One day, after my students and I had discussed an essay about the Civil War, I decided to give them an impromptu oral quiz on American history.
“Who was the president during the Civil War?”
A long silence followed as the students stared at me like deer caught in headlights.
Finally one brave student raised a hand and asked timidly, “George Washington?”
I thought to myself, “These students didn’t learn much from their American history class.”
However, I may have been wrong. The problem might not have been that the students had not learned American history.
The real problem may have been that their high school teachers had not taught it.
Since then, I have heard several parents claim their children’s teachers are not teaching traditional American history. From high school juniors to college seniors, students are being exposed to “progressive” teachers and radical college professors who preach the party line of socialism and put their own personal spin on our nation’s history. And the students, for their part, just passively accept all this pontificating as if it were gospel truth.
“Our Constitution is old and outdated and no longer relevant to our modern American society,” these teachers claim. “The founding fathers are just dead white men.” And the following statement is often heard before Thanksgiving break: “The Pilgrims held their feast to thank their Indian friends for teaching them to plant corn.” Not surprisingly, in this revisionist version of the first Thanksgiving, God is absent.
What can be done?
First … parents, talk to your children about school. Ask them about the ideas and ideals they are being taught in their classes, particularly in American history class.
Secondly, examine their textbooks. Look at the illustrations and their captions. Read a page or two. Is there anything you do not like, any statements with which you disagree or any ideologies or philosophies which you do not want your children to adopt?
If so, then get upset. Discuss the situation with teachers, the principal and the school board. Since parents’ taxes pay for the public schools, then parents should have some say in determining what their children are taught. We don’t pay taxes so that ultra-liberal teachers and radical college professors can brainwash our children with dangerous dogma from Marx and Lenin.
In his 1959 visit to America, Russian premier Nikita Khrushchev made this chilling promise: “Your children will grow up under communism.” If we do not monitor what our children are being taught in their schools and colleges (especially about our nation and its history), then we are helping Khrushchev’s disturbing prediction come true.
Parents, here is an easy little American history quiz. If your children have been taught their American history properly, they should pass with flying red, white and blue colors.
1. What was the purpose of Paul Revere’s ride?
2. According to tradition, what did Betsy Ross do?
3. What was Patrick Henry’s famous patriotic quote?
4. What were Nathan Hale’s last words?
5. What is the title of Thomas Paine’s pamphlet?
6. Which animal is America’s official symbol?
7. What are our three “unalienable rights” specified in the Declaration of
8. Which country was America’s foe during the War of 1812?
9. What are the three branches of our government?
10. Why is there no Benedict Arnold University?
HARRY MOSLEY of Carterville is a retired professor of English.