Myths about Teaching History

“Last Fourth of July, my wife and I attended a brass band concert of toe-tapping patriotic music, including my favorite, John Philip Sousa’s “Liberty Bell March” and ending with his always popular “Stars and Stripes Forever.”

We enjoyed the concert, but throughout it, I kept thinking about the assertion a man made as he handed out copies of the U.S. Constitution to all concertgoers. With each copy he distributed, he opined, “Be sure to read this because it’s not being taught in school anymore.”

Really?

3 Responses to Myths about Teaching History

  1. Bob Huddleston says:

    Our grandson is a Life Scout. His father, our Eagle Scout son, likes to tell about the “myth” that evil schools do not teach the Pledge anymore. He has instructed and trained dozens of Cubs in the Scout Oath, Law, etc. The one thing all these 7 and 8 year olds know is the Pledge which they learned in kindergarten or 1st grade.

  2. Curtis Cook says:

    I went to school in northern New York during the 1970s, and I have no memory of specifically going over the Constitution article by article, so by that standard you could say that ‘not teaching the Constitution in school’ has a very long pedigree.

    We did, however, study Congress and its workings, the Presidency and presidential powers, and the Supreme Court and famous court cases. We went over the Reconstruction amendments when we studied the Civil War, the Prohibition/repeal and votes for women amendments when we covered the post-Great War period, and the Presidential Succession and votes for 18-year-olds amendments when we got to those eras. Way back in the 4th grade I participated in two mandatory ‘mock Senates’ in which we debated the Maine/Missouri Compromise of 1820 and the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850.

    So, if we studied the things that the Constitution covers, but not ‘The Constitution’ itself, would it be right to say the Constitution wasn’t taught in our district? To me it’s semantic quibbling, not a realistic statement, and I wonder if that’s the situation the pamphleteers Dr. Bryan mentions above are exploiting for the purposes of sensationalism.

    Alternatively, perhaps my memory is bad, or perhaps the pamphleteers are following Hitler’s admonition that if you’re going to lie, lie big, as big lies are more likely to be believed.

    Good article.

  3. Mary Miley says:

    Your school experience sounds like mine, Curtis, except that I went to school in the 50s and 60s.

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