Thursday, July 28

HISTORY TEACHING BEING SHORT-CHANGED IN SCHOOLS (BUT WHAT ABOUT IN OUR HOMES?)

Betsy Newmark of "Betsy's Page" has written a well-thought post building on the observations of columnist David Broder and popular historian David McCullough about the dismal state of "history-teaching in our country." Betsy cites the transcendence of social studies over history teaching, along with the advent of politically-correct revisionism, as among the trends in education that have relegated history teaching to the backwaters of public education.

While I do not disagree with Betsy's observations (or those of Broder and McCullough), I would add to their respective theses the fact that far too many parents are dropping the ball by not reading history, being conversant in it, and keeping history books on the bookshelves in their homes and encouraging their children (and grandchildren) to develop a curiosity about the past and its influences on the present and the future.

Socrates said: Know thyself.

But how does one come to understand ones self absent understanding the context in which one lives and its historical underpinnings? Parents, not just professional teachers, must assume this obligation in their child's development.

As Cicero wrote:

To be ignorant of what occurred before you were born is to remain always a child. For what is the worth of human life, unless it is woven into the life of our ancestors by the records of history.