States are not required to produce evidence that their schools meet academic standards in teaching social studies (“ ‘We are committing educational malpractice’: Why slavery is mistaught – and worse – in American schools.” The New York Times, Aug. 19): It’s not surprising, therefore, that controversial subject like slavery are shortchanging students.
But it’s important to remember that even if such standards were established, there is no guarantee matters would change because history textbooks are assembled by committees. As a result, special interest groups attempt to get their agendas included at the price of accuracy.
It’s not just that history textbooks for the most part whitewash American history. The opposite is also true. For example, “A People’s History of the United States,” by Howard Zinn, has been rightly accused of turning our history into a comic-book melodrama in which people are constantly abused by their “rulers.”
How can impressionable young people be expected to know the truth under present circumstances? It takes brave teachers to ignore curricular guidelines because they can be fired for deviating. In the final analysis, the best hope is for social studies to be treated with the same importance as math and reading.
(To post a comment, click on the title of t his blog.)