Homeschoolers: How to celebrate the 4th of July?
Here’s an interesting question. Should real or mythical American history be taught to K12 students? It’s a great discussion for the 4th because it turns the usual range of political questions on their head. Here’s some ways of framing the question:
- In Russia, China, and maybe even in France, they teach their history in a way that makes them sound glorious and very heroic with no mistakes ever made. It’s not history, it’s self-glorification and propaganda. I’m delighted to live in the Land of the Free where when I read a history book, I know it’s not controlled by bureaucrats and politicians, it’s by independent historical scholars writing it the way they see it. Wouldn’t you agree? Here’s a trivia question, what states in the US lead in terms of their legislature trying to legislate what should be taught in K12 history textbooks?
- What information is commonly taught in K12 which you believe to be inaccurate and which has been inserted into American history for some political or other purpose?
- Who do you think is the biggest obstacle to telling real US History: The Federal or State Governments? (Hint, remember that states control curriculum, standards, and the schools in their state).
- Why do US history professors at universities all seem to think that the history taught in K12 is basically propoganda?
I started thinking about this when I happened to read two books at the same time that related to these questions.
Nothing Is True and Everything Is Possible: The Surreal Heart of the New Russia by Peter Pomerantsev. It’s an amusing book told in the first person by a Brit who worked inside the new Russia.
Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrongby James W. Loewen. This is the second version of an analysis of high school American textbooks and how they tell a version of US history that has to be totally unlearned by students who study history at the college level. He covers the changes since the first version of his book came out.