This is big. The history of America (as opposed to simply “American history”) is a fabulous story in spite of the many bumps encountered along the way. It is a history of which to be proud to have inherited, to be a part of preserving, and to be a part of creating for future generations. Yet, sadly, as Secretary Bennett states below, it is not only our school children’s worst subject but it is being steadily illegitimized.
(Update: Links to purchase the books. Amazon.com & Barnes and Noble. No pecuniary interest in this — just an advocate for a better education in history. And go to the sample site for the online component of the history series as it would be used.)
Secretary Bennett stated: “History is our nation’s school children’s worst subject. And yet, the history of America is the greatest story of the modern era. It should not be boring, it should not be dumbed-down, and it should not be politicized. It is the story of a great experiment—what Abraham Lincoln called a ‘proposition.’ It is the story of many noble efforts to live up to that proposition, sometimes failing, more often, succeeding. This great adventure is told the best way I know how, chronologically, excitingly, honestly. ‘Once Upon A Time’ can still be an invitation to our youth and there is no greater ‘Once Upon A Time’ than ours. It is the dream of a lifetime for me to have a textbook in our nation’s schools explaining all of this—and with a most exciting curriculum to accompany it. And to do so with the leader in excellence in education publishing, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, is a special privilege.”
The Texas Board of Education — even at this time — is in the process of approving new history books (see
State Board of Education — Revisionist History in Progress) but there may yet be an opportunity to influence them toward a good history: which this is. I have Parts I & II and find them to be a wonderful read and am convinced that they represent an authoritative work of history. If I had the money, I would gladly donate the entire curriculum to our local school district.
And I think our local schools should be encouraged to adopt this series even if not approved by the SBOE. I am increasingly convinced that at the feet of poor education in general and of history in particular can be laid the lacks of ambition, patriotism and sense of public service among an all too large portion of our population both young and old. I would never stoop to condemning entire generations, but from my life and professional perspective I have to say that all too large a segment of our populace fails in those areas of ambition, patriotism and sense of public service.
Where do YOU stand? Will you call your school board members today? Is knowledge of the history of this great nation important in your mind? If it is, then you’ll do something about it.