Don’t Know Much About History

by Christopher Harper | July 31st, 2018

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Don't Know Much About History

The teach­ing of his­tory in high school has become so appalling that few stu­dents arrive at a uni­ver­sity with any coher­ent under­stand­ing of the past.

As an exam­ple, I’ve been asked to be on a panel for my college’s stu­dents who are too young to know much about 911.

Think about that. Some­how col­lege stu­dents don’t know enough about 9/​11, an event that occurred less than 20 years ago that has shaped the United States so distinctly.

With a lack of under­stand­ing about recent his­tor­i­cal events, it is not sur­pris­ing that stu­dents don’t know much older his­tory. And what the stu­dents know is mostly tripe. Some­how 911 was OUR fault. Sad­dam Hus­sein wasn’t such a bad guy. We stole Amer­ica from its true own­ers and should pay repa­ra­tions for slavery.

But there’s more. The Col­lege Board, a non­profit orga­ni­za­tion that runs the SAT and Advanced Place­ment pro­gram, announced that it was revis­ing the world his­tory course it has offered since 2002.

After many com­plaints, the orga­ni­za­tion added 250 years to the front end of the course, mak­ing the new class cover the 13th cen­tury through to the present day.

Here’s what stu­dents will learn in the addi­tional material:

–The found­ing of the Mali Empire in 1235
–The death of Sun­di­ata Keita in 1260
–The life of Mansa Musa (12801337)
–Swahili cities of the 14th cen­tury
–Zim­babwe in the 15th century

And wait for it: The begin­ning of the Euro­pean slave trade in 1441.

All of these areas of his­tory may be worth­while to exam­ine, but I don’t think they belong in an intro­duc­tory world his­tory course.

But there’s even more. One of the sug­gested areas of study is to imag­ine if Christo­pher Colum­bus were a woman named Christine.

The study guide­line sug­gests an area of dis­cus­sion includes the soci­etal inter­preations of men­stru­a­tion in Euro­pean and Native Amer­i­can cul­ture. I’m not kidding.

Here it is: https://​apcen​tral​.col​lege​board​.org/​c​o​u​r​s​e​s​/​a​p​-​w​o​r​l​d​-​h​i​s​t​o​r​y​/​c​l​a​s​s​r​o​o​m​-​r​e​s​o​u​r​c​e​s​/​v​o​y​a​g​e​s​-​c​h​r​i​s​t​i​n​e​-​c​o​l​umbus

In a com­pan­ion syl­labus, the rest of the course, which is sup­posed to be at the col­lege level, pro­vides infor­ma­tion on the following:

–Global Inter­ac­tions (c. 1450 to c. 1750)

That would be cre­at­ing impe­r­ial empires that sub­ju­gate humans through­out the world. Now I’m kid­ding, but it’s prob­a­bly close to the truth.

–Indus­tri­al­iza­tion and Global Inte­gra­tion (c. 1750 to c. 1900)

That would be dehu­man­iz­ing work­ers and expand­ing empires to sub­ju­gate the poor.

–Accel­er­at­ing Global Change and Realign­ments (c. 1900 to the Present)

I think this prob­a­bly means a lot of bad things hap­pened unless you were part of the one-​percenters.

You really can’t make this stuff up! But I guess a lot of high school his­tory teach­ers do.

Here’s Sam Cooke: https://​www​.youtube​.com/​w​a​t​c​h​?​v​=​R​4​G​L​A​K​EjU4w

The teaching of history in high school has become so appalling that few students arrive at a university with any coherent understanding of the past.

As an example, I’ve been asked to be on a panel for my college’s students who are too young to know much about 9/11.

Think about that. Somehow college students don’t know enough about 9/11, an event that occurred less than 20 years ago that has shaped the United States so distinctly.

With a lack of understanding about recent historical events, it is not surprising that students don’t know much older history. And what the students know is mostly tripe. Somehow 9/11 was OUR fault. Saddam Hussein wasn’t such a bad guy. We stole America from its true owners and should pay reparations for slavery.

But there’s more. The College Board, a nonprofit organization that runs the SAT and Advanced Placement program, announced that it was revising the world history course it has offered since 2002.

After many complaints, the organization added 250 years to the front end of the course, making the new class cover the 13th century through to the present day.

Here’s what students will learn in the additional material:

–The founding of the Mali Empire in 1235
–The death of Sundiata Keita in 1260
–The life of Mansa Musa (1280-1337)
–Swahili cities of the 14th century
–Zimbabwe in the 15th century

And wait for it: The beginning of the European slave trade in 1441.

All of these areas of history may be worthwhile to examine, but I don’t think they belong in an introductory world history course.

But there’s even more. One of the suggested areas of study is to imagine if Christopher Columbus were a woman named Christine.

The study guideline suggests an area of discussion includes the societal interpreations of menstruation in European and Native American culture. I’m not kidding.

Here it is: https://apcentral.collegeboard.org/courses/ap-world-history/classroom-resources/voyages-christine-columbus

In a companion syllabus, the rest of the course, which is supposed to be at the college level, provides information on the following:

–Global Interactions (c. 1450 to c. 1750)

That would be creating imperial empires that subjugate humans throughout the world. Now I’m kidding, but it’s probably close to the truth.

–Industrialization and Global Integration (c. 1750 to c. 1900)

That would be dehumanizing workers and expanding empires to subjugate the poor.

–Accelerating Global Change and Realignments (c. 1900 to the Present)

I think this probably means a lot of bad things happened unless you were part of the one-percenters.

You really can’t make this stuff up! But I guess a lot of high school history teachers do.

Here’s Sam Cooke: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R4GLAKEjU4w

 

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