Page 1 of 5 123 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 42

Thread: Public School History - Lofty Idealism and Patriotism or Critical and Cynical Realism.

  1. #1
    Guru
    Evilroddy's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2017
    Location
    Canada
    Last Seen
    Today @ 03:49 PM
    Gender
    Lean
    Centrist
    Posts
    3,891

    Public School History - Lofty Idealism and Patriotism or Critical and Cynical Realism.

    Should the teaching of History, Current Events and Civics in American public schools be focused on building pride/patriotism and unquestioning loyalty to an ideal America and its public and private institutions or should History, Civics, et al be taught primarily as a cautionary tale, emphasising the missteps, mistakes, injustices and atrocities which also form a big part of American History in the hope of avoiding new disasters? Should students be indoctrinated into being patriotic and cooperative citizens who assume the best of their society and state or should students be fore-armed with the critical and analytical skills and a degree of cynicism in order to better understand and cope with the realpolitik of American domestic and international History and life in adulthood, with all its ugly warts and blemishes as well as its shining successes?

    This is a matter of balance, so I am not asking about shifting the curriculum to either pole of total indoctrination or total critical sedition but rather I am seeking opinions on where the balance should be set and how to achieve it. Will too much cynical reality extinguish hope and optimism or will too much idealism and candy-coating trigger shock and paralysis in the early adult years? At what age should history be taught and should the balance between the ideal and the real be shifted as students grow and mature? Should public schools be tools of socialisation and social engineering which reward compliance and patriotism or should they develop shrewd and critical graduates who will question and be capable of reforming America for better or for worse? I guess it boils down to selecting for drones or radicals at the extremes and better citizens somewhere in the middle. But where in the middle?

    Thank you in advance for your responses and please forgive me if I vigorously debate with you over them, as the clash of ideas is the crucible of learning and education.

    Cheers.
    Evilroddy.
    Last edited by Evilroddy; 08-18-19 at 02:01 AM.
    "At the heart of quantum mechanics is a rule that sometimes governs politicians or CEOs - as long as no one is watching, anything goes.
    ― Lawrence M. Krauss

  2. #2
    Classical Liberal Sage
    Captain Adverse's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Mid-West USA
    Last Seen
    Today @ 03:21 PM
    Gender
    Lean
    Libertarian - Left
    Posts
    11,940
    Blog Entries
    2

    Re: Public School History - Lofty Idealism and Patriotism or Critical and Cynical Realism.

    Quote Originally Posted by Evilroddy View Post
    Should the teaching of History, Current Events and Civics in American public schools be focused on building pride/patriotism and unquestioning loyalty to an ideal America and its public and private institutions or should History, Civics, et al be taught primarily as a cautionary tale, emphasising the missteps, mistakes, injustices and atrocities which also form a big part of American History in the hope of avoiding new disasters? Should students be indoctrinated into being patriotic and cooperative citizens who assume the best of their society and state or should students be fore-armed with the critical and analytical skills and a degree of cynicism in order to better understand and cope with the realpolitik of American domestic and international History and life in adulthood, with all its ugly warts and blemishes as well as its shining successes?

    This is a matter of balance, so I am not asking about shifting the curriculum to either pole of total indoctrination or total critical sedition but rather I am seeking opinions on where the balance should be set and how to achieve it. Will too much cynical reality extinguish hope and optimism or will too much idealism and candy-coating trigger shock and paralysis in the early adult years? At what age should history be taught and should the balance between the ideal and the real be shifted as students grow and mature? Should public schools be tools of socialisation and social engineering which reward compliance and patriotism or should they develop shrewd and critical graduates who will question and be capable of reforming America for better or for worse? I guess it boils down to selecting for drones or radicals at the extremes and better citizens somewhere in the middle. But where in the middle?

    Thank you in advance for your responses and please forgive me if I vigorously debate with you over them, as the clash of ideas is the crucible of learning and education.

    Cheers.
    Evilroddy.
    I don't think history should be taught to "indoctrinate" for either "left or right." History should be taught to give people a sense of the past, and the present, so they can use that information to build their own futures.

    To your specific point, both sides of any historical example should be addressed, with no side being held up as an example of how to think. IMO it should be presented as a series of facts, and then discussed in a format allowing the student's themselves to come to their own well-reasoned conclusions about each topic.

    I think what we see happening in our schools today is a pendulum which has swung from the patriotic to the subversive, allowing no balance. No middle ground.

    Much like the political climate, it is being presented as an absolute moralistic either/or weighted heavily on the negatives. IMO that does not make for a healthy social outlook.
    Last edited by Captain Adverse; 08-18-19 at 02:17 AM.
    If I stop responding it doesn't mean I've conceded the point or agree with you. It only means I've made my point and I don't mind you having the last word. Please wait a few minutes before "quoting" me. I often correct errors for a minute or two after I post before the final product is ready.

  3. #3
    Sage
    cpwill's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    USofA
    Last Seen
    Today @ 08:16 AM
    Gender
    Lean
    Conservative
    Posts
    61,079

    Re: Public School History - Lofty Idealism and Patriotism or Critical and Cynical Realism.

    Quote Originally Posted by Evilroddy View Post
    Should the teaching of History, Current Events and Civics in American public schools be focused on building pride/patriotism and unquestioning loyalty to an ideal America and its public and private institutions or should History, Civics, et al be taught primarily as a cautionary tale, emphasising the missteps, mistakes, injustices and atrocities which also form a big part of American History in the hope of avoiding new disasters? Should students be indoctrinated into being patriotic and cooperative citizens who assume the best of their society and state or should students be fore-armed with the critical and analytical skills and a degree of cynicism in order to better understand and cope with the realpolitik of American domestic and international History and life in adulthood, with all its ugly warts and blemishes as well as its shining successes?

    This is a matter of balance, so I am not asking about shifting the curriculum to either pole of total indoctrination or total critical sedition but rather I am seeking opinions on where the balance should be set and how to achieve it. Will too much cynical reality extinguish hope and optimism or will too much idealism and candy-coating trigger shock and paralysis in the early adult years? At what age should history be taught and should the balance between the ideal and the real be shifted as students grow and mature? Should public schools be tools of socialisation and social engineering which reward compliance and patriotism or should they develop shrewd and critical graduates who will question and be capable of reforming America for better or for worse? I guess it boils down to selecting for drones or radicals at the extremes and better citizens somewhere in the middle. But where in the middle?

    Thank you in advance for your responses and please forgive me if I vigorously debate with you over them, as the clash of ideas is the crucible of learning and education.

    Cheers.
    Evilroddy.
    I think you should allow schools to choose either of these positions, or, (better) teach honest history. As a precursor to that, you should additionally allow parents to choose which of these schools their children attend.

    That way, if Little Johnny's parents want him to become an ill-formed whiner constantly blaming his problems on The System, they can choose an education system that will guide him towards that end, whereas if Little Leesha's parents want her to become a productive member of society who accepts personal responsibility for her life and acts accordingly, they can choose an education that will guide her towards that end. Since neithers' preference is imposed on the other's child, social hostility is reduced, and both are able to live together more amicably.

  4. #4
    Banned
    Join Date
    Jul 2019
    Last Seen
    08-22-19 @ 10:43 PM
    Lean
    Independent
    Posts
    1,100

    Re: Public School History - Lofty Idealism and Patriotism or Critical and Cynical Realism.

    Neither, just teach kids how government works and how to get a job to pay their ****ing bills and maintain their house/cars so they are busy being productive citizens instead of marching in the streets like a bunch of ****ing angry morons with masks and bike locks or tiki torches because both sides are stupid as hell.

    Historical facts can be learned on your own. Submitting kids to history is about as evil as it gets because bias from the teacher is always imposed.

  5. #5
    Guru
    Evilroddy's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2017
    Location
    Canada
    Last Seen
    Today @ 03:49 PM
    Gender
    Lean
    Centrist
    Posts
    3,891

    Re: Public School History - Lofty Idealism and Patriotism or Critical and Cynical Realism.

    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Adverse View Post
    I don't think history should be taught to "indoctrinate" for either "left or right." History should be taught to give people a sense of the past, and the present, so they can use that information to build their own futures.

    To your specific point, both sides of any historical example should be addressed, with no side being held up as an example of how to think. IMO it should be presented as a series of facts, and then discussed in a format allowing the student's themselves to come to their own well-reasoned conclusions about each topic.

    I think what we see happening in our schools today is a pendulum which has swung from the patriotic to the subversive, allowing no balance. No middle ground.

    Much like the political climate, it is being presented as an absolute moralistic either/or weighted heavily on the negatives. IMO that does not make for a healthy social outlook.
    Captain Adverse:

    I agree about the pendulum and about the tendency of educational systems and some educators to abuse the teaching of history due to agendas. However you mentioned that teachers should present both sides of any historical issue. That seems to imply the imposition of a binary analysis on historical issues which may have nothing to do with the topic under study. Now when you say both sides do you mean a patriotic and a cynical side, or a conservative and a progressive side or a Christian and a non-Christian side, etc.? What are the two sides to which you are referring and is history a binary topic of study?

    My next concern is the idea of facts. Historical facts are distilled from a much larger pool of unrefined and often contradictory facts and are cherry-picked to support the theses of historians doing the research and the writing of history. As this distillation process progresses over generations some facts become received dogma and other facts are either forgotten or even suppressed, in order to support an historical orthodoxy. So which facts should teachers use to teach the students under their instruction, especially when the pedigree of many historical facts is suspect due to the distillation process?

    Should history teachers introduce and teach students with contradictory primary source material and let children make up their own minds about what is historical fact, or should they teach with state approved secondary sources and textbooks (paper or digital) in order to preserve the received orthodoxy of acceptable distilled history? Should students be taught to analyse and critically evaluate historical information for themselves or be taught to accept and learn a corpus of knowledge in order to give them a common cultural background to act as a societal cement used to reinforce American society and to make clearer the future adult's role in the society?

    The devil is as always in the details.

    Cheers.
    Evilroddy.
    Last edited by Evilroddy; 08-18-19 at 06:54 AM.
    "At the heart of quantum mechanics is a rule that sometimes governs politicians or CEOs - as long as no one is watching, anything goes.
    ― Lawrence M. Krauss

  6. #6
    Sage

    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Last Seen
    Today @ 03:46 PM
    Lean
    Undisclosed
    Posts
    113,874

    Re: Public School History - Lofty Idealism and Patriotism or Critical and Cynical Realism.

    I taught US Government and American History for 33 years in the public high school system here in Michigan. Unless we get the equal of programmed robots to present a sterilized curriculum to students and absolutely stay away from any current events and the questions they inevitably will spawn in our students, any bias is unavoidable and very much human.

    The question of balance asked in the OP is a good one. I would think that the level of the course is crucial. If one is in Elementary school teaching a third or fourth grade Social Studies class, the emphasis should be on basic information and there should be very little of any effort at critical thinking skills where the student is taught to apply judgment to certain issues or questions or past events which are controversial.

    As the students gains in knowledge, maturity and age going into Middle School, this changes. By time a student is in High School, the course should be very different and critical thinking skills should be the emphasis and their application to current events and past historical events is vital and important in developing a thinking American citizen.

    When I run into former students who are now adults - I always ask them if they vote. For me, that is the test. And I never ask them who they vote for.
    __________________________________________________ _
    There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.... John Rogers

  7. #7
    Guru
    Evilroddy's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2017
    Location
    Canada
    Last Seen
    Today @ 03:49 PM
    Gender
    Lean
    Centrist
    Posts
    3,891

    Re: Public School History - Lofty Idealism and Patriotism or Critical and Cynical Realism.

    Quote Originally Posted by cpwill View Post
    I think you should allow schools to choose either of these positions, or, (better) teach honest history. As a precursor to that, you should additionally allow parents to choose which of these schools their children attend.

    That way, if Little Johnny's parents want him to become an ill-formed whiner constantly blaming his problems on The System, they can choose an education system that will guide him towards that end, whereas if Little Leesha's parents want her to become a productive member of society who accepts personal responsibility for her life and acts accordingly, they can choose an education that will guide her towards that end. Since neithers' preference is imposed on the other's child, social hostility is reduced, and both are able to live together more amicably.
    cpwill:

    What is honest history? History is the truths, half-truths, omissions and outright lies we all agree to believe in, as a collective transgenerational monomyth studded with raisins of cherry-picked fact. Everybody remembers that Abraham Lincoln made the Gettysburg Address but most don't know he invited others into his bed when away from home because he hated sleeping alone (no sexual motive but just a need for company). Why teach the first fact but ignore or suppress the other? All history is filled with lies, omissions and contortions, so I am not sure what you mean by the phrase, "honest history".

    What happens if the system which Little Johnny is going to inherit is broken and seriously malfunctioning. Do you want Johnny to be blind to that and not to try to change the system?. Would you prefer your little Johnnies to be compliant, hard-working, patriots who bear the yoke of a flawed system on their shoulders or would you prefer acute, critical, fiercely radical Johnnies capable of fixing a fundamentally flawed system (and perhaps screwing you over in the process)? Also, what about the janies?

    Cheers.
    Evilroddy.
    Last edited by Evilroddy; 08-18-19 at 07:25 AM.
    "At the heart of quantum mechanics is a rule that sometimes governs politicians or CEOs - as long as no one is watching, anything goes.
    ― Lawrence M. Krauss

  8. #8
    Sage
    cpwill's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    USofA
    Last Seen
    Today @ 08:16 AM
    Gender
    Lean
    Conservative
    Posts
    61,079

    Re: Public School History - Lofty Idealism and Patriotism or Critical and Cynical Realism.

    Quote Originally Posted by Evilroddy View Post
    What is honest history?
    History told without the intent of pushing the child to arrive at a current-day political preference. People in the past (astonishingly, just like people today!) did not exist for our benefit, but rather faced their own dilemmas with their own driving conditions. They attempted to address those issues with their own understanding, and should be understood on their own terms.

    History is the truths, half-truths, omissions and outright lies we all agree to believe in, as a collective transgenerational monomyth studded with raisins of cherry-picked fact.
    You are conflating history with public myth, which is quite different. The Story Of George Washington And The Cherry Tree isn't part of an academic study of American history.

    Everybody remembers that Abraham Lincoln made the Gettysburg Address but most don't know he invited others into his bed when away from home because he hated sleeping alone (no sexual motive but just a need for company). Why teach the first fact but ignore or suppress the other?
    One actually impacted history, the other not so much. And sleeping multiple people to a bed was common part of traveling in those days as well, which, I suppose, could be part of economic history.

    What happens if the system which Little Johnny is going to inherit is broken and seriously malfunctioning.
    Our current educational system includes many parts that are seriously malfunctioning. It turns out that children are not, actually, mere inputs into a mid-20th-century-style factory setting, and that systems built on the assumption that they are prove ill-suited to the task of their education.

    Do you want Johnny to be blind to that and not to try to change the system?. Would you prefer your little Johnnies to be compliant, hard-working, patriots who bear the yoke of a flawed system on their shoulders or would you prefer acute, critical, fiercely radical Johnnies capable of fixing a fundamentally flawed system (and perhaps screwing you over in the process)? Also, what about the janies?
    Actually, I named her Leesha You could even read above.

    I reject your false dichotomy as a cartoonish, two-dimensional piece of hyperbole built on a flawed assumption. If teaching history has a proper modern role beyond academic study, it is to help create a sense of common community, not to either engender loyalty to a state or opposition to it.

    Additionally, you have notions of who successfully changes systems that are very much at odds with - well - actual history. Radical Johnnnies who forego and look down on all that went before tend to lead "changes" that rather destructive, and often (thanks, Iron Law of Oligarchy!) to produce results far removed from what they thought they were seeking. Johnnies (and Leesha's) who understand the best of what came before and seek to build on and expand that tend to be more capable of producing lasting, beneficial reform.
    Last edited by cpwill; 08-18-19 at 07:51 AM.

  9. #9
    Classical Liberal Sage
    Captain Adverse's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Mid-West USA
    Last Seen
    Today @ 03:21 PM
    Gender
    Lean
    Libertarian - Left
    Posts
    11,940
    Blog Entries
    2

    Re: Public School History - Lofty Idealism and Patriotism or Critical and Cynical Realism.

    Quote Originally Posted by Evilroddy View Post
    I agree about the pendulum and about the tendency of educational systems and some educators to abuse the teaching of history due to agendas.
    Good. That's a start to address the problems. Have I ever mentioned in the Forum that I taught at both secondary and college levels; history and biology?

    Quote Originally Posted by Evilroddy View Post
    However you mentioned that teachers should present both sides of any historical issue. That seems to imply the imposition of a binary analysis on historical issues which may have nothing to do with the topic under study. Now when you say both sides do you mean a patriotic and a cynical side, or a conservative and a progressive side or a Christian and a non-Christian side, etc.? What are the two sides to which you are referring and is history a binary topic of study?
    When it comes to social sciences there are usually at least two sides to any issue, although in fact there are often multiple "sides" not just two. It is your argument stated in the OP asserting "patriotic propaganda vs cautionary tale" that poses a two-sided view.

    When I refer to "two-sides" I refer to the basic "pros and cons" of the historical incidents being discussed.

    Take slavery, a hot-button topic which used to be glossed over (if mentioned at all), but is now taught as "An Evil Shame" of American history. A teacher can present facts about the socio-economic situation, along with historically conflicting views on slavery and internal/external pressures which led to compromises allowing it to perpetuate when our nation was founded. Discussions can then ensue, moderated by the teacher using all sorts of formats (ex. assigning teams to debate the "pros and cons") based on arguments presented by the factions at the time. This can lead students to realize how things like this can occur even in supposedly enlightened historical periods, without the teacher simply pushing a "good vs evil" political agenda.

    Quote Originally Posted by Evilroddy View Post
    My next concern is the idea of facts. Historical facts are distilled from a much larger pool of unrefined and often contradictory facts and are cherry-picked to support the theses of historians doing the research and the writing of history. As this distillation process progresses over generations some facts become received dogma and other facts are either forgotten or even suppressed, in order to support an historical orthodoxy. So which facts should teachers use to teach the students under their instruction, especially when the pedigree of many historical facts is suspect due to the distillation process?
    Dogma and fact are two different things. IMO only lazy teachers rely solely on a textbook to "teach." Good teachers provide access to other source materials and methodologies. This includes options like reading lists, handouts, films, videos, guest speakers, class trips, debates, student presentations on assigned topics, etc.. No one should ever rely on a single source to instruct.

    Quote Originally Posted by Evilroddy View Post
    [1.]Should history teachers introduce and teach students with contradictory primary source material and let children make up their own minds about what is historical fact, or [2.]should they teach with state approved secondary sources and textbooks (paper or digital) in order to preserve the received orthodoxy of acceptable distilled history? [3.] Should students be taught to analyse and critically evaluate historical information for themselves or [4.] be taught to accept and learn a corpus of knowledge in order to give them a common cultural background to act as a societal cement used to reinforce American society and to make clearer the future adult's role in the society?
    As shown above, YOU are making this a "binary" situation. A teacher should do both 1 and 2 above. I also advise 3 which then allows a student to make their own minds up about what "cements society together" referred to in suggestion 4.

    Quote Originally Posted by Evilroddy View Post
    The devil is as always in the details.
    Yes, it is. But details seem to be sorely lacking in both forms of dogmatic instruction, patriotic and subversive.
    Last edited by Captain Adverse; 08-18-19 at 09:29 AM.
    If I stop responding it doesn't mean I've conceded the point or agree with you. It only means I've made my point and I don't mind you having the last word. Please wait a few minutes before "quoting" me. I often correct errors for a minute or two after I post before the final product is ready.

  10. #10
    Guru
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
    Location
    Flori-duh
    Last Seen
    Today @ 08:55 AM
    Gender
    Lean
    Progressive
    Posts
    4,468

    Re: Public School History - Lofty Idealism and Patriotism or Critical and Cynical Realism.

    For me the question is history as in what really happened or history as in christopher columbus discovered america? Or paul revere riding through the streets warning the british are coming, even though at that time everyone was british and he never did that.

    History should be taught truthfully and then discussed and people can make up their own minds as to who was good for mankind and who wasn't. If we are going to teach history we should be teaching it with all its warts included.
    When I stop answering you, there's a reason.......repeat, When I stop answering you, there's a reason.

Page 1 of 5 123 ... LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •