As I have begun reading for my teacher-credentialing program, I came across an interesting line about standards teaching in Social Science:
“The proposed first set of National History standards engendered a fierce national controversy, with critics concerned about what they regarded as an anti-Eurocentric bias and an emphasis on negative aspects of U.S. History. These history standards were denounced by the Senate, and President Clinton’s administration did not defend them.” (June R. Chapin, “A Practical Guide to Secondary Social Studies, 6)
It made me think about how I want to teach history. Do I want to emphasize the negative aspects of US history? I tend to be a bit of a cynic when it comes to US history. While some people see manifest destiny, I see plotting politicians searching for more power and more land. While they might have had America’s best interests at heart, I still doubt the sincerity of calling America some sort of Winthropian “city on a hill.” I think it is this type of thinking that has lead to the hawks believing they have to take America to the world—as if everywhere democracy should be the only system.
Then I wonder if students will even care. I wonder if students even care enough about the history of America. I wonder if I am not just going to waste my life teaching something that people don’t care about.