(Serious blog alert, the funny will return tomorrow…)
Before anyone launches into a response just by the title let me put this discussion into context for you. The other day in a history class we got into a discussion about the limited time you have to teach American History during an academic year, it is nearly impossible to cover the entire span of American History in that time. Personally I know in my high school we didn’t even make it to WWII before the end of the year came.
In the discussion the point was made that some school districts are now asking people to add more things for black history month and women’s history month into their curriculum. We began to discuss this and there were two main arguments I wanted to go over before seeing what you guys thought.
Argument 1- On one side you have people that feel that it is important to take time to highlight each of these groups in their curriculum. Being that history is written predominantly by white men, minorities often get ignored and marginalized. By setting aside time and teaching something other than the history of white males (with some other people sprinkled in here or there) it allows more students to connect to the subject, they don’t feel left out as a gender/race, and people get some long deserved credit.
Basically it boils down that there is more to Black/Women’s history than Susan B. Anthony, Harriet Tubman, George Washington Carver, and a handful of others that really ever get taught.
Argument 2- While significant contributions by anyone shouldn’t be ignored, when you have a tight time frame things should be kept to the major facts of the formation and growth of this country, which like it or not has been done primarily by white men. Not to short change the contributions of others but because white males have been in power they have been the driving force and major figures up until the last fifty years. (We are not talking about the study of labor but the study of leadership… Don’t go all Marx on me.) It doesn’t make it right but it is the facts and in order to make sure people have the right education we shouldn’t deviate and teach about people of “lessor” importance.
When looking at education this is an important issue, what is the message you want to relay to children? The debate was rather fierce in the class. I personally can see the validity to both side of the coin and I am so glad that I am not going to be a teacher.
So what do you think, is either school of thought right, is it insulting, what are the solutions?