Monday, October 11, 2010

history class

I've had an epiphany about middle and high school education and I'm going to put it out here where no one will read it and it won't do any good, but at least I'll have gotten it out of my brain.

I think that students should get a broad overview of world history in middle school, and then start small in high school.
In 9th grade, students should learn their local history. Local leaders, historical figures, origins, heck even local businesses. City and county, that's what they should concentrate on. There is a lot of stuff I'm learning now that I don't remember learning in school. For instance, I know about Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglas, but who the heck was the Troup Howell Bridge named for?! (Robert Troup and Nathaniel Howell, if you were interested; also, Robert Troup's daughter, Charlotte, was the inspiration for that oft-mispronounced bit of land by the lake) For whom was the Town of Gates named? (Revolutionary War General Horatio Gates) Did you know that Canawaugus means "stinking waters" or that Genesee means "beautiful open valley" in the native languages of those who lived here? Do you know who Indian Allen was?


10th grade, then, should be state history. State stuff, state laws, state stupids, state courts, state origins, state figures...

11th grade should be US history -with the option to take the regular course or the AP version- and 12th grade should be European history -with the same regular/AP options- or possibly another world history overview elective.

People don't know shitall about history these days, even their local history, and I'll admit to being one of those people. It needs to change, and the change needs to start by making grumpy kids learn more. ...Don't get me started on the debacle that is standardized testing, though...

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