29 April 2011

How Do We Trust Public Schools To Teach History?

I noted in a post a couple of weeks ago that I was refocusing my blog. That refocus was already underway when I made the announcement. As I've pointed out numerous times, by reading my header you will find I'm very open about what this blog is about and my perspective: history, culture, and faith; with a special focus on Virginia where my ancestors have been for nine generations. Where I delve into politics henceforth (with a minor infraction here and there), it will be germane with these topics. Education is certainly part of the topic of history. But it is also part of our culture and, increasingly, politics. Sometimes these things overlap. That's just the world in which we live. I just wanted to clarify that I'm not changing my focus, but this video contains information that is most assuredly relevant to the topic of history, since that is where many children ostensibly learn about our Nation's history. But I want to ask readers a question as it relates specifically to the study of American history and, even more specifically, to the study of the War Between the States. Given the "anecdotal evidence" in this video, how does one put any confidence in public schools to teach the subject of American history and the WBTS with any objectivity? I realize not every classroom is like the ones presented in this video, but I believe the number is growing, given our political climate and academia in general. Let's just see how many  objective critics, concerned educators, and history bloggers who are worried about "distorting" history and politicizing education we truly have.

If you intend to respond to this post with "kill the messenger" ad hominem attacks against Glenn Beck, don't waste your time. I agree that Beck tends to go off the deep end now and then, but you can respond to the information and accusations specifically discussed in the video or your comment will be rejected.


Lindsay said...

Wow, this is powerful - and it does happen. I teach in a VERY small and rural predominately Christian community and while most of my friends do not partake in this behavior (at least I don't believe they do), I am sure it is still hidden within little pockets and even more prevalent in larger urban areas.

For the life of me, I just don't understand why people believe it is their right to put their own personal beliefs and politics into the public school curriculum. I am about as conservative as they come, and I have very strong beliefs about politics, government, and every other thing - but my students will never know that. I am there to teach them history, not the history I wish had been, or the history that should have been.

The classroom is not the place for this and it should be grounds for immediate dismissal and parents need to be more active in knowing what their children are learning. I am astounded every year at the number of parents that have NO IDEA what history curriculum there child will be taking that year, what standards it consists of, and haven't taken the time to even find out. If they aren't doing that, then you know they surely aren't pursuing knowledge for their children outside of the classroom. Scary thought that what a one teacher teaches is the only thing some children hear.

I wish I could afford to homeschool my own children...lucky for them, they have a momma that is going to set the record straight and make sure their experiences and knowledge extends well beyond one classroom each year.

Sorry to be so long-winded, as a public school teacher this is an issue near and dear to my heart!

Brock Townsend said...

We can not and neither can we 99% of private schools. Homeschool is the only answer. We use Robinson.

Robinson Home School Has Confederate Books

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Thanks Lindsay - I appreciate your input. Your perspective is a bright spot. As I've said before, I'm glad you're out there.

Lindsay said...

*their, instead of there in the third paragraph from the bottom...I hate typos!

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Thanks Brock. Anyone familiar with this blog knows I'm a huge proponent of homeschooling. My wife and I homeschooled 4 or our 6. It takes a real commitment. Fortunately, there are still teachers out there like Lindsay who understand the issues and are doing what they can.

Brock Townsend said...

My wife and I homeschooled 4 or our 6. It takes a real commitment. Fortunately, there are still teachers out there like Lindsay who understand the issues and are doing what they can.

Yes and for those doubters, I am 67, but teach my fifth daughter Dixie, so go for it and Robinson is basically self-taught.

Chris said...

AS some of you know, I used to tackle similar issues at http://www.blog4history.com. As a public school educator I have the same concerns. I have stopped political blogging for lots of reasons.

It's interesting, because I do not believe in the liberal methodology, as someone like Mr. Kevin Levin (no matter how much he denies it), I can be accused by him as being, I forget the exact language, but essentially a teacher of questionable quality. I will never have an ounce of respect for the guy anyone. I never questioned his classroom work, and in fact made that very clear. I am still waiting for his response to this post after he attacked me:

Anyway, posting this as I wish you best of luck. You'll continue to get attacked by that guy, but that is nothing new!

I'll chime in from time to time if that's ok!


Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Hello Chris. Your input is welcome any time. KL has, at least in recent days, backed off from what were once fairly routine attacks of my posts here. As I told Lindsay, I'm glad there are public school teachers out there like you.


Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Well, I guess the "objective critics" have been silenced - just as I suspected. They're not really objective. They're agenda-driven.