settings, teachers of history
are unwilling to challenge highly contentious or charged versions of history in
which pupils are steeped at home, in their community or in a place of worship."
But Chris McGovern, history education adviser to the former Tory
government, said: "History is not a vehicle for promoting political correctness.
Children must have access to knowledge of these controversial subjects, whether
palatable or unpalatable."
English and history classes in my day were sometimes rough. Emotions ran high. Teachers and students disagreed. Students and students disagreed. And I remember a couple of days when I seemed to disagree with everyone. We were different races, classes, genders and religions, but we all survived those discussions. I also recall getting into a good university and not being shell-shocked by in-depth class discussions because I'd already experienced them in high school.
As I stand on the precipice before my 20th (public) high school reunion, I (like every other reunion attendee in this world) am not thrilled by all of my memories or the thought of re-living them. But I am grateful for the times my mind was stretched. I am glad I shared years with people who tested me, annoyed me, openly called bull on me, and were honest in their mostly civil disagreements.
As adults we find ways to limit the human thorns in our sides. As high school students, we don't have that power and, yet, for many it is the most educationally significant time of their lives. I believe there's a connection. You can't take the edge and the ire out of adolescence by hinkying with history. Or biology. Or sex ed. The holocaust, species diversity, and sexuality are all hard to talk about in depth. Whether you agree with your conversation partners or not. Therein lies the education. We learn, grow, and sometimes change.
Speaking of which, my son and played on my public elementary school playground the other night.
"Is this where you went to school, mama?"
"Yes, indeed! The place where I learned to read. The place where I learned to add, subtract, multiply, and divide. The place where I learned how to boogie. I still have some of the moves. Wanna' see them?"
Come on now. You didn't think I got these moves from church did you?