Bad teaching is a common explanation given for the disastrously inadequate public education received by America’s most vulnerable populations. This is a myth. Aside from a few lemons who were notable for their rarity, the majority of teachers I worked with for nine years in New York City’s public school system were dedicated, talented professionals.Before joining the system I was mystified by the schools’ abysmal results.I too assumed there must be something wrong with the teaching. This could not have been farther from the truth.
Teaching French and Italian in NYC high schools I finally figured out why this was, although it took some time, because the real reason was so antithetical to the prevailing mindset. I worked at three very different high schools over the years, spanning a fairly representative sample. That was a while ago now, but the system has not improved since, as the fundamental problem has not been acknowledged, let alone addressed. It would not be hard, or expensive, to fix.
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I normally don’t comment on such articles because they tend to be the equivalent of picking low hanging fruit but this one needed a rebuttal. The author is completely clueless to not only her own history but of the history being taught in the American education system. Firstly the fact that the author had no knowledge that the school district she attended was segregated is a testament to her own failings. Any person who truly loves history especially local history would know these things. The fact that your school was white-only for a period of time should not have to be spoon fed to you. This is the overarching message of the author though: spoon feeding history.
Its true that history often omits people and events because the classes in school are only able to cover certain amounts of material effectively.This is why students typically learn local history, national history, along with courses on American government. The idea that black or “poc” individuals are being left out on purpose for nefarious reasons is preposterous. Take the women in this movie for example. They provide an interesting and but largely behind the scenes part of the history of the space program. In schools they will not likely be talked about unless there’s being a concerted effort to include black stories just for the sake of including black stories. Did you learn any of the people in the programs name during history classes besides John Glenn? I would bet you didn’t.
The author’s main problem is that she does not love history for histories sake but instead simply wants the history she prefers spoon fed to her and others through the education system. This does not take into account the intense pressure to cover the basic materials pertinent for individuals who seek higher education in the US. Furthermore it can’t be expected that the school courses will cover all aspects that you desire. I for example love to study particular periods that are hardly covered especially in American history classes such as the Crusades, Ancient Chinese dynasties, Ancient Rome, etc.
Finally I feel the author is simply being disingenuous and seeing only from her narrow perspective. She claims that her school did not mention such icons like Nat Turner and Fredrick Douglass which is absurd unless she paid zero attention during her elementary history classes which were largely geared toward the Virginia SOL test. Nat Turner’s rebellion took place in Virginia so of course its mentioned in the curriculum and as someone who has taken the courses myself I can attest to his rebellion being mentioned.
What the author fails to realize is that not everyone will get their name in the history books, even those deserving. Not everyone can be mentioned because there’s simply not enough time. However, you are more than welcome to indulge in your fascination of the obscure historical happenings at your leisure like every other lover of history does.