The Importance of History in the Classroom
The subject of history in the classroom and what students are learning or not learning has been the subject of recent polls. While I am not a favorite of poll results basic history information seems to have been lost in the classrooms of today. The history of our country is important and it is important that students learn basic historical facts and events that shaped our country.
A recent poll indicated that only 25% of those who responded knew who the name of the first President of the United States. The one result raises questions not only of what is being taught but how it is being taught in our schools concerning our history. We are a young country compared to others in the world and we have a rich history like many others. Some may feel that learning about some events in our history is not important enough to be taught in our schools and some may even have textbooks which change certain events. Changing events and the environment in which they occurred is unacceptable.
Our short history has seen many issues which shaped who we are as a country and it can have an impact on what our country will be in the future. To understand where we need to go as a country we must first understand from where we came as a country. Our rich history should be taught in such a way as to understand the events and issues that shaped them. From our beginnings as a country to where we are today our country had some major events. Some examples are the Revolutionary War, War of 1812, the Civil War, World War I and World War II.
Leading our country in these periods and through these events have been several Presidents. The events noted in the previous paragraph are important as they had an impact on who we are as individuals and who we are as a country. To either ignore these events or reword them to be politically correct today would be wrong. I am not implying that this is occurring but the results of the poll cited in the beginning of this article raises questions as to what is being taught surrounding the subject of history.
The events previously cited each had significant reasons either for our involvement or actions that we took as a country. Granted we were not officially a country when the Revolutionary War began but we were developing as a country and we had the basic elements of a country as evidenced by the Declaration of Independence. The Declaration of Independence is the one single document that exhibited our will to make our own decisions separate from any other country. Those who came to our country in the early days had visions of a better life for themselves, their families and friends. When that vision was threatened decisions were made to change the path on which our young country was headed.
We as a country have been through much and it is important for those who will grow to be the leaders of tomorrow understand our past. This is what teaching about our history is all about. Teaching history as part of our school system is important but what is taught is just as important. Today there is great effort to be politically correct for fear of saying the wrong thing about issues of the past. Those who create the textbooks for our schools must understand they need to be less worried about being politically correct and present the facts as they happened. It is also important to identify in history classes as well as others that all the facts be presented not just a portion of them. Information which is left out of any topic in our schools can and will affect how the leaders of tomorrow will form a position on the issues that come before them.