Recollections of being taught History in public education

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Recollections of being taught History in public education

#1  Postby Jango » Dec 17, 2014 7:58 pm

I graduated high school in 2004. The most recent event in history, U.S. or World, that I had been taught about was the Vietnam War. I eventually came upon history being interesting intellectually to me many years later and it has been one hell of a humbling free fall from what I had been religiously taught for 12 years. My wife is a history teacher and she makes the logical point that teachers only have so much time to cover such an expanse of time in recorded human history. But having looked through some "more recent" textbooks, the way the history is written is not representative of the events they describe -- much is omitted, mostly things considered controversial and/or bad.

I'm not suggesting teaching kids nothing but the controversial and/or bad, just that they get a more well-balanced and representation of what has happened before.
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Re: Recollections of being taught History in public education

#2  Postby Jerome Da Gnome » Dec 17, 2014 8:13 pm

Have you seen the movie Idiocracy? The movie is a mock, but it holds true in one regard, it is easiest to control an ignorant population.
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Re: Recollections of being taught History in public education

#3  Postby Jango » Dec 17, 2014 8:34 pm

Yes, I have seen that movie, and I agree wholeheartedly with your analysis of it.

My dad used to say, "Don't try to pull the wool over my eyes," to me when he had caught me in a lie or deception. Well, because of never being told about something that was an unknown unknown to me, the wool had certainly been over my eyes, which isn't to say that it still isn't 'cause ignorance is of an unknown quantity. But I see many people that are as oblivious as I used to be but are much, much older than I am. My father and men his age have told me stories about having to do nuclear air raid drills by hiding under their desks. And I've seen educational films from the era that would be looked at as communist today and rightfully so -- the one I remember the most is the line the cantankerous lookin' old hag pulled about not questioning authority and to do as they were told. I was like, Woah. I'll make my own decisions, thank you very much ;)
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Re: Recollections of being taught History in public education

#4  Postby Willie71 » Dec 18, 2014 2:53 am

Jango wrote:Yes, I have seen that movie, and I agree wholeheartedly with your analysis of it.

My dad used to say, "Don't try to pull the wool over my eyes," to me when he had caught me in a lie or deception. Well, because of never being told about something that was an unknown unknown to me, the wool had certainly been over my eyes, which isn't to say that it still isn't 'cause ignorance is of an unknown quantity. But I see many people that are as oblivious as I used to be but are much, much older than I am. My father and men his age have told me stories about having to do nuclear air raid drills by hiding under their desks. And I've seen educational films from the era that would be looked at as communist today and rightfully so -- the one I remember the most is the line the cantankerous lookin' old hag pulled about not questioning authority and to do as they were told. I was like, Woah. I'll make my own decisions, thank you very much ;)


What you are taught in school is BS. It's revisionist history. Look at the current senate report on torture, and how people are defending the U.S. they have been sold a lie, hook, line, and sinker. They cannot accept that they live under an extremely oppressive regime with an extensive history of human rights violations. "We" aren't the good guys defending ourselves from the bad guys, we are the bad guys. In Vietnam, the people weren't freed, they were subjected to a tyrant worse than the previous leader, and between one and two million civilians were killed by american forces. That's approaching Nazi Germany level genocide. The U.S. was in Iraq for about two decades before 9/11. 9/11 wasn't an attack on the citizens, it was a symbolic attack on the power dynamics of the petrodollar, which was oppressing the Middle East in america's favour. The U.S. list about 2500 civilians that day. Over 200,000 civilians in the Middle East died at the hands of american soldiers prior to this. It's all a propoganda campaign, and in the social sciences, it's pretty much common knowledge that the American propoganda campaign is a near mirror of the nazi germany propaganda leading to WWII.
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Re: Recollections of being taught History in public education

#5  Postby Jerome Da Gnome » Dec 18, 2014 3:02 am

Willie71 wrote: They cannot accept that they live under an extremely oppressive regime with an extensive history of human rights violations.


Lets not go overboard, just north of us they put people on trial for things they say in public.

Listen dude, we are the most giving empire in the history of the world. We took man to the moon, and gave away the technology.
We spend our resources to feed, protect and educate the world.
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Re: Recollections of being taught History in public education

#6  Postby DougC » Dec 18, 2014 3:05 am

Yea.
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Re: Recollections of being taught History in public education

#7  Postby Willie71 » Dec 18, 2014 5:32 am

Jerome Da Gnome wrote:
Willie71 wrote: They cannot accept that they live under an extremely oppressive regime with an extensive history of human rights violations.


Lets not go overboard, just north of us they put people on trial for things they say in public.

Listen dude, we are the most giving empire in the history of the world. We took man to the moon, and gave away the technology.
We spend our resources to feed, protect and educate the world.


There is no doubt there have been some great achievements, but they don't erase the human rights violations. It isn't a simple add and subtract equation. Getting into donations compared to GDP, or compared to defense spending, or per capita gets a bit more involved.

Not saying there haven't been positives, but the Reagan/Bush policies resulted in some serious horrors, many of which are just now being made public to the American population, although others have known for quite some time.
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Re: Recollections of being taught History in public education

#8  Postby Darwinsbulldog » Dec 18, 2014 5:56 am

The USA has done some really shit things in the past. Everywhere, but particularly in South America. The cold war paranoia against anything that smelt even mildly socialist was treated as communist, so the CIA supported outright fascist governments or opposition groups, thus making the US a major threat to democracy and safely in Sth America, and to a lessor extent, the whole world.
In fact, during the McCarthy era, the US was even a severe threat to itself. At it's best, the USA has much to admire. But it does have a very dark side and to deny that is dangerously naive. i think the fact that the US is one of the most religious of the developed nations is in part to blame. There is only one moral code, and that is how America views things. This has not only led to hypocrisy, but a great deal of resentment, and even hate, in many parts of the world.
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Re: Recollections of being taught History in public education

#9  Postby igorfrankensteen » Dec 18, 2014 6:26 am

The most important thing to recognize about History, is how much the present affects and changes it. What actually happened doesn't change of course, but what people think it all meant sure does. Sometimes that's due to intentional propagandizing, more more often it's due to the emotional sense of the particular era the Historians who write the history grow up in.

While events are unfolding, the people in power at the time, will try their damnedest to make it appear that they are making the right choices for all the right reasons. The news reporters often have access to big stories, dependent on how much loyalty and cooperation they give to the leadership. A lot of the time, as they are manipulating and lying, the people with the ability to give us the real facts, are usually absolutely certain that their lies and coverups are for the best.

Anyway, that means that the first version of pretty much anything that happens, wont be remotely complete.

And some agendas are older than others. Here in Virginia, even though I was taught my first History in the 1960's, it was still heavily influenced by continued resentment over the North winning the Civil War a hundred years before. The textbooks I had to work with were all written under the influence of the flush of World War 2 victory, and the myth of American invincibility, and innate goodness.

Social mores play a part too. I grew up during some of the most intense censorship ever. Not just sex, but all forms of violence as well. We didn't find out that there WAS such a thing as civilian casualties caused by the GOOD guys, and we never were allowed to realize what the bombs dropped on the enemy were doing to them. For that matter, we were constantly told that our own troops were being thoroughly cared for after their service too. PTSD hadn't been named yet.

Until halfway through the Viet Nam war, we received a sanitized version of what was happening over there, in the name of patriotism and support for our men in uniform. Even today, there is a huge section of the populace who have been sold on the idea that even admitting the possibility that the US has ever committed any atrocities or crimes, is an act of pure traitorous evil. They actually think that the reason we lost in 'Nam, was because we DID start to hear the truth about that mess.

Still, it's important to really learn the lesson of all that. That lesson means more than that you can't trust the first version of History you hear. It also means you shouldn't trust the second or third version completely either. Leave your mental door open for further information, and instead of trying to learn exact opinions of "great men," try to develop a thorough grasp of human nature from it all. That way, you are much more likely to recognize bull puck propaganda, as it's being spouted, no matter who's side is spouting it.
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Re: Recollections of being taught History in public education

#10  Postby Scar » Dec 18, 2014 6:34 am

My mother told me that her generations wasn't taught about Hitler, the holocaust etc. AT ALL (history lessons just stopped at that point). People were so ashamed they tried to just sweep it under the carpet. It took the young people getting adament about wanting to know before they broke their silence.
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Re: Recollections of being taught History in public education

#11  Postby I'm With Stupid » Dec 18, 2014 7:00 am

There's no subject in any school that politicians try to interfere with more than history. You don't get any politicians campaigning to make trigonometry more prominent in maths class, or that art class should talk more about cubism. Even science escapes relatively unscathed, with the exception of a few controversial (to some) issues. But history is so mixed up with national identity that anything approaching an accurate representation of events is overruled. Personally, I think every country should make it a rule that the history syllabus is decided by an expert from a different country.

I thought ours was a bit insular, which is probably the same as what they do in the USA. So we learned about the Romans, the Norman invasion, the Spanish Armada, the War of the Roses, the gunpowder plot, the various kings and queens and corresponding eras, the industrial revolution, WW1&2, and quite a bit about social history of each time period. In primary school, we also did the cool stuff like the Egyptians and Aztec, but the vast majority of it was purely events on the one island. Actually, almost exclusively England. Certainly nothing about the UK's actions around the world, colonialism, slavery, etc, except to maybe provide context for something else, or in passing.
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Re: Recollections of being taught History in public education

#12  Postby Jango » Dec 19, 2014 2:56 am

Yes, I have observed that as well -- heavily regulated and sanitized versions of moments without any real introduction of context, internal planning or often enough, the results of the actions carried out by Washington (or whatever capitol from whatever country).

The further away from public education I get, the more this George Carlin segment rings truer and truer:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rsL6mKxtOlQ
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Re: Recollections of being taught History in public education

#13  Postby laklak » Dec 19, 2014 4:42 am

My daughter came home from school in maybe the 6th grade, they'd been studying the U.S. Civil War. She know all about Honest Abe, Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglas, and U.S. Grant. Didn't have a clue who Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee or Stonewall Jackson was. She said "I'm glad we won that war". This is in Florida. The third state to secede.
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Re: Recollections of being taught History in public education

#14  Postby Animavore » Dec 19, 2014 5:08 am

The English don't get taught much about the bad shit they did to other countries, including my own, in school I've heard. They also usually skip over the Celtic Britons and go straight to the Roman occupation sometimes only mentioning that barbarians lived there. They see this as the beginning of England as it is today.
The Romans didn't even affect their history that much.

In Ireland our history is very one-sided on the whole English occupation thing.
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Re: Recollections of being taught History in public education

#15  Postby Jango » Dec 19, 2014 5:09 am

Like religion, it gets 'em early on. I enjoyed reading James W. Loewen's Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong. What he wrote represented my public education experience in being taught history. I aimlessly walked around blind to everything that had been omitted from that experience until my history teacher wife made my ass aware of, "There's more to the story than what you've been told." Honestly, history was f'n boring in school. The reciting of names, places and dates. Dull-black-and-white-footage-with-no-audio-for-two-and-a-half-hours for hormonally imbalanced teenagers. Yay!

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Re: Recollections of being taught History in public education

#16  Postby Jango » Dec 19, 2014 5:20 am

Animavore wrote:The English don't get taught much about the bad shit they did to other countries, including my own, in school I've heard. They also usually skip over the Celtic Britons and go straight to the Roman occupation sometimes only mentioning that barbarians lived there. They see this as the beginning of England as it is today.
The Romans didn't even affect their history that much.

In Ireland our history is very one-sided on the whole English occupation thing.


Against, I presume.
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Re: Recollections of being taught History in public education

#17  Postby Animavore » Dec 19, 2014 7:12 pm

Jango wrote:
Animavore wrote:The English don't get taught much about the bad shit they did to other countries, including my own, in school I've heard. They also usually skip over the Celtic Britons and go straight to the Roman occupation sometimes only mentioning that barbarians lived there. They see this as the beginning of England as it is today.
The Romans didn't even affect their history that much.

In Ireland our history is very one-sided on the whole English occupation thing.


Against, I presume.


Obviously.
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Re: Recollections of being taught History in public education

#18  Postby Blood » Dec 19, 2014 11:50 pm

All that said, education in the USA is far more honest than it was 50-100 years ago. We at least acknowledge the endless lies and massacres to the Indians now. Back then it was: "Our brave Christian forefathers overcame the savages."
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Re: Recollections of being taught History in public education

#19  Postby Jango » Dec 20, 2014 2:16 am

That's what I was taught.
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Re: Recollections of being taught History in public education

#20  Postby Jerome Da Gnome » Dec 20, 2014 2:23 am

Blood wrote: Back then it was: "Our brave Christian forefathers overcame the savages."


Jango wrote:That's what I was taught.


I am calling bullshit. I was never taught that and I am older than you. From Maryland, where did they teach you different?
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