It’s my right to learn the truth

Changes to a history curriculum reduces quality of education

Is history still history if it’s taught with a tainted purpose?

In Jefferson County, Colo., students were seen walking out of class earlier last week because of a proposal to revamp the curricula of an Advanced Placement United States History class. The change is proposed to give students a more positive outlook at what the United States has done in its time of being independent from Britain.

The reason for the change in curricula is to “promote citizenship, patriotism … and respect for authority,” according to CNN.

Jefferson County Superintendent Dan McMinimee told CNN nothing about the proposal has been finalized.

I think it’s absolutely uncalled for to change a curriculum as concrete as U.S. history. It might be one thing if a school district wanted to change how students learned math for example, because it’s easier to change how students learn a subject that isn’t as concrete.

But to change something that actually happened and contains factual information just blows my mind. How could this sort of curriculum be revised? It either happened in history or it didn’t, and it either happened in a certain fashion or it didn’t. Point blank.

Sure, there’s different perspectives to note, but don’t students deserve to know the truth? Take World War II for example. History can be taught in a way that makes the United States sound like a powerhouse and tell students how we came into the war and dominated, or we can tell it differently. We can reflect on how we nuked Japan, and how it affected the whole country. We can talk about how concentration camps had a profound impact on more countries than just Germany.

If it’s all about perspective, then I would much rather learn things as they really were, not how the U.S. seemed to be the heroes. I’m not saying I don’t have patriotism for my country; I do. There’s nowhere else I’d have my roots planted than in the United States.

I think when I took this same class four years ago as a sophomore in high school I got more out of the class because it wasn’t just 52 minutes of my time taken every day to talk about how great of a nation I live in. Anyone can look around and realize that. What makes our nation great is recognizing our mistakes and becoming resilient.

Bottom line is I don’t think there’s any need for a proposal to change the syllabus. As a student, it’s my right to learn, and as a teacher, I would expect it would be their right to teach me what I need to know. Part of receiving a well-rounded education is learning what has happened in the past, and it needs to be an accurate representation so our metaphorically tainted glasses of the world become a little bit clearer.