As both a former homeschooling parent, potential history teacher and all around connoisseur of history, I was intrigued by the title of this article on Pajama Media, one of my daily stops on the Internet:
Homeschooling vs. Howard Zinn
This in an outstanding article for many reasons, the most important is the author's point about how we teach our children American history. What point of view will we use? This is not a rhetorical question- the point of view of the author/teacher of history is critical. I am taking my second Masters level course on how to write history and the good and bad points about historical bias and how a good historian is self-aware about their point of view and bias.
SO, let's move beyond arguements about biased and unbiased history, because, let's face it ALL history is written from a certain point of view (yes, great Obi-Wan, how we think about history is highly dependent on our point of view) .
Now, hacks like Howard Zinn wanted to push their socialist, hate-America-the source of all the world's evil. But he does have a point-> history and politics go hand in hand. The garbage taught in American high schools and universities for the last 30 years (i.e. post-Vietnam) has brought us the modern America-hating left of Barrack Obama, Bill Ayers and most of the modern Democratic Party. Not to mention a lot of messed up kids who don't know the treasure this country is....for now.
So, I completely agree with the author that we should teach our kids REAL American history: the good, bad and ugly. We don't cover up our mistakes, but we don't dwell on nothing but slavery, Indians, women, and "imperialism". I agree that Dr. Bennett's books are excellent primers to build a course around, I may post my own book list for teaching American history...hmmm, have to think about that. :)
I suppose for a real challenge you could have students contrast Bennett's and Zinn's point of view to see who gets closer to the truth. After all, doesn't a good history teacher let their students think?
But an American History teacher has to always be aware that they are not just imparting facts, but shaping how the student will view their country and its institutions, and be mindful of this responsbility.
I, for one, look forward to it.
And I don't need no stinkin' Howard Zinn in my classroom.