History is the mother of all learning. However, recent years and especially the rise of social media saw the rise of conspiracy theories and a lot of misinformation. Recent social and medical events testify that we have started losing contact with what reality is. In light of these events, let’s ask ourselves who decides what history we teach.
Is the History we Learn/Teach Right?
The issue is that history is written by winners. Unlike teaching foreign languages to kids, there is no way to quickly check the facts. For most of history, there were no cameras and no recordings. So, how do we know what events took place for real, and how do we know that the history we learn is really what took place?
Needless to say, there are mechanisms to prevent false information from appearing in textbooks issued for educational needs. While your local library may have issues that have undergone little to no formal checking, actual school books are checked meticulously to ensure that no mistakes and false information are present there. In fact, there are at least four levels of checking before a book is published.
Who Decides The History We Teach?
Although most European countries have standardized history curricula, US states decide among themselves. In fact, every US state has a unique approach to what is being taught in their schools, and they are likely to be somewhat different between themselves. However, this does not mean that what is taught is not true: it simply means that different social events are covered. With this in mind, let’s see who decides what history and historical events will be taught in schools in the US:
Committee of Educators
The committee of educators is the highest educational body in any US state. A Committee of educators can propose changes to the curriculum and has a role in its revision as well. They are there to ensure the quality of education as it is provided to the students in the particular state, and they control the quality of delivery. They also have a say in how standardized tests are formed in their particular state.
Curriculum specialists exist both education institution-wide and state-wide. These professionals take the standard curriculum and revise it every decade or so. In doing so, they ensure that the curriculum has a cohesion of its own and ensure that there are no gaps and holes in the knowledge students should acquire.
Academics have a big say in what will be taught. After all, they write the history books we so often read. In addition to this, many college and University professors (especially if tenured) have full freedom to organize their courses the way they like – and have full liberty to interpret events the way they see fit.
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In some cases, community members may have a say in what will be taught in schools. The most common example is that of genesis vs. evolution. While some US states teach the Biblical genesis, others teach evolution. This is usually the case with some controversial topics and may be left to the community to decide.
Although history is the mother of all knowledge and learning, learning the right history is necessary to prevent the dangerous lack of knowledge that has led so many people astray and has made us question our reality. History, as taught in public schools, is a standardized subject and cannot be changed easily. In fact, a wide scope of bodies and individuals would have to agree for any changes to the curriculum to take place, especially state-wide. For these reasons, we are positive that the history we teach is clear and to the best of – the knowledge of all professionals out there.
A highly educated individual who likes investing in himself, Carl Hill is an overachiever. Constantly streamlining his work and finding ways to optimize his day, he is motivated and wants to achieve more. Continuing education and success go hand in hand, but so do being informed and learning to spot fake news when you see it.