Teaching history as a trivia contest and neglecting the stories

Former history teacher J. Marcus Patton is writing a book, “History is Story: Reforming the Way Teach and Learn About Ourselves in the Information Age.”

Here is an essay that he wrote: (You can read more by him at his blog.)

By J. Marcus Patton

This year’s debate over charter schools proved one thing – that Georgians want reform in education. Let’s take advantage of this opportunity.

We certainly need school reform that will prepare students for the challenges of the 21st century. We need cutting-edge technology for students who live in an increasingly technological age. We need research-based, data-driven policy initiatives in improving education. But in the drive to discover new methods to serve our fast-moving era, we should not forget that human nature is relatively constant.

Thousands of years before televisions or computers or smart phones were conceived, human beings gathered around fires to learn from each other. Curious by nature, intelligent, discerning, and innately social creatures, human beings created the perfect means for sharing knowledge. Storytelling was the foundation of our first educational system – the oral tradition – and it still frames the way we learn.

People learn through stories. We may memorize lists of facts and formulas for solving problems, use acronyms, logos, and jingles to jog our memories, but we understand information in the context of a narrative. Stories are how we make sense of the world.

As a history teacher for many years, I had the pleasure of sharing good stories with a generation or so of young learners. But to my great frustration, the data that was gathered on my students’ performance was based not on their ability to make sense of the world through what they had learned in my class. It was on their ability to recognize factoids on a standardized test and guess the answer that some faceless state bureaucrat had deemed to be correct.

Today we are swimming in a sea of information, and knowing how to make sense of it is possibly the most important skill a student can acquire in school. It is far less important that a student know the same things as every other student in the state, and far more important that students learn how to find information, evaluate what they have learned, and be able to articulate a conclusion from their research that is based on reliable evidence.

We have been teaching history students how to win a trivia contest. We need to teach them how to be experts in the use of information. And while information can be used in an infinite variety of ways, the time-tested, universally recognized narrative form provides a natural structure for students to use in demonstrating what they have learned. This is certainly true in the discipline of history. I believe the same principle applies in other fields of study as well.

For too long, we have clung to the idea that there is a set body of knowledge that is essential for a person to acquire in order to be educated. We must recognize that information is a stream, and students in the 21st century will need to know how to ride its waves.

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

85 comments Add your comment

Pride and Joy

December 5th, 2012
6:21 am

I wholeheartedly agree with J. Marcu Patton. History is important. It helps us “make sense of the world.” As I say, it helps us understand the world.
History has been reducted to factoids; however, standardized testing is here to stay and until teachers and parents demand ESSAY questions for subjects such as history or essay answers on history tests, we need to memorize factoids for test and teach history stories for life lessons. It is easy to do both.
Let me repeat that — it is EASY to do both.
Stories are fascinating and children to listen to fascinating stories. For example, WHY did Alexander Graham Bell invent the phone?
I NEVER LEARNED that in school. I learned it off of a television when I was an adult. Alexander’s wife was going deaf and he invented the phone so that she could communicate with others.
LOVE IS THE REASON he invented the phone. When you tell the real history story, you’ve just sucked in the audience of attentive listeners.
We also had to memorize all the US State capitols. As a ten year old I created mnemonic devices on my own to memorize them and shared them wtih my classmates who helped make up the rest. I was FUN! Even Beverly Fraud would appreciate this device:
What State capitol has the name of a BASHFUL GIRL?
Cheyenne (shy Ann) Wyoming.
I still remember it a couple decades later.
History can be FASCINATING AND FUN — including learning the factoids.
It simply takes an adult who is intelligent, educated, creative who WANTS to teach it instead of moaning and groaning about standardized tests.

Pride and Joy

December 5th, 2012
6:24 am

and that would be CAPITALS, not CAPITOLS.

AP History Teacher

December 5th, 2012
7:18 am

This guy speaks the truth. Trying to explain Changes and Continuities over time in History is akin to trying to pull teeth out of alligator’s mouth. The problem is that my kids have only been on earth for 15-16 years, only remembering maybe 10-12 of those years, but still cannot see into the future past the three inches from their noses.

I try to teach history as a big soap opera/drama. I have always enjoyed/loved it, but its hard to get the kids to buy into something that they assume to have very little connection to. Also in light of this, STEM items in school are being pushed at an alarming rate. Students can do quadratic equations, balance chemical equations, operate CAD, but the basic ideas of writing and critical thinking are becoming a lost art. Students/Parents have said my homework/classwork comes after chemistry, math, and environmental science. Yes these are my AP Kids.

I can only imagine the blow back if a school decided to “charter” and become a HELA (History, English, Language, Arts) School. We have STEM focused only schools (such as the one in Gwinnet), but at those schools one could assume HELAs are kicked to the curb because thats what they are not there for. Its like taking English 101 at GT. My colleagues said it was a joke.

I have always said we need to rethink the way our schools are structured and remove this 19th Century European Centrist Model of learning that confines kids to a classroom. Kids interested in STEM, go to an STEM School. Kids interested in HELA and the future occupations associated with that, go there starting in their 11-12th grade year. 9-10 is core curriculum style and you take a test similar to an ASVAB to determine your interests. Parents, students, and counselors make the decision from there.

Sorry for the ranting, we had a discussion on this in class the other day and it was too good to pass up.

Cindy Lutenbacher

December 5th, 2012
8:03 am

Amen, Marcus! You speak to one of the most pressing issues of standardized testing–the fact that it primarily tests disparate factoids and not true skill, knowledge, critical thinking, or understanding.
All reputable research points to your conclusions. Thank you for a terrific essay.

Jerry Eads

December 5th, 2012
8:07 am

Another exemplar of my old saw – we’ve been reducing P-12 public education to memorizing factoids and formulas (by requring nothing else but such with low-bid “minimum competency” tests) for nigh on 40 years. And then we blame teachers for not giving us productive citizens. And can’t understand why so many kids – bored to tears by our forcing them to do nothing but memorize factoids and formulas – leave school without graduating.

Worthless destructive testing isn’t the only monster under the bed, to be sure, but it’s a pretty big one. I’ll hope out loud again that the Common Core movement will help change this particular travesty and help kids and teachers once again enjoy learning.

William Casey

December 5th, 2012
9:25 am

@AP History Teacher: I’d love to teach at your HELA school! My favorite compliment I ever received from a student was, “Coach Casey, I really enjoyed your class. You made history seem like a giant adventure story.”

mystery poster

December 5th, 2012
10:20 am

History IS a giant adventure, but is rarely taught that way.

Reading about Thomas Jefferson never got me excited.

I got excited I read about women who chained themselves to the white house fence to gain suffrage, Factory workers who risked everything to form unions to protect their health and safety on the job, people like me but much braver and stronger.

Snarkysnake

December 5th, 2012
10:29 am

Mr. Patton is right. I only wish that he could be around to teach the history of how enabling parents through school choice options improved schools in Georgia despite the mossback opposition that wanted to keep the status quo.( I assume that since he is retired that time is not on our side here).His approach is sound,his logic is credible. When the history of our time is written I would love to have him teach it.

mystery poster

December 5th, 2012
10:34 am

PS: I know that some of you may come on here and tell me what a fascinating character Thomas Jefferson was, and you may be right.

mystery poster

December 5th, 2012
10:37 am

On a semi-related note, Joel Stein’s column in Time magazine this week talked about the Common Core standards in writing and reading. The focus is going to change from fiction to non-fiction, a change which Mr. Stein was not very pleased about.

I tried to link the article, but without subscription information only the first paragraph appears.

Throckmorton P. Gildersleeve

December 5th, 2012
10:53 am

I want to add a hearty AMEN! to AP History Teacher’s comment. History is a panoramic tapestry and should be taught as such. Students can make connections much easier than they can memorize disjointed facts which are quickly forgotten.

Janet

December 5th, 2012
11:07 am

Of course there could be more history STORIES taught in school as opposed to memorizing facts, but doesn’t some of this responsibility fall back to the parents as well? I try to take the opportunity to explain history to my 5 and 7 year olds every chance I get. I took them to see the Titanic exhibit at Atlantic Station and they LOVED it. While registering for pre-k this summer, the local church where my son attends, had a small grave yard next to it. It contained a few headstones dating back to the civil war. I took that opportunity to discuss the civil war, slavery, racism, Abraham Lincoln. They were FASCINATED. I took them to the High Museum to see the Mummy exhibit and combined this and the other outings with trips to the library for some books on the topic. My point is schools get the blame for everything wrong, but the truth is Parents should be equally responsible for teaching the stories of our history. And now that Google exists… there truly is no excuse.

SBinF

December 5th, 2012
11:20 am

Great points made….I’m a history teacher, and my students are sometimes shocked when they quiz me and I don’t know the exact date of some battle, or the day when some historic figure was born or died. I explain to them that all of that stuff can be looked up in a book fairly easily (or online, now). A proper understanding of history requires that you see the arc of history. It’s not about names and dates, but knowing the cause and effect relationship between events in the world’s past.

living in an outdated ed system

December 5th, 2012
11:25 am

I applaud this teacher’s letter. It’s important to note that digital technology affords us an amazing technology to teach history in absolutely amazing ways. What if you could go into history lab, like science lab? This video shows how you can supplement history teaching in innovative ways using technology, and teach “historical empathy” more effectively, and not through memorizing information without context: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mirxkzkxuf4

And while we’re at it, lets ensure that our administrators don’t continue to whittle down World History until it’s nearly removed from the K-12 curriculum! US History is only a microcosm in the history of our civilization, and children must be taught that our form of government was built on centuries of best practices.

Another comment

December 5th, 2012
11:26 am

My daughter took dual enrollment at GPC this year. As I was helping her review for her Poli Science Final Monday night, got to what is the Federal Reserve. She answered it correctly. Then I added my own follow up. I asked who is the current chair of the Federal Reserve? She says I don’t know are you kidding me. I said no, it is Ben Bernake.

paulo977

December 5th, 2012
11:47 am

” have been teaching history students how to win a trivia contest. We need to teach them how to be experts in the use of information”
____________________________________________________

AGREE ….Standardized testing and the pressure put on teachers to make sure the kids bubble in correct answers have led to an absence of ENGAGEMENT in learning …… Teachers are complaining that they have no time to really encourage discovery learning through , for example, creative drama , art , creative writing etc.

Unfortunately teachers are taking the fall for a totally ‘Uneducated’ leadership in education at this moment in time!!!

paulo977

December 5th, 2012
11:56 am

Jerry Eads …”Common Core movement will help change this particular travesty and help kids and teachers once again enjoy learning
_______________________________________________

From what I gather, the Common Core being implemented in the Dekalb County school s , has made testing and grading even more rigorous .!!!!

Private Citizen

December 5th, 2012
12:39 pm

It’s difficult to teach anything when you’re being micromanaged and harassed by administrators. If I may stand on a box for a minute, for historical context I think it is significant to reference a sort of multi-axis of events, politics, literature, art, and philosophy from an era. One might include geographic dimension as well. The cause and effect of events may not be popular from the U. S. political perspective as it seems there is a requirement to teach events from a pro U. S. propaganda perspective. I have seen much internet commentary concerning that the U. S. teaching leaves out that basically the Russians defeated the Germans in the WW2 ground war. The Russians paid a heavy price and brutally basically destroyed the German forces from their side of things and the U. S. was secondary to the ending of the war as far as Germany. This is not taught to U. S. students or public and the events are taught out of context to what occurred.

paulo & all, I am thankful for “Common Core” in that the state is no longer writing their own standards with the bizarre required go-alongs that make teachers do thing. The state has made teachers write “Essential Questions” on their classroom boards (valuable space) along with the “standards.” This is terrible stuff. It is top down harassment. A junior teacher might go along with it, but for an experienced teacher it is highly intrusive, not only providing guidelines but also prescribing ad-hoc focus to the guidelines as if the teacher is some kind of idiot or something. The result of then is that the county or school administration will play-judge the teacher if there are following the prescribed “essential question” so that there is a cascading effect that allows the control people something to do. It is is like some nitwit from the state literally has their hand on your marker and is making you write their sayings on the classroom wipeboard. Doing this daily as a condition of teaching is pedestrian and excessive. Thank goodness the Common Core is taking the place of the former “Georgia Standards” that seemed like a jobs program the very few that made indenture for the many.

Jessica

December 5th, 2012
12:49 pm

I agree. Sometimes it’s necessary to learn dates and facts, but even this ‘boring’ part of learning can be more meaningful if we have already told them the stories. History class should be designed to encourage our kids’ interest in the subject, not destroy their curiosity.

Fiction books, from picture books to novels, can be a great way to introduce kids to times and places in history. My daughter recently finished a series about a little girl living in Colonial times. The books piqued her interest, so she has since sought out a few books nonfiction books at the library about that time period. Now, I think she knows more about Colonial life than I ever learned in school!

Mountain Man

December 5th, 2012
1:34 pm

“Factory workers who risked everything to form unions to protect their health and safety on the job,”

They should also learn about about unions in the car manufacturing industry – where a high school dropout made $80,000 per year to put a screw in a hole. Then if no screws were available, he/she sat around because getting a broom and sweeping up “was not his/her job”. Plus job security that said if they didn’t need him/her to work anymore, they had to pay them 95% of their wages to sit in a room and watch TV. Then came in the Japanese who could make a much better quality car in Japan, then ship it over to America, and STILL sell it cheaper than an American car made down the road.

Maybe then students would understand part of the reason we don’t do manufacturing in the US anymore.

Mountain Man

December 5th, 2012
1:35 pm

Or is that Economics, not History?

Dr. Proud Black Man

December 5th, 2012
1:55 pm

Both hillbilly, both.

Newt is nuts

December 5th, 2012
2:27 pm

Maureen, another fascinating blog to read. I’m not sure you, or your readers, have the solution but let me add my thoughts that might put a damper on the conversation.

I served as a business representative on a state commission formed in the 1980s to consider instituting a merit pay system. I learned then that the majority of social studies positions in Georgia rural systems were given to coaches because that was something they could handle with little preparation and oversight.

And when it came time to appoint principals, success in the athletic arena was the single most important factor.

Perhaps that is not the case in the metro Atlanta systems, although I suspect that the HELA curriculums still take a back seat to not only STEM courses, but also athletic and social programs.

And, by the way, the merit pay proposal never got off the ground, mainly because of opposition by the teacher unions.

Not much has changed in 30 years, eh?

Just A Teacher

December 5th, 2012
2:31 pm

The technique is good and the only way history ever made sense to me. I wonder, however, about the history curriculum when I ask students about the left wing anti war movement of the 1960’s and they tell me they never heard of any such thing. Kent State isn’t mentioned in history books but Tianeman (sp?) Square is. The difference between the two is that the American government ordered the killings at Kent State and the Chinese government ordered the protestors at Tianeman Square to be taken out. These same history books treat slavery and the attempted extermination of native Americans as necessary evils in the development of our country. They praise the achievements of the robber barons such as Carnegie and Rockefeller without mentioning the struggle of American labor to eliminate child labor and indentured servitude. In the future, I’m sure children will be taught how Wall Street saved America by allowing the government to give them hundreds of billions of American tax dollars in interest free loans.

Mountain Man

December 5th, 2012
3:27 pm

“Both hillbilly, both”

I take that as a compliment.

skipper

December 5th, 2012
3:30 pm

Good article……..bad enough they have changed the dynamics of history, made it “politically-correct” etc. as well as nothing more than factoid letter punching. I am speaking from experience as I AM a history major. What is going on is a far-cry from how it should be……..

Newt is nuts

December 5th, 2012
3:37 pm

Just A Teacher’s obvious liberal bias simply cannot go unchallenged. Precisely what “American government” ordered the killing at Kent State? Can I presume you teach at the university level where opinions disguised as “facts” are protected by tenure?

You make good points but, as often the case with progressives, they overstate their argument. Sad.

oldtimer

December 5th, 2012
3:54 pm

I, too regret the demise of history is public classrooms. As a retired history teacher, I fear we will be repeating many mistakes we could have learned from.

indigo

December 5th, 2012
3:58 pm

History is one of the most important subjets students take in high school and college. Unfortunately, many teachers don’t know how to teach it and wind up boring their students to tears. The most important lesson history teaches is UNDERSTANDING how and why things got to be the way they are and instructing us in the matters and events that keep repeating themselves throughout the ages.

Private Citizen

December 5th, 2012
3:59 pm

Mountain Man, I request that you obtain and read a copy of Japan in the Passing Lane: An Insider’s Account of Life in a Japanese Auto Factory by Satoshi Kamata.

3schoolkids

December 5th, 2012
4:03 pm

I agree but don’t think it will get better with Common Core. Judging from comments from family members who teach in 2 states, there are not enough resources in place yet. Up North in true Union States, teachers can’t stay after school for professional development and team workshops so it doesn’t get done. Down here, the problem isn’t necessarily time but districts either not providing enough direction or being too strict in resource use.

I like to use the Magic Treehouse series with my son. We’ll read a book and then expand on the topic and maybe even bring family history into it. Children with autism have difficulty answering the 5 W’s -who, what, when, where and why. What we focus on instead of written assessment is being able to describe the 5 W’s with words accurately. It is amazing the facts a child will remember without being pressured and asked to provide the information in a particular way. We’ll do a summary of what he learns (he talks while I type), then correct his “rough draft” and print it.

Private Citizen

December 5th, 2012
4:04 pm

Newt is Nuts, Kent State isn’t mentioned in history books but Tiananmen Square is.

This is a pretty basic observation. How did you make the jump to lefty / liberal scapegoating?

Private Citizen

December 5th, 2012
4:12 pm

Ohio State; “The President’s Commission on Campus Unrest avoided probing the question of why the shootings happened.” Sounds like “American government” to me.

Dr. Craig Spinks/ Georgians for Educational Excellence

December 5th, 2012
4:17 pm

History? Why has Social Studies triumphed over History AND Geography at the elementary- and middle school-levels? Whatever happened to History as the Story of Man? Whatever happened to Geography as a means of gaining perspective on that story? One of my History professors asserted that one would not understand the history of a nation without understanding its geography. My experiences have supported that assertion.

Private Citizen

December 5th, 2012
4:18 pm

I guess they can’t teach “American Government” because nobody ever owns up to anything. Superintendent Davis has this technique figured out and someone him even lauded him as an example of character for not saying anything about what he did. Some days you really have to wonder what are the limits to the mind of a sheep. The sky is blue? The grass is damp. A philosopher once said most humans eat and create waste and that is about the extent of their activity. They’ve got you so brainwashed in the U. S., many people exhibit Stockholm Syndrome, feeling affection for one who has made power over you. It’s a pretty good trick when they can tell people something nonsensical and then the people will personally defend it. There is a story about two campus cause groups in different parts of the world unknown to each other. They were both using identical signs / placards provided by George Soros.

Truth in Moderation

December 5th, 2012
4:22 pm

History lessons are alive and well amongst the home school community. We start in K-5 and work our way through chronologically, repeating the cycle every 4 years at a deeper level. When my children were 8, 11, and 12, they had already covered Ancient History and read the Iliad and the Odyssey as well as studied Latin and Mythology. We were able to take them on a cruise of the Eastern Mediterranean so they could see the ruins of these ancient civilizations first hand. Buy your kids THE STORY OF THE WORLD, by Susan Wise Bauer, on CD and listen to it in the car. You will learn right along with them.

Mike

December 5th, 2012
4:40 pm

They say that those who don’t study history are doomed to repeat it.

Sorry, we’re all going to repeat it whether we learn it or not.

A few people love to engage in the actual thinking process and wish to go deep. Most would rather swim in the shallow end because it’s easier, warmer, and less threatening. That’s just human nature.

I can tell you what people have NOT learned from history: How to recognize when they are being fooled with a catchy phrase. The current flavor is “Fiscal Cliff.” Ben Bernake coins the phrase, everyone freaks out, and they get convinced by the media that there’s some disaster up ahead.

Had he simply called it the deficit reducer (which is what it is) or the debt ladder (as in, climbing out of debt) then people would have a completely different attitude about it.

A catchy phrase trumps reason every time. Y2K, Too Big to Fail, We fight them over there so we don’t have to over here, death panels, fiscal cliff.

Every generation seems to have a majority who constantly attack intellectualism, as if thinking is a bad thing.

Oh well.

SBinF

December 5th, 2012
5:03 pm

“Unfortunately, many teachers don’t know how to teach it and wind up boring their students to tears.”

Good heavens, Indigo. I can only hope you’re dedicating your life in the trenches to help educate youngsters with a comment like that.

Prof

December 5th, 2012
5:24 pm

@ Newt is Nuts. (Agreed). Well, the National Guard shot the Kent State students as they were protesting the Vietnam War. Seems pretty close to government forces to me.

Newt is nuts

December 5th, 2012
5:36 pm

If I understand Truth in Moderation, part of the solution for public schools is to have parents take their kids on cruises to the eastern Mediterranean. Yep, that’t the answer. Home schooling for single moms and cruises in the summer. No problem.

M.E.

December 5th, 2012
5:39 pm

I want his book.

Private Citizen

December 5th, 2012
6:11 pm

Truth in Moderation, You need to keep your kids from jumping the rope and running around on the ancient mosaic tiles. That stuff is really durable. They dig up and clear an area and it looks like it was built in the last century, from the U. S. time perspective. I was in Lyon one time and I noted that according to a small brass plaque on the front of the building, it was built a thousand years ago. Looked like the other buildings next to it, modern windows and doors, but the walls were quite thick. Lyon used to be the capital before Paris. They Lyonnaise know it, too. :-) Saw an old guy take a fall on the ice there, bump his head. It was kind of a sad thing to see. Place gets cold in winter, close to the Alps, with the huge Rhone River coming out of the mountains and blasting through town.

I keep trying to get my yard to look like that buy it just doesn’t work. I can’t figure out what is missing. Maybe I need to go to the Lowe’s or Home Depot. http://farm1.staticflickr.com/37/108869095_101f7b5f9f_o.jpg

indigo

December 5th, 2012
6:11 pm

SBinF – 5:03

I was commenting on personal experiences in high achool and college.

I don’t have the talents to be a teacher. If I see a car that has been wrecked that does not mean I must devote my life to being a body repair man.

Private Citizen

December 5th, 2012
6:24 pm

Oh, look. The Nederlanders are honoring an American poet and have put their poem on the side of a building. http://farm1.staticflickr.com/23/88164197_8fe8e3bb9d_o.jpg Which came first, art of universal health care? For them, the port of Rotterdam came first and through this they built wealth. Maybe the chronology is: art, port, bicycles, health care, public art. I guarantee a city mayor there could tell you. They’re proud of their wealth. Oh, they do banking, too. That’s right. I forgot. I’ve even got the shirt I bought from a guy whose wife worked at the bank and got some extra promotional goods. http://www.abnamro.com/en/index.html PS Don’t wear this kind of shirt to your government school teaching job. It freaks people out.

Private Citizen

December 5th, 2012
7:10 pm

Mountain Man, Here’s some of those industrious Japanese: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8rIguM71LQI

Wow, I can hardly believe this movie is online. Great and entertaining fiction story movie, “Great Teacher Onizuka” (1999). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KEVTtDFA77c This is a great movie, a “must see.”

William Casey

December 5th, 2012
8:16 pm

One of the reasons history is either not taught well or is boring is that many of the teachers simply don’t know it well enough. HS history teachers need degrees in history. This was true to a small degree in my time (1975-2006.) Increasingly so now. Another reason is that standardized testing and “curriculum reform” are squeezing the life out of the subject.

Truth in Moderation

December 5th, 2012
8:35 pm

@Private Citizen
You are right about the durable ancient buildings. We spent a few hours wandering the magnificent Hagia Sophia in Istanbul,Turkey. It was hard to believe it had been used as a Church (Orthodox patriarchal basilica), and later a mosque, since the time of Emperor Justinian (532 AD). In Egypt there were no ropes; the kids climbed the bottom two levels of stone on the Great Pyramid. Sadly, an elderly passenger on our ship was touring the ruins around the Sphinx and had a heart attack. He fell and hit his head and later died. We were standing in line to see the ruins when they carried him out, his elderly wife following in shock.

Matt P

December 5th, 2012
8:49 pm

Great essay – thank you for publishing. If you add one more bit, you’ve pretty much rounded out my current criticism of the system. And that is, the teaching of United States history always starts at roughly 1492, gallops toward the Civil War, and then mucks through to about 1950 before the school year is over. Kids go to history class, and that class doesn’t tell them anything about the world around them today.

I love all history – I want kids to learn about Gheghis Khan, Athens vs. Persia, Gettysburg, Bismarck, and everything in between. But since we teach American history, and Georgian history, we need to connect that history to the present. More importantly, we need to teach kids how to do the reverse – how to connect the present to the past. What can we learn about the current issues we face by studying history? That’s the unique perspective of history. And we don’t even try to use it, we’re so wedded to standardized tests that prize knowing things like “Who founded Savannah?” or “What was the name of the early 20th century book that led the creation of the FDA”? I’d really rather have history classes teach things like, what do people DO in Savannah? How’d it get to be that way? & what motivated the populists and progressives of the early 20th century? How did they agitate for change? What obstacles did they face? In what ways are they similar or different to the Tea Party and the Occupy Wall Street movement today?

Hillbilly D

December 5th, 2012
10:01 pm

I’m guessing somebody on here has never set foot inside an automobile manufacturing plant. They obviously have no concept of how they operate.

Private Citizen

December 6th, 2012
1:56 am

James Oglethorpe and Upton Sinclair. :-)