Thursday, March 11, 2010

Glo-Merica!

Hmm. Now this is interesting. An article posted today on WorldNetDaily discusses how the majority of Americans feel History textbooks are too PC:

"Rasmussen Reports reveals a full 49 percent of the parents say most U.S. history textbooks are not accurate while 28 percent say most school history textbooks portray it accurately. Another 23 percent said they are not sure."


This discussion was started because the Texas Board of Education is meeting to determine changes for their textbooks. Since California and Texas are the largest consumers of textbooks in the nation, their conclusions have the potential to alter history books for the rest of the U.S. One of the issues they will discuss is using the term 'global citizen' instead of 'American'. (please refer to the
article to read the other points being addressed)

I know now that I don't agree with everything I was taught as a child. I was given a foundation. That foundation touched on some of the ugly truths of history, but promptly cured those ills with Disney-like versions of Babe the Blue Ox, Pocahantas, and Christopher Columbus.
As I grew up, I accumulated more context, learned there are several sides to everything, read more books, and understood a different layer of history with each bit of info gathered. I still continue this process. Our life experiences constantly inform us and our perceptions.

I don't have children, so this doesn't directly affect me, but it begs contemplation by everyone. I enjoy being an American and don't mind learning how I became one, historical warts and all. I also recognize the importance of living as a global citizen, but would I have grasped that idea as a child? I'm not sure. Is there room for both concepts? A Glo-Merican?

What is your preference for elementary level textbooks? How do you feel about some of the issues they're raising?

4 comments:

Bookfool said...

I think changing "American" to "global citizen" is ridiculous. Everyone is lives on the globe, but not all of us live in the U.S. That's a pretty big distinction.

Fortunately, we're about done with secondary schools. On to college and then this family is done with education unless Mama goes back -- but still . . . higher education.

Robin of My Two Blessings said...

"Global Citizen?" From what the article said it all sounds like communism to me. I don't see why they need to "rewrite" history to serve different groups purposes. History hasn't changed. This is a big reason why I will continue to home school and use original resources - reading books by the historical figures themselves and older books that haven't been rewritten. Thanks for the link to the World Net Daily. Glenn Beck has been talking about this but I hadn't seen anything on the internet. Now will be able to research the info.

christinemm said...

Lisa you would be surprised at what is in some of the textbooks today. This is quite different than what was in the texts I used in the 1980s. I have only heard snippets though but they are bad enough for me to say, "What are they teaching these kids?"

One problem with the opinions is most are not based on knowing real information. One problem with the texts is they are not available for people to read, just the parents of kids using them right now.

I was horrified to learn about some of what is going on in some schools today by reading the parent letters in the book FROM CRAYONS TO CONDOMS. This book would be classified as right leaning but even with the varying opinions in the book the reader can pick out big problems IMO. For example a reader might not agree that abstinence-only should be in the school sex ed program but when you read some of what IS being taught in the sex ed program the reader may say, "WHOA NO WAY would I want my kid being taught THAT by a school teacher!"

Another big thing I learned in that book was that sometimes the schools work hard to keep the parents in the dark about what their own kids are learning. Thus we who do not have kids in a school system are even MORE in the dark about what the kids are being taught.

One example I heard yesterday, happening right now, from grade 6 public school in CT with over 90% white students, was this about history.

The class is taking a field trip to Madame Toussoud's Wax Museum and doing a unit where the kids read about one person in history. One teacher gave this for the list of acceptable people to research:

President Obama
Michelle Obama
Oprah Winfrey
Beyonce
(that's it)

A student in the other class came home announcing she was approved to research Mylie Cyrus. The parents are going to ask who else was on that teacher's list.

(In a library I recently saw a new series of books something like Modern Heroes and the book was about Adam Sandler. Huh? He's a hero? He's worth reading about? But I digress.)

Now the question is of all the people at the wax museum why are the kids being pushed toward current people only (not even President George W Bush whose presidency is over and has more to learn about, let's face it, Obama's only been in office a year, not much has been accomplished yet. Note a larger figure in recent history, President Reagan was not on the list.) I'm told that teacher makes it known she's a liberal. How's that for pushing an agenda?

And of all the people in the wax museum are those the only ones worth studying in grade six?

And does race play a part here--the one teacher pushing the white kids to learn more about African Americans? There is a mindset around here that fears the white kids are too sheltered and not exposed enough to minorities so let's expose them to more minorities in their studies.

Connie said...

Honestly, I love America but I have no problem with my kids learning that they are global citizens, first. Because that is the way the world is moving, like it or not, and I wouldn't want them to be left behind. Besides thinking of yourself as an American first means that you will think of other people as being NOT American, but we can all be global citizens, can't we?

It's both, in equal measures, I think. What a wonderful and thought-provoking post!