History & Education

In his article, The Future of American History, Steve Hochstadt evaluates the increasing focus on minorities within America’s history classrooms and lecture halls. Hochstadt argues that this new recognition derives from researchers seeking to uncover untold history. According to Hochstadt, conservatives feel threatened that these new perspectives degrade from the traditional historical American narrative. The focus on minorities circumvents attention away from the success of American progress and society. However, like Hochstadt, I agree that these minority focused researchers are performing a vital function: researching. Many minorities have been subjected to discrimination and unfortunately this prejudice also applies to many historical interpretations. Including unpleasant details such as Indian massacres should not be perceived as a blow to national identity. Instead, such details enhance our current progress by setting true indicators of success. These markers also encourage discussion of present issues and inspire new solutions. Given recent issues regarding race relations, dialogue concerning the historical role of traditionally discriminated groups provides for a true understanding of racial tensions. By attempting to evade the darker elements of history in the name of American exceptionalism, conservatives endorse the continual marginalization of America’s most discriminated groups.

Elaine Carey’s article titled, The C3 Framework: Advocating for K – 12 Social Studies Education, evaluates a new proposed framework regarding history in primary and secondary education. Carey regards the change as positive. The framework is expected to foster students with critical thinking skills. I welcome open dialogue regarding how history is taught and I believe that social studies should be emphasized. Carey states that this education initiative recognizes history as vital to the development of good citizens. However, I am suspicious of the educational methodology. Arguably, the challenges facing education relate more to the hurdles created by the methodology that does not value individual development. Although C3 does not necessarily impose uniform teaching practices, a better solution to encourage critical thinking would to require teachers to be better educated in their respective fields.

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