Tuesday, April 21, 2009

From the archives: reason to homeschool - so children learn the real history, not an alternate history

This 2004 report on how history is taught in America reinforced my desire to homeschooler my children so they would learn true history, and not fiction.

In the foreward Chester E. Finn writes:

If American teachers of history were broadly educated and deeply knowledgeable about the subjects for which they're responsible in the classroom, and if they were free to draw their information, textbooks, and other instructional materials from whatever sources they judge best, all within a framework of sound academic standards and results-based accountability under that dreamy set of circumstances, this report would not be necessary.

The sad reality, however, is that many of our history teachers don't know enough history. To make matters worse, the textbooks on which they typically depend are vast yet surprisingly shabby compendia of dull, dated, and denatured information. (See A Consumer's Guide to High School History Textbooks,
www.edexcellence.net/institute, for independent reviews of the most widely used texts and to see some examples of their shortcomings.) Thus, those teachers that seek to use their textbooks as a crutch to help fill the gaps in their own knowledge are not doing right by their students.

This reality has led to the development of an immense cottage industry in our primary-secondary education system, one designed to supply history and social studies teachers with pre-digested "supplemental materials" and "professional development," ostensibly to help remediate teachers who do not have sufficient historical knowledge or suitable instructional materials.


The whole report is rather long, a full sixty pages. In The Stealth Curriculum: Manipulating America's History Teachers Sandra Stotsky documents how government schools are teaching children a fictional history.

I'm not surprised the Disney gets the events surrounding Pocahontas all wrong, but it greatly distrubs me when the public school system pushes fiction cast as history.

Technorati tags: homeschooling, homeschool, home school, home education, parenting, children, education, government schools, public school, public education


Bob Durtschi said...

HI Henry;

Your link to Edexcellence.net is broken. Apparently they have lost their website. It's up for sale:

This "Under Construction" page is an automatically generated placeholder Web page for a domain that is not yet attached to an active Web site.

Eric Holcombe said...

Here you go:


~*~The Family~*~ said...

Saddly, I am sure the majority of parents don't even know their children are not being educated in real history. Learning history along with my children has made it glaringly obvious that I was short changed in the lessons of history in my school days. I was in school back in the 1970's, so if they are doing a worse job now, I cringe to think how little children are learning.

Henry Cate said...

George Santayana is created with this famous line: "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

The sad fact is too many people think they know history, and will draw conclusions based on what they "know." Because their knowledge of history is erroneous, their conclusions will often be wrong.

Dodie said...

"Pre-digested supplemental materials" Wow, does that bring back memories of our old "textbook" days! So much better to read real books!