I came across this study the other day on the current state of teaching history at the secondary level in the U.S.
It is a fascinating account of how well U.S. history is being taught in high schools.
I don't know enough about the current standards So in Virginia, since we homeschooled, I know darn well my son got taught history from the Bill Bennett vice the Howard Zinn point of view.
Here are some excellent quotes and the Grouchy Historian's commentary:
Nonetheless, at the college level, American history requirements are an endangered species. While history courses are widely available, and in many cases quite popular, basic requirements — mandatory core surveys — are vanishing. Fewer and fewer universities require American history, or any history at all, as part of the undergraduate general-education curriculum.
So of course my question is, what the hell are they learning? I know they are teaching labor agitation and public disorder in Wisconsin, but seriously? What do they learn in college-beer bonging and Facebooking 101? No wonder these idiots voted for Obama......
Unfortunately, history education at the primary-secondary level is itself often on life support for many reasons, including that an alarming number of future history teachers pursue degrees in education, rather than majoring in history itself. Worse, most education schools make minimal efforts to fill the inevitable gaps in their content knowledge, preferring instead to focus on “learning theory” that encourages skills acquisitions — such as critical thinking — rather than knowledge acquisition.W....T......F?????? How the hell does that work? I mean I've heard a lot about BS education degrees (no that is not short for bachelor of science either) but really? Sounds like my work is cut out for me when I start collecting that hearty retirement check from Northrop Grumman and become the grouchy history teacher.....how the hell can you have critical thinking skills with no knowledge or facts to critically think about....unless you are a professional member of the NEA.
The most pressing and common defect in state standards is the submersion of history in the vacuous, synthetic, and anti-historical “field” of social studies. In fact, “social studies” is more than a method of organizing content: It is an ideology that has steadily evolved and adapted since the early twentieth century. However, its central concept remains immovable: Positing trans-historical (and often ahistorical) interpretive “concepts” over historical facts and context, it splits the past into arbitrary and thematic “strands.” It exemplifies the self-defeating “how-to-think not what-to-learn” mentality, favoring jargon-laden thinking and learning skills over specific content.
Hallelujah Brother...I HATE this whole social studies bullcrap thing that was even pushed on me sooo many years ago. If you wanna study government, study government. If you want to take a geography course, then do so. Don't try to mash them all up. Now I will be the first to tell you that geography and history, especially military history go together like chocolate and peanut butter, beer and pizza..darn I'm hungry...but you can't have one without the other.
But social studies is annoying and useless...brought to you, no doubt by that same evil NEA that wants to teach you about environmentalism, socialism and the evil male patriarchy.
Finally, I did appreciate that the study showed the effects of ideological biases from BOTH the right and the LEFT. I would personally say that most secondary school texts I have seen tend to be more lefty, but perhaps the awareness raised by the recent kerfuffle in Texas (more on that in another blog post) has raised awareness that, gosh darn it, there actually is a lefty slant to teaching out kids about Caeser Chazez, Martin Luther King, and Barrack Obama, while minimizing George Washington, Dwight Eisenhower and Ronald Reagan....gee, ya think?