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  • Grade School (and maybe College) Blindness

    I am totally outraged when teachers always say "we beat rommel at El Alamein" or "We fought rommel on D-day" WTF??? He wasn't there, I understand as a figurehead and when the soldiers were fighting thats who they believed they were fighting, but we have hindsight. I'd absolutely hate to see teachers put forth bad information even if it is meant to be in a good nature.

    BTW for those that don't know (should be few), Rommel was having problems with his ulcer during El Alamein and was celebrating his wife's birthday during D-Day.

    Anyone else see anything like this anywhere?
    The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: if there is any reaction, both are transformed. -Carl Jung

    Hell is other people. -Jean-Paul Sarte

  • #2
    History in College

    Don't get me started on the history courses taught in most American colleges. When I took a degree in history, you could structure your studies so that you never had to hear about a single war. As a matter of fact, finding a course that dealt with military history at all was difficult.

    I would say of the 30 credits required, I have 6 credits that directly studied a war. Those two course were World War II History with total of 2 students in class and American Civil War. In the American Civil War class, we spent more time on the political and social aspects of the war than the military history of the conflict.

    Comment


    • #3
      High School History

      WHen I was in high school I was constently correcting the teacher about mistakes made in the book that was given to us. When we were studying the civilwar she was even stupid enough to say that every person in the south had slaves and that the north had us Southerners whipped from day one. Today's version of history is so misconstrued that it is geared to the senssitivities of the kids in the class. It doesnt want to reveal exactly what happened. I got sent to the princepal's office many a time for talking back to the teacher and being a trouble maker in class. THis shows you how bad our school system has become. It is time for a major overhaul in how we teach history as well as other subjects.
      Govenour Of Texas and all southern provinces. Kepper Of The Holy Woodchipper.

      Comment


      • #4
        Are you sure?

        I hate to say this, but are you certain you want out real history taught in schools? We have spent a lot of time and effort writing the history our history of victory. If we started telling the truth about American history, a lot of our myths would go down in flames.

        Myths are comfortable. Myths are easy. Are you certain you want America's youth growing up with the truth? Isn't ignorance bliss?

        Comment


        • #5
          I won't argue how sad the American educational system is, from kindergarten to post-graduate. That isn't to say you can't get a good education here.

          You can't frame an entire educational system based on a handful of teachers. To say our educational system stressed all southerners owned slaves is wrong. I never heard such a thing when I attended public school.

          Keep in mind you cannot discuss the details of the holocaust with a 7 year old, but you can tell them it happened, and give the high points. As children age and mature, you can give them more detail, give it to them in portions they can digest.

          The value of an education is based on several things: parental involvement, student interest, quality of textbooks, quality of the teachers, and administrative guidance toward a balanced curriculum.

          It is problem that such simplified lessons are taught in our schools. However, there is a larger picture. It is bad enough our children are taught a biased history of the US, but it is even sadder that they don't get a better picture of the world as a whole, and where the US fits in to it.

          When I was finishing my undergraduate degree, after 4 years in the service, I needed a basic science course to complete my science credits. I took a physcial geography course, since I love maps, and have an interest in how geography affects weather, crops, society, etc. The teacher gave a quiz the first day, to get an idea of what we knew. It turned out to be a test of what the class didn't know. The quiz was composed of a map of the world, and a list of geographic locations and descriptions. Our task was to identify each of these items on the map.

          I scored a 94 on the test. I could not identufy several African nations. The next highest scores were in the low 70s. After that scores were in the 50s and below, with several 0s. The teacher took me aside after the class, and asked me what I thought. My word was embarrased. How could American students not be able to locate Chicago or Alaska, or even the equator.

          This was a perfect example of how our educational system can fail students.

          Much of our educational doctrine is based on cold-war, "us against them" ideals. Before that, we suffered through Andy Jackson's manifest destiny syndrome: the world was our oyster (at least the North American continent), and we could no worng to achieve our ends. Today, teach the truth, the good and the bad. Teach in a measured way, approrpiate to the ages and abilities of the students. Over time a reasonable picture will be painted.

          Above all things, children must be taught to think. Learning by rote is OK early on. But as they get older, they must be given the tools to ask questions, and formulate their own conclusions about history. Provide them with facts. Provide them with opposing arguments. Trust in childrens' abilities to use their heads.
          Retreat hell, we just got here. Every Marine, a rifleman.

          Never let the facts get in the way of the truth.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Grade School (and maybe College) Blindness

            Originally posted by BarcelonaBlom
            I am totally outraged when teachers always say "we beat rommel at El Alamein" or "We fought rommel on D-day" WTF??? He wasn't there, I understand as a figurehead and when the soldiers were fighting thats who they believed they were fighting, but we have hindsight. I'd absolutely hate to see teachers put forth bad information even if it is meant to be in a good nature.

            BTW for those that don't know (should be few), Rommel was having problems with his ulcer during El Alamein and was celebrating his wife's birthday during D-Day.

            Anyone else see anything like this anywhere?
            Yes, in addition to the adage that "the victors write the history", our history tends tom express views that prsent us in thebest possible light. I recall ahving several arguments with one of my high school history teachers about inaccuracies in our American History book. Mostly, I remember that it took him until after graduation to admit that I was correct. If you recall in "Patton", one of Patton's staff officers informs him that Rommell was not at el Guetter during the battle that Patton fought. Patton was indignant with this officer, replying "my own G-2 (intelligence) tells me that Rommel wasn't there". We would all like to thing that we defeated the best that our adversary has to offer - it is only that some will engage in any degree of deception, sbfterfuge and outright lying to represent it as such.
            Mens Est Clavis Victoriae
            (The Mind Is The Key To Victory)

            Comment


            • #7
              The Root of All Evil

              Texans decide what you learn in school. In other words, if you live in Maine, Texans decide what your children learn in school.

              Texas picks textbooks statewide, giving them enormous clout to shape the books that enter their schools. In Texas, for example, conservatives can influence selection and sometimes force publishers to alter passages. Books that are shaped and debated in Texas then wind up in the rest of the United States.

              Take the 2003 editions of two social studies textbooks, Glencoe's "Our World Today: People, Places and Issues" and Harcourt's "World Regions." Glencoe wrote of ancient geological events that took place "millions of years ago," like the Ice Age, while Harcourt referred to fossil fuels "formed millions of years ago." Lone Star State creationists complained that the references conflicted with biblical time lines. So the publishers dropped the phrase "millions of years ago" and substituted language like "in the distant past" and "over time."

              In order to be successful in the textbook business, you have to get approved in Texas. In order to get approved in Texas, you have to water down the truth a bit. When you have creationists helping to write your textbooks, I think you end up with Fair And Balanced. Sort of like a Fox News programming. The relationship to truth is somewhat more distant.

              Comment


              • #8
                And from what I remember, our text books weren't all that good of read either. At least I didn't think so. Even the world history class was Ameri-centric with the obligatory chapter about the Babylonians, Sumerians, Assyrians, and Egyptians (and maybe a Hittite, Nubian, and Minoan here and there). Then there was the obligatory chapter on Greece leading to Roam... er... Rome with scant mention of China, India, or the Khmer. After that, it was all Western Europe and Native/Meso-American all the time with a little bite of Africa and Asia as colonial interests until you get to WWI. THEN world history seemed to actually start. I realize at the high school level very little can be taught in depth, but there's so much left out, it makes you think the ONLY things put in were those events leading directly to my door... yeah, which is the way it should be, world history revolved around America... yeah...
                If voting could really change things, it would be illegal.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I understand where many of you are coming from. I know you can't blame the system. But I've gotten a misconstrued version every time and doesnt that just add to why people my age act the way they do? Obviously I have a keen interest especially in things history, I think that is what I will pursue as a career, not just military history (which is nice) but anything really. I can take anything from history.

                  But, I believe that when history is written by the victors, things become a little TOO mixed up. My current high school history teacher is a wonderful man (and my inspiration) and we have just finished the WWII unit in my Dual-Credit US History class (History 201 and 202 for College Credit and US History I and II for High school credit). One of the reasons I got into the class was that colleges had (at least some) discussions. Everytime he tries to start one (Im guilty as well) no one really answers. But, in WWII we just breezed through (attempting to keep at a chapter per week, which we do meet all 5 schooldays, schedule.) but almost no discussion. I give him credit he uplayed Stalingrad as they turning point of the war in Europe and not D-Day (like I had heard for 3 years already from teachers, but knew that Stalingrad was much more influential). He mainly mentioned all the victories and skipped on Kasserine Pass (Which when a British officer was captured by the Germans, he was told, "Looks like you British have your own Italians), and briefly mentioned the Ardennes. Then to "enhance our WWII learning" he made us do presentations on aspects of the war that interest us... Most were good (I investigated the Japanese Psyche through the war): "German Jews in the Wehrmacht", "More than Jews in concentration camps and death camps", "Jehovahs witnesses in concentration camps", "Post-War reconstruction", and "Japanese internment Supreme court cases" but the ones done on things such as: "Tanks of WWII", "The North African Campaigns" (Who jumped from Italian aggression straight to Operation Torch without mentioning the British nor Rommel, and then could not find out why the Germans passed up oppurtunity to attack us from Tunisia) and "The Airborne during D-Day" where blatantly butchering the war with very false facts. (one sherman better than a Tiger I?) (101st and 82nd Landing near Omaha?) I'm sorry about the rant but I'm quite passionate about history and I don't mind learning all that I can but some in my class (supposedly the best and brightest) only seem to be their to rid themselves of college credits later on and only blow it off.
                  The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: if there is any reaction, both are transformed. -Carl Jung

                  Hell is other people. -Jean-Paul Sarte

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I've been lucky enough to attend a private, military school for high school. It doesn't have to deal with all that PC crap in the textbooks. JDScott, looks like we're in the same boat. I actually had to have a parent conference for arguing in history class and the teacher said I was being "insensitive". It had to deal with the Civil War, I think.

                    Plus our books don't have enough military history in them. As Patton said "Next to war, all other human endeavors shrink to insignificance". Yet I spent more time learning about women's lib than military history in history class (luckily our ROTC class did delve more in depth). I for one actually really dislike social history (it seems boring to me), but I can deal with political history somewhat. I have to admit I'm pretty concentrated on America, but I'd rather learn about the Peloponnesian War than what were the conditions in 1890 New York City. That's just me, though.
                    "Anything worth fighting for is worth fighting dirty for"
                    "The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step, and a lot of bitching"

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Gepard
                      Texans decide what you learn in school. In other words, if you live in Maine, Texans decide what your children learn in school.

                      Texas picks textbooks statewide, giving them enormous clout to shape the books that enter their schools. In Texas, for example, conservatives can influence selection and sometimes force publishers to alter passages. Books that are shaped and debated in Texas then wind up in the rest of the United States.

                      Take the 2003 editions of two social studies textbooks, Glencoe's "Our World Today: People, Places and Issues" and Harcourt's "World Regions." Glencoe wrote of ancient geological events that took place "millions of years ago," like the Ice Age, while Harcourt referred to fossil fuels "formed millions of years ago." Lone Star State creationists complained that the references conflicted with biblical time lines. So the publishers dropped the phrase "millions of years ago" and substituted language like "in the distant past" and "over time."

                      In order to be successful in the textbook business, you have to get approved in Texas. In order to get approved in Texas, you have to water down the truth a bit. When you have creationists helping to write your textbooks, I think you end up with Fair And Balanced. Sort of like a Fox News programming. The relationship to truth is somewhat more distant.
                      Wow, slamming conservatives and Fox news in one post. The only Question is how far left are you? :nonono: The liberals have their input in textbooks also. That is the main problem; textbook publishers trying to please everyone end up pleasing no one.
                      Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedy. -- Ernest Benn

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Iron Mike USMC
                        I won't argue how sad the American educational system is, from kindergarten to post-graduate. That isn't to say you can't get a good education here.

                        <snip>

                        When I was finishing my undergraduate degree, after 4 years in the service, I needed a basic science course to complete my science credits. I took a physcial geography course, since I love maps, and have an interest in how geography affects weather, crops, society, etc. The teacher gave a quiz the first day, to get an idea of what we knew. It turned out to be a test of what the class didn't know. The quiz was composed of a map of the world, and a list of geographic locations and descriptions. Our task was to identify each of these items on the map.

                        I scored a 94 on the test. I could not identufy several African nations. The next highest scores were in the low 70s. After that scores were in the 50s and below, with several 0s. The teacher took me aside after the class, and asked me what I thought. My word was embarrased. How could American students not be able to locate Chicago or Alaska, or even the equator.

                        I am still appalled by a poll in the nineties by one of the major national firms on a nation wide basis, One of the questions was to name a country that bordered on the Pacific Ocean. Over 50% could not do so. Hopefully they were not in California.

                        My wife was educated in Russia and is appalled by our school system. A couple of years ago our daughter's sixth grade did a production of Oliver yet in talking to her it was obvious they were taught nothing of Oliver Twist or Dickens. By sixth grade in Russia the kids were reading the full version of Oliver Twist, along with Pushkin, Checkov, etc. They also had to be able to locate every country in the world on a map and name their capital. My experience is that as far as the average man in the street goes, the average high school equivalent graduate is generally better educated in history, georgraphy, the classics, fine arts and basic sciences than most of our bachelor degree holders.

                        Oh, and kids go to school 8 to 5 every day after 4th grade and do significantly more home study as well. Don't even get me started on languages.
                        Boston Strong!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Well, you do tend to get what you pay for.

                          Isn't it true the the U.S. spends 8 times as much on defense as on education?

                          What do you want more, spiffy weapon systems or a well educated population?

                          <ducks and runs>

                          P.S. Seriously though, it's not a problem unique to the U.S.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by DingBat
                            Well, you do tend to get what you pay for.
                            P.S. Seriously though, it's not a problem unique to the U.S.
                            No but over the last twenty years, the US has been dropping steadily to the bottom of the list on general and specific educational achievement for everyone below the doctoral level in comparison to all the other industrialized countries. Does not bode well in an era of dominance of knowledge workers.

                            A large part of the problem beyond the secondary schools is our fascination. As one who has been recuiting graduates for more than 30 years it is sad to see how more and more they come out of school having only been taught a narrow band of rote skills with no real educational base. Its not that they are dumb it is just only a handful of schools seem to know what the difference is between education and skill training any more.
                            Boston Strong!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              How Far Right?

                              Originally posted by tsar
                              Wow, slamming conservatives and Fox news in one post. The only Question is how far left are you? :nonono: The liberals have their input in textbooks also. That is the main problem; textbook publishers trying to please everyone end up pleasing no one.
                              Actually, I get most of my news from the Daily Show. I think relying on the Daily Show for the news scares both liberals and conservatives.

                              I agree with you that the liberals have just as bad an effect on textbooks at conservatives. I just happened to have a conservative example handy. This was actualy pretty easy to find.

                              I had more trouble finding the liberal bias, but that was because I was searching in the wrong place.

                              William Haviland, Anthropology, 6th ed., Holt-Rhinehard-Winston, 1991.

                              Pages 428 to 429 argues that prohibitions on sex outside marriage are unusual - claiming that less than 5% of the world follow such a system.

                              Not only wrong, but I believe this number would be way wrong. I'm by no means an expert, but Christianity, Judism, and Islam all have this restriction firmly in place. I don't have the exact figures, but let's assume the world's population is around 7 billion. 1.5 billion Christians, 800 million Muslims, and 18 million Jews comes out to approximately 33% of the world population believes in a faith with prohibitions on sex outside of marriage. I must admit that I'm not as well versed when considering Hinduism or Buddhism to know what their beliefs on sex outside of marriage would be.

                              Of course, you could have responded with a fact instead of an immediate labeling effort. The answer to your question is that I'm a Centerist. I'm way more fiscally conservative than the Republican Party and have much more of a belief in individual's responsibility for their own life than the Democratic Party.

                              My point was more along the lines of how facts, what happened, and humanity (warts and all) should be the basis of our textbooks. Our textbooks should present facts then help students to construct the underlying models that put facts in context. I guess I'm of the opinion that facts never hurt anyone. If the facts don't agree with your belief, that does not automatically make the facts wrong. The same holds true for your belief. Sometimes we don't have all the facts and until you do have all the facts you can't really say a belief is wrong.

                              I believe our schools are a mess. I don't believe they will get better anytime soon. We need to remove BOTH a conservative and liberal bias from our textbooks, I don't really see how things can get better until we do.

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