[Vision2020] RE: our history books

Robert Probasco rcprobasco at fastmail.fm
Wed Aug 11 06:29:17 PDT 2004

I'll be glad to expand my views.  (If no one else picks up this thread,
let's take it private.)

When I scanned the Social Studies text submitted for perusal, I thought
they had lots of pretty pictures and occasionally some anecdotes the
parents would find interesting.  I decided to do a more in-depth
comparison of a single topic for all publishers.  I chose the Korean War
episode for the sixth grade text.  I was appalled.  

Aside from a sketch of dates and generals, there was little perspective
of the
substance of the conflict.  The UN role, the MacArthur/Truman
dissension, the effect on the Cold War and the endless truce were
virtually unmentioned, or presented so superficially it was almost
incoherent.  While I realize 12-year-olds cannot absorb all the
subtleties, they could learn a lot more than was presented.

I know history is a huge subject: I've taught it in two disciplines
(music and computer science).  One generally has to determine which 95%
to leave out.  Still, one can present a few topics in enough depth to
instill an interest in the students to continue learning.  

Please note: I've been in Virginia since May and I won't be back in
Moscow until October.  I was therefore unable to evaluate the current
texts being used in area schools.  

  Robert Probasco
  rcprobasco at fastmail.fm

----- Original message -----
From: "Art Deco aka W. Fox" <deco at moscow.com>

Perhaps you can provides some specific observations to illustrate your
There have been a number of books published which seek to demythologize
History as presented to el-hi schoolers.
I for one would be interested in hearing your concerns.

Wayne A. Fox
waf at moscow.com
PO Box 9421
Moscow, ID 83843
208 882-7975

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Robert Probasco" <rcprobasco at fastmail.fm>
To: "'vision2020'" <vision2020 at moscow.com>
Sent: Tuesday, August 10, 2004 2:48 AM
Subject: [Vision2020] RE: our history books
| ----- Original message -----
| From: "Tom Hansen" <thansen at moscow.com>
| [snip]  ... let's study our history books .... [snip]
| If we study only the history books used in American schools, we'll
| continue to be woefully ignorant consumers of the mass media.  The
| sanitized version of history produced by American publishers is
| guaranteed to generate naive questions like, "Why do they hate us?"
| A decade ago, I served on the Moscow public schools textbook selection
| committee for Social Studies.  I was so appalled at the Pablum in
| books I recommended none be adopted.  Naturally, the chairwoman
| ramrodded her choice through the committee.  Six months later, the
| California school board rejected all submissions from social studies
| publishers as unworthy.
| I would recommend each student acquire a World Almanac so they can
| reference basic facts and dates, then creative assignments would
| them to research and recreate historical events.  They would gain an
| appreciation for the complex and contradictory events that led to the
| seminal events in the historical (or is that hysterical?) record.
| Bob Probasco

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