Thursday, October 28, 2010

Military history books, and related writings in general, still keep generally high standards of literacy and clarity. But even in this genre, the discerning reader is starting to notice lapses in language.
Possibly more depressing, there is also a steady decline of public interest in the entire subject. One can repeat until blue in the face the wise old saw, "A nation ignorant of its history is doomed to repeat it."
Here is one likely cause of the circumstance:
Historian Jack Granatstein, an outspoken critic of the public school system, said there is no doubt in his mind that "standards have collapsed."
After becoming director of the Canadian War Museum, Mr. Granatstein said one of the reasons he left his long-time teaching position at York University was that "the students were so depressingly bad."
"They could not write a sentence, they could not read or understand complex things, they had lost the ability to speak in sentences, and... on top of that, they had no knowledge of history," said Mr. Granatstein, author of his controversial book, Who Killed Canadian History? (HarperCollins).
He blames the schools and teachers in large measure. "They could all use a computer," he said of his former students at YorkU, "Perhaps they had some skills I didn't know about."

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