The Dustbin of History

I write too often about the state of American education.  As a homeschooling school system drop-out, my opinion is jaded to say the least–and well likely to annoy a strong percentage of readers.

But I can’t help myself.

Tonight’s post is inspired by the truly adorable nine-year-old Brandon.  Perhaps you’ve seen his interview:

This kid, man.  He is cute.  I like his smile, and I want to pinch his cheeks.  Perhaps, he is not a good example of why I homeschool.  After all, he is much more likely to have absorbed that “we’ll be goin’ back to the crop fields” opinion from home than from the classroom.

Still, though, his family got that opinion from somewhere.  Why would tender, loving parents want to spread this kind of racial poison to their child?

This question brings me back to the state of American education.

Brandon’s dad may have been taught like I was in 8th grade social studies:  liberals are generous, and conservatives are stingy.  We seem fairly close in age.  Perhaps he suffers from the problem explained in The Dustbin of History:

“Are young people distracted and uninterested in the process that created their environment? Probably not. The system of education in the U.S. is the culprit. Numbing lectures and political propaganda disguised as textbooks have deadened learning since the mid-70s, instigated by education radicals who appropriated the class room to peddle a new version of human events based on jargon and utopian claptrap.”

Deadened learning.  These words perfectly describe my usual feelings about history.  Only recently have I begun to realize history’s importance.  Living in the United Kingdom was key.  There, a typically too-narrow bridge was mostly annoying, but it was built by monks eight hundred years ago.  When I learned this fact, I felt more awe than annoyance.

Americans aren’t taught history anymore.  Not in public school.  History has been diluted and julianned until it consists of an entirely unpalatable conglomeration of sterile facts, dates, and labels.  One can argue until blue in the face about whether the public school system is effectively educating its students, but I know better.

I am a product of this system.  I know first-hand that it does not effectively educate.  History is presented in the most sterile and forgettable formula possible. I learned the only logical thing that stems from such curricula:  history is boring and pointless:

“two generations of young Americans have lost interest in their own culture – and have difficulty grasping world events, just at the moment globalization has altered human existence. Soon no one will care, and America will continue its own journey to the dustbin of history.”

Hopefully, the part about American’s journey into the dustbin of history is quite reversable.  We’ll see, come Tuesday.  Four more days to go.

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16 thoughts on “The Dustbin of History

  1. heathermc 3 November 2012 at 12:40 am Reply

    Oh, the tragedy. I love history. Right now, I am preparing to get into THREE things: my niece wants to write a book on Klondike lawyers and judges, so I get to go to the archives and hunt down interesting stuff about some of them (and they WERE interesting/ I think of it as digging for the dirt, or finding a hero); and… for my website (knapdalepeople.com), the Clan McMillan; and the story of the 7th Earl of Argyll who just threw up his hands and marched away from being an Earl and leader of the most powerful clan in Scotland (also for my website); he broke from his protestant father’s example, married a Catholic girl, became a Catholic and marched off and joined the Spanish (enemies of Gt Britain.) Now, how can you find all of that boring? I can’t, for sure.

    History is people, and looking around, people can be interesting. The most interesting point is when a historical person does something totally weird (to me): like when Maj Gen Sir Archibald Campbell of Inverneill won the Battle of Savannah for Britain, during the American Uprising, and refused to take credit because another fellow farther up the ladder (who wasn’t there), had greater status and should therefore get the credit. Weird!

    There is so much stuff. Like, at the beginning of the 1600s, with a new King in France, it was decided to be more hygienic than previously, so… it they started to clean sh**t out of the hallways of Versailles once a week (instead of never).

    And, I found out about Sir John McNeill of Colonsay, who represented Gt Britain in the mid 1800s, and who DID NOT LIKE THE RUSSIANS who were trying to dominate Iran…

  2. edge of the sandbox 3 November 2012 at 12:48 am Reply

    On the brighter side, he’s still very young, and his education is not complete. He’s probably saying something that he thinks will get a good reaction, and that’ all there is to it. He might have a vague idea that what he’s being taught is a bit simplistic. If that’s how he is, his parents should not allow him to be interviewed.

  3. Conservatives on Fire 3 November 2012 at 8:10 am Reply

    ” Only recently have I begun to realize history’s importance.”

    That is true for many of us. America would have been better served if we had sent more historians to Washington and a lot less lawyers.

  4. nooneofanyimport 3 November 2012 at 8:58 am Reply

    HeatherMC, thank you for sharing your website! I can sure tell you are a true lover of history. It’s only in the last couple years that I’ve realized what you already knew: that history is nothing more than individual stories, and that truth is stranger than fiction, and that all the different stories tend to tie together or intersect in the most startling and fascinating ways. My hub loves history, and so does my older son, so they have also helped to open my eyes. Hub read your comment, by the way, and was sure interested in that Scottish story. We’ll be visiting your site soon.

    Missy S, yeah, you bring up a good point. All is not lost with young Brandon. Heck, maybe the memory of this interview will lodge in his brain, and he’ll be able to compare the reality of growing up during 8 years of President Romney to the simplistic view he shared with the camera.

    Amen, CoF. A person who knows how to manipulate the legal system, but has no idea of the historical context and significance of certain documents and concepts, well. That is a dangerous person indeed.

    Lin

  5. AHLondon (@AHLondon_Tex) 3 November 2012 at 2:23 pm Reply

    ConFire, as long as those historians aren’t professors. Even extensive knowledge of history does not guarantee wisdom. History majors and hobbyists, like heathermc, that’s a better bet.

  6. heathermc 3 November 2012 at 5:52 pm Reply

    Have you seen the movie by Dinesh D’Souza, “Obama’s America: 2016″? Now, this is a perfect example as to how knowing history can clarify our present: in this case, understanding the post WWII neo colonialism that rumbled underneath the Cold War between the USA and USSR… and how Obama is a child of that thinking. Like, why exactly did Obama throw out Churchill’s bust from the Oval Office??? And why has Obama shut down so much of USA’s oil industry, while funding and supporting that of South America? And why did he not support the SEALs in Benghazi???? Check it out. It is history for sure, and now, right in America’s back yard.

    Linda, if your husband has been to Afghanistan or thereabouts, you may be interested to read Sir John McNeill of Colonsay’s essay on Russia and Iran in the early 1800s (pre Crimean War)…

    Also, genealogy is a fine portal into history; in my case, the history of a small part of Western Scotland. Which, if you look at my website, is amazingly complex! And Interesting!!!

  7. heathermc 3 November 2012 at 5:54 pm Reply

    added: Obama is not a ‘socialist’ in American terms. and except that he thinks of Christianity as a power mongering force for evil, he is not really a Muslim. .. he is a fighter against American colonialism. And, he want to weaken America and the West.

  8. heathermc 3 November 2012 at 6:11 pm Reply

    Here I caome again: John McNeill’s essay on Russia and Iran can be here (gosh, the internet is a wonderful thing!)

    http://openlibrary.org/search?q=Sir+John+McNeill&ftokens=mhsncqbxgkup

    And you can find a short bio of John, and a pic of Mohammed Shah, Persian ruler.. here:

    http://www.knapdalepeople.com/clanmcneilljohn.html

    And VOTE!!!

  9. Freedom, by the way 3 November 2012 at 7:03 pm Reply

    I agree that little boy is adorable but it’s such a shame that someone has filled his head with crap. Oh, I know. Maybe he watched the Biden campaign stop when Biden said that Romney’s gonna put ya’ll back in chains! In comparison, coming from a 9-year old it’s not nearly as bad.

  10. Wraith 3 November 2012 at 9:28 pm Reply

    After all, he is much more likely to have absorbed that “we’ll be goin’ back to the crop fields” opinion from home than from the classroom.

    I disagree. Darlin’, you really need to take a good look at the state of modern ‘education.’ He probably did, indeed, get that opinion from the classroom, and his parents are too self-absorbed to give a damn that he’s being indoctrinated rather than educated.

  11. [...] The Dustbin of History [...]

  12. Citizen Tom 4 November 2012 at 8:32 am Reply

    Reblogged this on Citizen Tom and commented:
    A beautiful little boy. A proud father. Spouting stupid nonsense. Supporting a dismal, divisive president. Why?

    By definition, public education undermines the ability of parents to pass their own beliefs on to their children. Instead of what the parents believe, the public school system teaches whatever the “professionals” selected by politicians think important.

    If parents want their children to grow up wiser than themselves, they have to take responsibility for their children’s education. They cannot entrust the care of their children to “professionals” paid for with our tax dollars. Politicians spend our tax dollars, and we do not trust politicians for a good reason. Are they bad people? No. They may be even be good people, but they too often care more about being reelected than they do about children. Otherwise, they may not get reelected.

    When parents send their children to a public school, other people — not parents — choose the teachers and the educational content. That provides special interest groups an opportunity to do what they could not do otherwise. With a little adroit lobbying, a special interest group can buy a favor from a politician, a politician who wants to win an election. Then that special interest group can subtly and sometimes not so subtly alter the content of your child’s educational curriculum. That’s why parents who care what their children learn often find themselves at odds with the public education system. Even though they may be taxed to support it and pressured to use, parents have little control over what is taught.

  13. [...] NoOneOfAnyImport: The Dustbin of History [...]

  14. Bob 5 November 2012 at 2:20 pm Reply

    When I went to school (back in the sixties and seventies), absolutely everyone loathed history — primarily because the textbooks we were forced to use had been written by committees of sadists who seemed hell bent on taking a subject that is inherently interesting and rendering it as dry, dull, vapid, and soporific as possible. I didn’t actually discover that history is interesting until I had kids of my own and started home schooling. I avoided history textbooks almost entirely, and relied instead on real books — biographies, historical fiction, and period literature. As a result, all my kids have loved history, and I learned more about it in just a few years of home schooling than I had in the sixteen miserable years I’d spent in classrooms.

    Right now, my youngest daughter (high school senior) and I are listening to history lectures from The Teaching Company. Our favorite professors are Robert Buchholtz and Patrick Allitt, and we both highly recommend them to anyone looking for high school level history that really grabs and holds your attention!

  15. [...] The Dustbin of History from NooneOfAnyImport’s Blog: About a video that shows the misguided thoughts of a little boy. [...]

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