Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Nobody knows anything, again

We often hear that Canadians are not just ignorant of Canadian history but uniquely ignorant. Other countries care, we are told.  Look at the Americans, look at the British.

This is a view that requires an invincible ignorance of other countries.  For instance, here is news of a study demonstrating American know nothing of American history.  And another showing they never did:
[T]he first large-scale proficiency study—of Texas students, in 1915-16—demonstrated that many couldn’t tell Thomas Jefferson from Jefferson Davis or 1492 from 1776. A 1943 survey of seven thousand college freshmen found that, among other things, only six per cent of them could name the original thirteen colonies. “Appallingly ignorant,” the Times harrumphed, as it would again in the face of another dismal showing, in 1976. ...
Promoting history is a good thing.  But people know what they need to know.
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