The Problem With History Teaching

There’s a problem with history, and how it’s taught in society. No it’s not putting a PC spin on what happened, but what we chose to leave out.  There are many holes in what people learn in school, and to what extent are we to teach, or learn in these institutions of higher learning? I will concede that there’s so much out there, however, we’re in school for what twenty years? Can’t we change topics in every couple of grades?

We spend so much time in the early years of our schooling on the Revolutionary and Civil Wars. While, they are very important to our country, and world, don’t you think sprinkling in other countries would be a smart thing? We have been called a melting pot, but focus on what forged our country. While that is great, it doesn’t expand how our country was formed, and why. Why don’t we dive into the reasons each set of peoples come to the country. They didn’t just show up because there’s a lot of wide open space.

We could do sections on Irish history, even thought at the early levels in education we couldn’t get into anything like the Famine, or the Troubles. Maybe some enterprising high school or charter school in an ethic Irish area could start the upward movement of teaching it. A quick look around the internets, shows that Notre Dame has a course in Irish history, but that’s their enrollment. The Irish have been some of the earliest settlers in the country, and we get maybe a unit. See the issue, we could instead of brushing it under the carpet, give our fellow Americans some voice.

Or here’s a novel thought, how about Russian History? How many areas in this country, save for New York City, which has many different ethnic conclaves, is Russian? Forty Four,  There’s a colorful history in Russian/Soviety Union, that very few people touch in the states, outside of World War Two, and we only touch that in the junior senior years in high school, and some specialty course in colleges. This is doing a great disservice to the ethnic origins of the culture.  Who doesn’t want to know about Trotsky, Lenin, the Bolshevik Revolution? Again, hitting on only the Revolutionary and the Civil War limits us.

In conjunction to that, we need to also do something with Polish history. We have another untapped culture whom has faced many obstacles, and have emigrated to the states because of such things. Do we talk about them in our school history courses? Just briefly, and that’s just touching in on World War Two. While, we sit here and think about this, could we know more about Poland that we do right now if the school system actually cared?

Oh and lets not get into the lies and deceits surrounding the Vietnam War. The reaches of that are still ringing in the government today, probably clouding the minds of society for the wars we’ve been in lately. But enough of the political statements, this isn’t about politics. There’s another war we could get people into, and with at least that war still having veterans alive, we could develop a love, or an understanding of what that became.

The Kennedy Assassination, I know that’s another one of those touchy points in life, and fodder for the conspiracy nuts out there. Just like the Vietnam War, many aspects of our daily life is still corrupted by the subject. We only really touch this in school, when we take specialized courses in college.

The reason for an education may not to be, to learn everything in one sitting. It may be the chance for people to look beyond what they are being taught, and find something for themselves. At the same point, how many teachers are there out there? Millions? And how many new teachers are graduating into the market every year? Probably more millions, to add to this pool of people who are totting the same line.

Maybe it’s a fault of the keeping religion out of the schools, and states, while allowing our children to only learn what the previous generations have learned. Or maybe it’s the broad spectrum that history is, that forces our schools to just focus on the easiest stuff we can find. Just maybe too many of the school curriculum have been set in stone since well, 1980 to change.  How many of us have been in a class that is taught by a teacher who has gray hair that is uppity and not willing to change? Probably most of us, and that’s what is holding back the American Education system.

Maybe the point of education is to instill in you the thought of thinking outside of the box, to turn an overused phrase, and look for other areas of interest. But investing in other interests is expensive and so is education. Think of the money, the loans, the stress, that is put into an education, and we only touch the outer points of subjects. Each course probably isn’t meant to be as detailed, but why can’t it? A six month course on a given topic could change people’s lives.

Or maybe it’s not the school system, it could be the publishing companies. Think of it, how you learn is to read books. So to investigate more on a topic, you have to buy more books. Maybe these companies have blanket selection of books that are offered to administrators across the country.

So many of well, the younger generation are getting into the teaching/education system and can effect change. It’s time that we take a chance and see what we can do. There’s more to our historical upbringing than just a couple wars, and playing Christopher Columbus. We won’t get that until we are well into our adulthood and buying books, instead of learning in the school system.

Oh the conundrum.

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