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A shocking lack of education in Pennsylvania

October 17, 2013

How bad does history education have to get when students don’t know where and what this is?


I’m very grateful to the Twitter user @ShaniZour  for publicising this video made by a writer from Pennsylvania in the United States.

Rhonda Fink-Whitman has written a book called ’94 Maidens’, about the Holocaust / Shoah and was surprised to hear that the Holocaust as a topic was not being taught in the state schools of Pennsylvania state.

The writer decided to question random college students, who had been through the state primary and secondary school system about what they knew about the Holocaust and the Second World War. I expected to be shocked by a lack of knowledge by the students, but as I started to watch further my feelings went beyond shocked and I became horrified at how little they knew. Basic information such as ‘What is a concentration camp?’ ‘Who was Churchill?’ and ‘Who were the allies?’ was missing from the students’ education background.

Here’s the video in question. It is 15 minutes of excruciating ignorance and a damning indictment on the Pennsylvania educational system.

It seems that the state school system in Pennsylvania has failed to equip their pupils with any coherent knowledge of probably the defining conflict of the 20th Century. That is truly something of which the Pennsylvania state educational authorities should be ashamed. I can’t help thinking that if they are this dim on World War II, then what else are they a bit dim about?

A particular chilling piece of ignorance on the part of the students was both not being able to define the crime of genocide, but also being in complete denial that any genocide has gone on since world war II. They had never been taught about Rwanda or Sudan or the killings of non-Muslims in the Islamic world, nor had they been given any information about the genocide that inspired Hitler, the genocide of the Armenians.

Not teaching about genocide, and how and why it comes about, bodes ill for the future. It is worrying because if people do not know that genocide exists then they will not be able fight it when it affects others.. This lack of information is also a matter of concern because it will mean that there is a cohort of people who will not be able to recognise when the spectre of genocide is coming towards themselves. The world forgot the Armenians and that emboldened Hitler. He knew that nobody remembered the Armenians and he thought that nobody would remember dead Jews either.

A shocking and frightening lack of knowledge and what is worse is that the students interviewed are not the divs, thickies and dumbos of the Pennsylvania educational system, but the brighter ones who are attending a tertiary college.

It seems that the Left wing teachers and administrators of the Pennsylvania education system have been attempting to destroy both the knowledge and the teaching of history and as the old saying goes ‘those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it’


The original film from Rhonda Fink-Whitman

About the author Rhonda Fink-Whitman


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