American students deserve free history and civic education from the political agenda

By Jordan Adams for RealClear Public Affairs

Across the political spectrum, Americans are recognizing the importance of not only school choice but also what students actually learn in school. The elected representatives have also finally taken notice. In Michigan, the state legislature has proposed two bills that would address how American history and civics are taught.

Unfortunately, some teachers want to tell students that they should understand American history by looking primarily at racism, injustice, and oppression. The phrase “critical race theory” (CRT) has been used primarily in academia to describe this filter in terms of history and civic instruction.

This educational approach, however, is erroneous and myopic. Such an approach can directly work racism and revenge to correct past real or perceived injustices. In this view, two are wrong To do Go to the right.

It is a significant moment to object to the critical race theory in education. Policy makers who have faced dishonest and racist teachings are showing enthusiasm and courage. As millions of American parents have expressed, these policymakers are to be commended.

But it is not enough to oppose anything, not for the education of millions of students and especially not for political support. One must offer an alternative – which is interesting because it is true and good.

So what should K-12 American students learn about their country?

Related: Mothers explode critical racism theory and encouraged to call for ‘mass exit’ from public schools

First, the answer should not be pushed into another extreme, teaching a hegeographic account of American history that hides all the stains of the nation. Fortunately, this is a flaw that Michigan legislature bills can so wisely avoid.

Of course, if time and resources were endless, students would learn every detail truth about their country. But just thirteen years of schooling means making difficult decisions about what to include and what to exclude.

Currently, many schools only feature failure in America while deleting its success. It distorts the truth of American history. People with a fair mind see that a political lens is not appropriate, because it imposes lies on the hearts and minds of students.

Instead, let us ask, “Which concepts of American history and civics have shaped the student world the most?”

The list of answers is impressive and balanced – balanced because they tell the truth about historical events.

Students must learn that America was founded as the first country in history based on an idea: the idea that every person is equal in their dignity, humanity and natural rights; That government exists only to defend this right; And people should govern themselves while respecting the rights of others.

They must learn that, if measured by almost any standard, the level of freedom, peace, and prosperity in America is unprecedented in the history of world history. Admitting this, they should carefully study the documents responsible for these achievements.

And they need to learn about those famous personalities and the millions of ordinary Americans who have made great sacrifices to defend the ideas and institutions that have allowed for such success.

Related: Mothers explode critical racism theory and encouraged to call for ‘mass exit’ from public schools

While students need to learn that humans are capable of doing well, they also need to understand that human nature is still limited, flawed and prone to do wrong.

In fact, students must also learn about the practice of slavery, the founders’ views on slavery, the Civil War, Reconstruction, Jim Crowe, secession, the 1921 Tulsa Race genocide, the civil rights movement, and the efforts and successes of Americans. Race and gender as they looked for the truth of America’s founding policy.

This is not a either-or-not issue. All the tragedies and victories, the bad and the good, the mole and the beauty of American history – all of these have shaped our world significantly and are all worth teaching. Teachers should ask questions from every angle of the historical debate and where possible historical figures should present the best arguments of each side using their own words.

Instead of drawing broad brush strokes, students should focus on specific words and actions of a particular person.

State legislatures have a responsibility to ensure that American students are taught a history free from distorting political lenses and cherry-picked information. Prohibition of texts and texts that promote critical race theory is an important part of fulfilling this obligation. But that doesn’t mean pushing the curriculum to another extreme and ignoring America’s failures.

Only by focusing on the truth can we heal and unite America.

Jordan Adams is a citizen education specialist in Hillsdale College K-12 Education. He advocated for civic education reform, provided history and civic education to teachers throughout the country, and led the development of the Hillsdale 1776 curriculum.

Syndicated with permission from RealClearWire.

Opinions expressed by contributors and / or content partners do not reflect their own and not necessarily those of The Political Insider.

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