the end of establishment history?

Barbara Frank writes,

Schools are increasingly reducing the amount of history taught to today’s children. A while back I noted in one of my newsletters that in North Carolina schools, there’s a proposal to stop teaching events in U.S. history that occurred before 1877. Meanwhile, in England they’re reducing and sometimes even eliminating the study of history in schools

Her assessment: "This is tragic."

I’m not so sure. Why is it a bad thing that governments might stop teaching their official version of history?

In my experience, the hardest thing about talking to people about real history is all the fake history that was used to indoctrinate them (I mean, us) back in school. Didn’t the Industrial Revolution create poverty? Weren’t the masses worse off in the era of laissez-faire? (Wasn’t there an era of laissez-faire?) Wasn’t the Civil War about slavery? Didn’t Lincoln free the slaves? Didn’t the Civil War settle the question of secession? Didn’t Progressives save us through increased regulation? Wasn’t Big Business opposed to the Progressive Era growth in regulation? Didn’t laissez-faire lead to the Great Depression? Didn’t the New Deal get us out of the Depression? (Or was it World War II that got us out of the Great Depression?) Wasn’t World War II “the good war” fought by “the greatest generation,” thereby improving the conditions of people throughout Europe? Didn’t the Marshall Plan save Europe? And on and on.

Why American History Is Not What They SayI’ve read antihomeschoolers expressing fear of the radical values homeschoolers are promulgating outside the reach of the guiding hand of the state. I wish it were so.

I’m shocked by how radical homeschoolers aren’t.

I’m dismayed by how low the general suspicion of the state is in homeschooling circles (or maybe it’s just the secular homeschooling circles with which I’m more familiar).

In my opinion, the mass indoctrination that takes place in government-school history classes is one of the most insidious aspects of the 20th century.

Having the state back off from that agenda (if that’s what they’re really doing) is difficult for me to see as tragic.


2 Responses to the end of establishment history?

  1. David Miller says:

    Perhaps, I’m just too jaded by the last decade in the US and the spectacular increase of Government power, but I think it unlikely that the state is actively seeking to reduce its influence by shrinking the amount of history taught in state schools.
    I’m hard pressed to recall examples when the government has willfully given up power rhetorical or otherwise. It’s unclear to me whether the government could teach students to think about history in terms of events interpreted with logically consistent theories of psychology, economics and politics. But I suspect that even if the govt. could it wouldn’t do anything that so obviously threatened its power.

  2. Derek Wilkerson says:

    I agree with you on the indoctrination thing, however I disagree that they are reducing history. It’s more like they are refining it. I live in North Carolina so have been paying attention to the above stated history issue. I think they might be trying to cut out all the radical thinking(the terrible way the english treated the natives, The thoughts ideas and radicalism behind the American revolution, all of the war of northern aggression, and not to mention slavery)instead it just trows the impressionable mind right into statism. It was my high school history class that made me first start questioning things. Example “Why did they just decide laissez-faire capitalism did not work?” or “What’s with all these taxes? Income tax, inheritance tax, wasn’t the revolution because of these kinds of things?” The holes they couldn’t get rid of, maybe they are have just decided to ignore them.

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