Modern History Text Book, Good or Bad

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by Markainion, Jul 22, 2005.

  1. Markainion

    Markainion Member

    May 6, 2005
    Thanks Received:
    Trophy Points:
    I want to open up a debate that Gunny and Mattskramer started under the 10-commanded debate under the religion section. Is American history being taught more balance today than in the past?

    I personally don’t have a good answer to this one. I number of years ago my brother bought me an old 1930 history book that he found somewhere. I surprised when I read it how different it was from the history books that I read from high school and college, it mention things like the Teutonic blood line, and garbage that you would only think you would find in a Nazi handbook. Some vain attempted to blend the white majorities British and German ancestry I figured.

    Overall I didn’t find the book to negative it was a world history book, and it didn’t put down other races or Europeans it just tended to try to make the British, Unites States, and Germans bloodline look better than they should have. Considering that it was pre World War II, and that United States and Germany were growing world powers and Britain was a world power during that time.

    Compared to my history books it didn’t mention much about slavery and other not so adorable facts about history. It tended to focus more on myth and past glories. Saying that I do think that modern history books have gone to far negative, especially with respect to giving a balanced an healthy view of US history.

    I first came to this conclusion when I was 16 and went form a dominate white school to working at place that white where about equal to non-white. The biggest thing that I noticed was how the non-white tended to brag about not being white because they don’t have those colonist racist murders in their past. The funny thing was that many were Mexican American and seemed not to relieve that they had white ancestor in their past. One of them named Steve, born in the US, and most would think was Italian if they didn’t know better.

    The sad thing is latter I relieved how bad our county does at explaining some details. Like the fact that most Latin Americans are Mosaic meaning both from European and Indian blood, and far as I know it is close to fifty fifty. Or facts like our founding fathers did do something about slavery, by banding new slave from coming to the US from Africa that took affect in 1807.

    Below is a link and a small sample of an article about the debate on this very subject. Do people thinking that history is being tough fairly in our public schools, and what we should do about it.

    Past and Prologue

    Christopher Columbus: the man who discovered the New World, or the perpetrator of genocide?

    Thomas Jefferson: a Founding Father and author of the Declaration of Independence, or a slaveholder whose notion of liberty didn't extend beyond white male landowners?

    John F. Kennedy: a visionary political leader who inspired a generation to idealism and social action, or a serial philanderer whose recklessness endangered the country?

    Most people can see there's truth in both statements about these historic icons. We understand that Columbus, Jefferson, and Kennedy were human -- complex, contradictory, and flawed like rest of us.

    But what if the only thing you learned about Columbus in school was that his arrival was disastrous for the natives of North and Central America? What if all you knew about Jefferson was that he apparently fathered children by one of his slaves, yet did not free them after his death? What if you heard only how the United States failed to live up to its ideals as a democracy? How would your view of the world and the role of the United States be shaped?
    These questions are central to the ongoing debate over what should be taught in social studies classes. Few academic subjects evoke as much passion as history (though reading instruction comes close), so the debate is by no means new. It has intensified, however, in the wake of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

    The debate also comes at a time when many educators worry that social studies is vanishing from the curriculum. With schools scrambling to meet the requirements of No Child Left Behind, history, geography, and civics are being pushed aside so more time can be spent on the subjects that are tested -- mainly reading and math.
    Not your father's history class

    The debate goes something like this:

    Students are learning only the dark side of American history, according to a growing and vocal group of social studies educators and professors. And, these critics argue, this focus on the negative is churning out students who are so disengaged from our political system that they scarcely bother to vote.

    "It's cultural suicide to raise a generation of cynics who don't value the extraordinary nature of our country," says James Leming, a Saginaw Valley State University professor.

    Others say the perception is false, that negative subject matter isn't all that's taught in social studies classrooms, and that children do get a balanced view of history. "[The critics] have this image of what they think social studies is, but it's a distortion of what is happening," says Stephen Thornton, professor of social studies and education at Columbia University's Teachers College.

    No one questions that times have changed since the 1960s, when the textbook in Lucien Ellington's high school history class was called American Pageant. The book, Ellington says, was distorted in that it showed only the positive story of American history, with no criticism. But during the Vietnam War -- when faith in American institutions plummeted -- the history field began to change. Textbooks began to reflect both America's triumphs and its failures.

    "That's the way American history and world history should be taught," says Ellington, codirector of the Asia program and professor of education at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

    But whatever is being taught, it doesn't seem to stick. The 1998 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) civics test results revealed that 75 percent of high school seniors were not proficient in the subject. Twenty-five percent of seniors could not identify two ways the Constitution prevents a president from becoming a dictator.

    In 1998, fewer than one in five Americans ages 18 to 24 voted, according to the New Millennium Project, sponsored by the National Association of Secretaries of State. Other reports on voting patterns show that while young people are volunteering at greater rates, they have the lowest voter turnout rate of all adult age groups and are less likely than other adults to read the newspaper.

    Leming and others charge that low voter turnout and the NAEP scores are proof that social studies is going in the wrong direction. Students are so dispirited by hearing about how bad the United States is, the critics say, that they don't believe it would do any good to vote or become politically active.
    "It makes sense to me that if the history that you're learning is oppression and disenfranchisement, corruption and crime, rather than achievements," Leming says, "you form a negative view."
  2. kurtsprincess

    kurtsprincess Active Member

    Jul 15, 2005
    Thanks Received:
    Trophy Points:
    in my hammock
    Sometimes things have to swing to the opposite arc on the pendulum and eventually come back into balance at a midrange. I think the current teachings in our schools are still arcing on the upswing of pointing out the negatives of America to balance the teachings of the past.

    Unfortunately, with the instantaneous of information dissemination that we have today, and the sensationalism pursued by the MSM (and bad/negative news will outsell anything postive), our children are not assimilating what is being taught in school.

    When all our media sources are focused on the negative, what do we expect our children to assimilate? I believe that even if our history departments started teaching nothing but the postives of American history, it would not make an impact or balance what shows up daily in our media. :(

Share This Page