The author lives in Goleta.
I read the recent Sunday Voices question: “Does American history need reframing?” Both responders expressed their views with passion, but it was apparent that one of them had been educated by a failing system. Therefore I think the Voices question should have been: “Does American history need to be taught accurately in all our educational institutions, kindergarten through doctorate?
The answer is yes!
The indoctrination that students are now receiving at all levels is so one-sided and inaccurate that they have no idea about what made this nation such a great place to live.
When students at all levels are asked basic questions about our country, they look dumbfounded and seem to wonder why anyone even asks. They don’t even know what country we revolted against to achieve our independence. Naming the King of England at that time, or naming the major leaders in the struggle for freedom seems impossible for far too large a percentage of the students coming from our “educational system.” I could recite example after example, such as not knowing the difference between the Civil War and the Revolutionary War, or even knowing when World War II started and what it was about. They are clueless because they are not exposed to an accurate, unemotional history of our great nation.
In past years, American history education began with learning about the oppressive turmoil in Europe that led to the first settlement at Jamestown in 1607 and the arrival of the pilgrims in 1620. Students were taught that the reasons for their coming to America were to escape oppression, to find religious freedom and to have economic opportunity. It also covered the hardships in those early years, and the friendship and help given the settlers by Native Americans. The plight of the indigenous Americans, when our increasing population began to encroach on their land, was also covered, as was the horror of slavery and the awful inequities it imposed on black people.
The newfound freedom called hundreds of thousands to cross the Atlantic, resulting in formation of the 13 colonies under British rule; that rule became unacceptably oppressive. Students learned about the intolerable British rule and why the colonies issued the Declaration of Independence. The Revolutionary War, the writing of the U.S. Constitution and the following history of our nation was taught in detail.
In the referenced Sunday Voices question, responses stated a major concern was that our educational system didn’t emphatically teach of the hate and evil treatment given people of color, or that our nation was basically evil for those early sins. The desire was to have history taught in such a way as to cast America as an evil nation, and to emphasize all the bad things that occurred in its past.
Well, let’s look at history in that regard. The rapidly evolving western civilization recognized the need for reform of the atrocious systems of slavery the world had seen for thousands of years. Yes, the world, with all types and colors of people acting as slave owners. Starting in the 1500s, pressure in Europe began to build and laws were passed to abolish slavery. In America, the same started fairly soon after righteous settlers saw its horrors. Looking back, it is easy to say it took too long to abolish slavery in America, but decent people persisted and their position was made stronger when the Declaration of Independence pronounced all men are created equal. This declaration and the U.S. Constitution were the framework for the abolition of slavery.
When independence was achieved, work started on framing our Constitution. The south wanted slavery and the north did not. Compromises were worked out so the 13 colonies could become a single nation, even though slavery was permitted in southern states. If no compromise had been reached and two nations had been formed, one with slavery and one without, how long would it have taken to abolish slavery in the south? Much longer than it actually took!
Black hero Frederick Douglass spoke of the Constitution often when giving speeches about ending slavery. Are students taught that skin color was never mentioned in the Constitution? It is a document for fair governance of all the people!
In 1854, a group met in Wisconsin to create the modern Republican Party, which was formed with the express purpose of ending slavery. Within six years, Republican Abraham Lincoln was elected president. His emancipation proclamation and the north’s civil war victory freed all people in America. I doubt that most modern students are taught that Republicans ended slavery and the Democrats fought fiercely to keep it.
Beginning in the 1960s, the educational system began to ignore the real history of America, and now it has become a system of politically correct indoctrination. It is now a voice for feel-good ideologies wasting valuable learning time studying LGBTQ lifestyles, women’s studies, ethnic studies, and many other special-interest subjects.
While some of these subjects merit compassionate discussions in normal social studies or civics classes, spending hours in special classes is ridiculous. More importantly, these special classes seek to establish victim groups to further divide our nation into voting blocs as promoted by corrupt politicians. The “victim groups,” and even some of their group leaders, don’t realize they are being used and supported by big-money Anti-American power grabbers.
Get education focused on facts and get back to basics. It is time to concentrate on teaching math, science and English, thereby giving students the tools needed to successfully function in the world and in the life endeavors they choose. It is also highly important that they get an accurate historical account of the formation of our country. They need to understand the values of liberty and freedom, and the needs for individual responsible behavior and self-reliance. These were the basis for our nation’s founding and its success.
Teach facts, not opinions, about the development of our great nation. To do otherwise is unfair to our children and our wonderful country.