History textbooks differ from state to state

Developing critical thinking in students is one of the most important goals of public schools.  But social studies textbooks, which by their very nature should be ideal places to do so, differ widely in how they treat the same issues (“Two American Stories,” The New York Times, Jan. 12).

Politics in the final analysis largely determines what social studies textbooks teach students.  For example, Texas requires textbooks to offer an “emphasis on the free-enterprise system and its benefits.” In contrast, California stresses “the yawning gap between the haves and have-nots.”  As a result, students are imbued with ideology rather than with facts.

Instead of textbooks, students would be far better served being assigned original sources.  That way they would be able to draw their own conclusions about controversial issues.  I realize that the hands of teachers are tied by school district policies regarding the curriculum.  Although textbooks are better than nothing, they do little to force students to think for themselves.

(To post a comment, click on the title of this blog.)

 

2 Replies to “History textbooks differ from state to state”

  1. Labor Lawyer: Critical thinking is supposed to be one of the goals of the Common Core. That has not changed. My point is that students cannot achieve that objective when they are given textbooks that are driven by ideology and politics.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s