My View of “The True History of America Must Be Taught In Grade School”
I would start with a question: How the heck do you do that? If you are looking for that to happen in our public schools don’t hold your breath. Public schools are an arm of the U.S. government, so even the most well-intentioned teachers have to mind their P’s and Q’s when it comes to the raw truth about history and culture. And as we all know, the “truth” depends on who you ask. Historically, at least here in our country, the view we get in school is the view of the white ruling class. Our “discovery” of America, colonialism, expansionism, industrialization, all the wars, and all the rest of our “progress” and “challenges” leading up to present, carries, directly or indirectly, a government rubber stamp on it before being allowed in the classroom. Sure, students can now read about things like “slavery” or “child labor” as abominations now that our ruling class doesn’t rely on them anymore-now it is “safe” for us all to hear that truth. Teachers can discuss our domination of Native Americans, using books with a version of contrived “humility” that also empathizes our “fairness” in present-day “compensation” and dealings. “Leaders gone bad” are studied, as long as they are not ours, or esteemed by our allies now. Current events or recent history, such as 911, are presented as what appears to be propaganda pieces straight out of our “Homeland Security” offices. And folks, that’s just the way it is. Our public school education is based on an overall Big Brother philosophy that we can’t handle the truth-the version we get fosters national pride and continued loyalty to whatever their real agenda is. The scary part is, we can only guess as to what that agenda has in store for us.
So what does one do, enroll in private institutions of learning? Home school? While these are options, they may not be the best options for a lot of us, for obvious reasons. Even if we all had the money for private schooling or the time and expertise to home school effectively, public school offers a great deal to us and should be appreciated for what it is. Our family has experienced all of it firsthand and public school still wins. Our solution, then, is to follow the lessons closely as parents, opening up further discussion of most history and social topics in the privacy of our home or with open-minded friends. We continually search for and talk about Truth as a topic in all areas of life, and how it is influenced by the way individuals and groups “see” and interpret what they see. When essays must be written for homework on debatable topics, we advise our student to present her often “alternative” view with positive energy and sensitivity rather than boxing gloves. It has worked for us so far, and I like to think we are planting seeds of open-mindedness in the public classrooms besides.