|(Thanks to the Telegraph)|
No, it's because it is supposedly giving kids a bad view of Germany. Yes, present-day Germany. Because, you know, kids are too stupid to separate modern Germany from the horrors of Hitler and Nazism.
This all appeared in an article in the Telegraph. I have checked for recent mentions of Lord Baker in the news, and this was the most recent article, so it doesn't appear that he's recanted or changed his mind or anything.
Actually, the idea about children is not totally off-base, though I don't believe that kids are "stupid." However, depending on how young they are, they are impressionable, and if the subject is not taught right, then it is possible to tar Germany in total with that brush. That shouldn't be a reason to stop teaching it, though. That should be a reason to improve the teaching of it, and History in general.
From what I understand, the teaching of History in school is not in a good state, and I think that needs to be improved.
This is actually the part of Baker's statements that I agree with, which is that German history shouldn't be taught at the expense of British history. He's quoted as saying "Why I’ve got a thing against the Holocaust and all of that is I think you study your own history first," and "I'm sure that German children are not studying the British Civil War, right?" Yes, British kids should have a good basic understanding of British history, just like American kids should have a good understanding of American history (which sadly, as a whole, they don't).
The problem is that this is not enough, in my view. Kids should understand their whole country, but they should also understand how the world works, and how it worked in the past. The Holocaust is such a huge thing, a worldwide horror, that I don't think it can just be dismissed. As James Smith, chairman of the Holocaust Centre, is quoted as saying in the article, "The period of the Nazis was not just a blip in German history; the Holocaust was a Europe-wide crime." It affected not just Germany, but all of Europe. And its ramifications have been felt worldwide, including in the troubles that plague the Middle East to this day (yes, I do realize that there is much more than that, but it's certainly in there).
I don't want kids to have no inkling that something like this happened within the last 100 years unless they happen to catch a special on the History Channel. I don't want "Never Forget" to turn into "Well, we don't want people thinking *bad* things about Germany, so we'll just ignore this."
I did like one other thing that was in this article. Baker's suggestions come during a time when a committee has been formed to overhaul the current curriculum. One of the suggestions is that History be compulsory until age 16 instead of the current 14. I think this is an excellent idea, and I hope they implement it.
History is such an important subject, and while I don't think people need to study it to the microscopic level that historians do, I do believe a basic knowledge of History is essential to anybody's education. It requires teachers that make it interesting rather than a chore, engaging rather than boring. We don't always get those, but I'm sure they are out there. In my schooling, I only had a couple of teachers who really made it come to life. Thankfully, I was already hooked even on my own, so I was able to get past all of that. I wish I could say the same for others.
I realize that you can't teach everything about History, even if you do raise the age where compulsory History-studying ends. Something as big, as world-effecting as the Holocaust? There's no way that this should be ignored.