Learning from the past

October 3, 2008

History should be the most exciting subject students encounter. It tells the story of how we became who we are. How could that be boring? Easily, apparently:

INDIANAPOLIS – The state Board of Education says it recently discovered what students yawning through social studies class may already know — their textbooks are boring.

Members of the board, which routinely approves books for schools statewide, said the publications were so dull they recently tried to reject the list of social studies texts.

They later changed their minds after state schools chief Suellen Reed urged the group to approve the books so that schools could buy them at a discounted rate.

Reed acknowledged that many of the books don’t read well, however, and the board voted to send letters to schools warning that the books may be too monotonous for kids.

Holy cow. What a warning to send. If schools don’t know that their books may be “too monotonous for kids,” things are even worse than we thought in public education.

I’d rather books be accurate than interesting. I wonder how much of the books’ boringness is because publishers got weary of dealing with all the interest groups who demand that history be told with their particular spin. “Just the facts” might be boring, but maybe it’s the safest way.

I don’t remember the I had in school being either especially exciting or boring. They were made interesting parts of our educational experience by good teachers. And a bad teacher could negate the worth of the best book.

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5 Responses to “Learning from the past”

  1. Bob G. Says:

    Leo:
    You nailed it when it comes to the TEACHER aspect (of ANY class).
    All I mostly recall about OUR history books was that it kept everything ELSE from blowing off the damn desk!!!

    (and made a really decent door stop for the teacher)

    😉

  2. Larry Morris Says:

    Isn’t social studies really different than history, … If I remember correctly, we had both classes when I was in High School. Social studies would put you to sleep, but history was interesting, …

  3. Bob G. Says:

    In (Philly) elementary schools, they lumped it together…in high school it became a lot more defined.
    We had WORLD History, AMERICAN History, Government, but no “social studies”.

    Interesting thing…in today’s world, wouldn’t it be prudent to have kids STUDY about SOCIETY (social studies)?

    Maybe it would help with their overall behavioral issues.

    ‘Ya think?

    😉

  4. Leo Morris Says:

    “Social studies” is just the general overall term. Classes in history, government, sociology, political science, economics, psychology and anthropology are specific classes that are covered by the general term.

  5. Larry Morris Says:

    Well, I’ll be, …


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