When you read an elementary or high school history book you get the same general idea. In 1492 Christopher Columbus sailed the ocean blue. These books have to follow the standards called National History Guidelines. Should we change these guidelines to reveal the not so hidden facts about history?
This topic is very controversial. There are many reasons why and why not we should teach by the History Guidelines. Using them means controlling childrens minds, however without them we could raise new topics in history and re-educate teachers.
How do you control someones thinking? Actually I feel that you cant. If you control the knowledge that you teach someone you can impose one point of view of the way you want him or her to see it. It is a very important observation that if you can control history, if you can decide whats in peoples history and what is left out, you can order their thinking (Hulot 07). The people who can accomplish this can and will control what you know about the past and your knowledge in your future.
It is true that we cant sometimes control history, but we have the power to educate youths about the hidden truth so they may become more independent thinkers.
Imagine a child to become an independent thinker. Wow. Imagine how many more Martin Luther Kings, and Thomas Paines their would be in the future. After all they did have a distorted picture of America and knew about the hidden facts.
Lets just take one point in history and imagine it eas taught without these guidelines. Right now you probably believe that to celebrate Columbus Day is patriotic. To doubt Columbus Day would be unpatriotic (Zinn 07). With the way youth thinks is in 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue. This story is about as complete as Swiss cheese. This is because hidden facts are not mentioned in these guidelines. When people celebrate Columbus Day your celebrating the discovery of America, his progress of maritime exploration, and a very religious man conquering in the name of God.
If you believe that the above is true than you have also fallen into these guideline traps. A schoolteacher in Oregon has undertaking a crusade to change the way the Columbus story is taught. He tells how he starts a new history class about Columbus. He goes iver to a girl in the front row and takes her purse. She says, You took my purse. The teacher responds. No I discovered it. (Zinn 09)
How does someone being Columbus discover America if the Native Indians were their 20,000 years before. I certainly dont see at how it was discovered. What did Columbus say anyway? Gee, weve just discovered the land you have been living on for you. Your welcome.
Progress yes, but at what cost? (Chenney 01) Progress back in 1492 was earth shattering from Columbuss voyages. Columbus proved that the earth wasnt flat, and that it was indeed round. He also wrote a whole new book for maritime exploration. What was the price for this. I will tell you. Countless lives, as many stars that are in the galaxy wasted. Slavery brought to a whole new mountaintop, which used to lie flat on a plane. Yes Columbus made progress. What about the Indians that when they didnt meet their daily quota of gold for Columbus that had there arms cut off. Columbus said There are very gentle and bare no arms. For they do not no what violence or war is. With 100 of these men I could subject them to do what ever I want them to do. (Morrison 079)
Yes I believe that progress has to be measured. When it is measured I feel that the truth has to be out in the open for everyone to judge. From what Ive read my measurement of Columbuss progress is from the point of view that he is a vilian and most definitely not a hero.
Lets consider that these guidelines are removed. What will happen to the teachers? What will become of the old and new textbooks?
There really was no controversy in the profession, among teachers or anyone else, except for the conservative critics (Lewis 01). The teachers dont see a problem in which the way they teach by a majority. Teachers probably think that the more they tell these hidden facts about history, than the more a student will have less support for his/her own country. Another point to be taken into consideration is that the space for teaching these hidden facts about history just isnt available.
To add these facts to the history books would extend the school year (Bruer 01). I feel that the school year wouldnt be extended because we could take out the not son important facts and replace them with the hidden facts.
Altouth the standards for United States history neglect to mention that George Washington was out first president, or that James Maddison was the father of the constituion, they do manage to include a great deal about the Klu-Klux-Klan (wich appears 17 times), and the Great Depression (cited 25 times) (Chenney 03).
If one aspect is to teach at a higher level that means courses in methodology, historiography, and bibliography, will have to be taught (Burnet 02). Many high school teachers get none or little of these teachings in their college education. They have to take a course for one year just on how to teach. It appears that teachers are generally only a few days ahead of the students that they are trying to teach.
With all there is to accomplish by these guidelines, it is miracle teachers know what they are talking about. When you have to teach 30 different points and views in history throughout a whole school year, how would you know all you have to teach unless there are the guidelines you have to follow by the text book in front you.
If we did allow these guidelines to be abolished, would we have to reform a teachers own education? Of course we would. Their schooling would have to probably be extended by one-two years at the colleges could teach these hidden fact to the teachers. Different courses would have to be taken to view these situations in the 20th century political correctives and not of how it was politically correct at the time for Columbuss actions against the Indians, and Blacks.
What new topics will be discovered, and how would it cost to change these public school textbooks (Bournet 03). The new topics will be endless possibilities. Sammuel Elliott Morisson wrote a book called Christopher Columbus The Mariner. During the construction of this book Columbuss original journal from all his voyages to the New World was discovered. In the first two weeks of the journal entered it was discovered that one word appeared 75 times: GOLD (Zinn 04). The discovery and transferring of Columbuss journal into English for the 20th century brought up many other new discoveries that soon we will be forced into writing this point in history over.
College students buy their own textbooks therefore it costs little or nothing for a college to change its text. These texts are also written for a more mature audience as well. High schools on the other hand provide students with these textbooks. These text because of public funding for schools, are used until they basically disintegrate. They are also written for a general overview of a particular point in history.
A lot of people are talking about what we should and should not do about these guidelines. When all the facts are weighed what should we do? Continue to hide these facts about history from our children? Or possibly expose their minds to a few hell raisers and let each child generate their own idea about history? When the children eventually learn these facts about the past wont they become even more rebellious against us? After all George Orwell once wrote, Who controls the present controls the future, and who controls the present controls the past (Hullot 04) By presenting the youth with these hidden facts we will be able to see a better past later on in the future.