Home > Uncategorized > “What do they teach you kids these days?!”

“What do they teach you kids these days?!”

I remember hearing this question from my parents all the time growing up. Mainly from my dad, a far right conservative. My dad is a complete history buff and he would often quiz me on my knowledge of American history over dinner, making sure I would never end up on Jay Leno saying the first president of the United States was Abraham Lincoln. Talking about our perception of Texas today in class sparked this question for me.

What are kids learning these days? If history is the story of the victor, who are the victors today in Texas history classes?

Certainly not the enslaved people of 1800’s Texas. The more we read about Texas history, the more I realize how many holes there were in my middle school Texas History class. (Yes, middle school was a long time ago, but I haven’t forgotten that much.)

Being a brilliant finder of facts, I googled my heart out and found a recent article on the New York Times’ website. In March 2010, they reported on some radicle educational changes occurring in Austin. According to the article, the Texas Board of Education approved new social studies curriculum that would effect students across the state from elementary to high school. Many of the changes were criticized as supporting conservative agendas, and not the historical facts. One Texas legislator was so upset that she stormed out of a meeting saying, “They are going overboard. They are not experts, they are not historians. They are rewriting history, not only of Texas but of the United States and the world.”

Powerful words. But is she right? Where do we pick and choose to cut from history. It would be unrealistic to think that public school classes could teach all of World/US/Texas history. But what are the right events to highlight? Who do we put up in front of children and say, this person was important in history?

For me, as far as history is concerned, it should always be facts, without agendas attached. It’s disturbing to think that some legislators in Austin can literally rewrite text books as they see fit without the input of experts.

I’m going to attach the full article if anyone is interested in reading it.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/13/education/13texas.html

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Categories: Uncategorized
  1. February 1, 2011 at 10:35 pm

    That’s a really interesting thought. I remember being irked in my history classes when we didn’t reach something that I wanted to learn about. But how do we decide what should be taught? We definitely don’t have time for all of it. Who gets to decide what we cut out?

  2. 4lillie5
    February 8, 2011 at 12:09 pm

    It’s so interesting that you connected our class discussions and readings with current events in Texas Education. The Texas Board of Education has made some really infuriating choices lately (I agree with the woman who stormed out of a meeting) and it’s so sad to realize that this is just a continuation of the prejudice and the story of the victor that we’ve been reading about in class.

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