The Corner

Fifth Column Alive and Well in British Schools

Mick Hume takes a look at a teaching pack being used in London school “citizenship classes” to cover 9/11:

When the Walthamstow Guardian asked if the 9/11 attacks should be used as a teaching tool, one educationist said the pack was not about “preaching” to children, but about providing “impartial and unbiased information” and “letting them make sense of it”.

That would be information such as: “The terrorists had shown that, despite America’s size and military power, careful planning and complete faith could defeat them.”

So al-Qaeda defeated America. Or did it? After all, according to this impartial pack, “it is not known whether Flight 93 was taken over by passengers or shot down by the military”. The only people to whom this should be “not known” are conspiracy theorists. You might as well tell kids it is not known whether men really landed on the Moon.

The outside sources of “impartial and unbiased information” include a news website that speculates about whether images of Satan appeared in smoke over the Twin Towers, and the mystic significance of the number 11. Another link, to explain the role of the US Vice-President, turns out to be an excerpt from a 9/11 conspiracy website that asks whether Dick Cheney “was directing the response to the attack. Or was he directing the attack?” The pack’s main attempt to situate 9/11 in some context is a lengthy list of “Osama’s grievances”. Raising the chestnut about terrorists and freedom fighters, the pack asks: “Which category do these people belong in: Malcolm X, Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi, Gerry Adams, Martin Luther King?” A better question might be: what do any of them have to do with 9/11?

Citizenship classes were introduced to try to fill the vacuum about British identity essentially caused by the excision of pre-20th century history from the curriculum.  Unfortunately, they forgot who’d be teaching them.  My mother taught in an elementary school for 30 years, but retired early because of what she was being asked to do.  Her successors appear to have no such scruples.

Hat tip: Natalie Solent, still the best of the British bloggers.

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