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What history should we teach our children?

Last month, the Jefferson County school board in suburban Denver backed away from a plan to examine the curricula of advanced placement courses in American history. The board had disapproved of tests that didn’t promote “respect for authority” and that condoned “civil disorder.” This prompted protests from teachers and students, who said the review amounted to censorship. Hundreds of students walked out of classes.

The Colorado controversy was the latest flare-up in the culture wars, which have often focused on what students should learn about American history. Some argue texts and teachers should focus on the benefits of the free enterprise system and individual rights, and should instill patriotic attitudes. Others emphasize critical thinking, including criticism of the founding fathers for talking about liberty while owning slaves.

Should history teach students that we are one nation? Or should the focus be on our diversity? Is there a way to teach both?

America’s Great Seal, which you can see on the back of any dollar bill, includes the Latin words E Pluribus Unum—out of many, one. The words appeared on the first design for the Great Seal, which came out of a committee whose members included John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson, three of the five men who had been on the committee that drafted the Declaration of Independence. How to turn the words on the Seal (and the words in the Declaration) has been debated throughout American history.



I believe we should teach the truth about the people and events that formed the United States from its beginning. We should include not only what they did but their reasons for doing it. Whenever possible we should use direct quotes. We should also teach the story of our unique composition of people from many nations who came here seeking freedom and opportunity. And they are still coming.
It is important to teach history as it happened. No rewriting, no political agendas. To do this we must use the original documents whenever possible. We may teach 'from the negative'. Give our students credit and allow them to reason for themselves. They will not disappoint us.
I worked in Colonial Williamsburg for over a year and it was one of the most memorable experiences in my life. As a student you hear about it, but it never really sinks in. My son had the opportunity to speak to an archeologist in Jamestown and he walked him through the history. The coolest part was the bones of a colonist who had been shot clear through his leg with a musket ball. He unfortunately died of gangrene. To change history and turn it into a revision then students might as well skip history all together and just read the Cliff Notes. History is alive and filled with bloody massacres and wars. I cannot imagine a book or a revision that can give that kind of real life experience. We are so busy putting students in this kind and gentle world and wrap them in bubble wrap that do not know how to be children and problem solve on their own. I do not support revisionism at all.
We should never be ashamed of our legacy as Americans. No people or nation have been perfect, but we stand as the freest people in history. We should continue to uphold the virtues that made our nation great and continue to honor the men of character who shaped us, uphold our constitution and laws, and ask God to help us continue to be wise stewards with the freedom He has given us.
I think it would be interesting and worthwhile to apply issues of the past to those of today and future. in other words, using the thinking and expressed views of the developers of our country and apply to discussions of the present issues and probable issues in the future. example - slavery in the past, and race relations of today; willingness to fight for establishing this country and willingness of today's leaders to fight to protect our freedom and ways of living, how to debate the issues in congress and still move ahead today

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