History of Textbooks

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  • Topic: Textbook, Chegg, Textbooks
  • Pages : 5 (1914 words )
  • Download(s) : 75
  • Published : May 23, 2008
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Textbooks are written supposedly with the purpose of addressing facts and topics defined by the educational systems to be the most crucial and valued for a factual and well-rounded educational experience. Not mass-marketed as editorials on how the rich white men remember things, this is too commonly how they some to be. Capitalism is defined as “an economic and political system in which a country's trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit, rather than by the state”. As universally acknowledged as the concept of “the American Dream” is the idea that the USA is a nation firmly rooted in Capitalism. However, some things about the state of publicly funded education are in conflict with one of Capitalism’s most commonly held tenets of “financial gain at any cost”. Publicly funded education is widely represented and regarded as an institution that exists for the betterment of everyone in the country and around the world. However, it can be seen when looking from another direction that the United States’ educational system is an example of an Ideological State Apparatus (Althusser, 12) and Hegemony at its finest.

Regardless of the level at which the decisions are being made, the purpose of a system of public education is purported to be to create an improved, more literate and socially responsible populace. Perhaps the clearest illustration of the inconsistency of such a perspective is the actual, publicly funded and widely accepted process of textbook adoption (and use) in the United States today. More educational opportunities supposedly give way to a more active and involved citizenry, and allow for a more diversely productive community. Increased efficient education reduces crime and improves quality of life, less people turn to drugs and violent criminal activity when they have the luxury of the experience associated with an unbiased, fact-based intellectual challenge such as should be provided by an education system funded by tax dollars and other public monies (Bull-Davie, 8). The picture of purpose seems pretty in theory, but in practice the reality is much less pleasing.

For the purpose of this project, we will only examine the impacts of History texts in public (not private or religious-based) educational systems. Perhaps the most ominous question that looms over the evaluation of such a topic is, “where are the black people in these books?” No matter the minority, the question remains the same. How can a system created under the guise of spreading equality through information and claiming to have the ultimate desire to have “No Child Left Behind” be so blatant in its disregard, many times even incorrect elimination of entire groups? Where would a public school student in America learn of the positive contributions of non-white people to the building of this nation, when such facts are left out, or at best glossed over in the most widely accepted US History textbooks used in this country? When the most recent census (2006) completed shows that around 16% of reporting households (which is likely to be a low estimate due to commonly high rates of underreporting within many low income communities) being black or of mixed race heritage, how can it be that students can faithfully attend publically funded schools from the time they were a toddler through graduation from High School learn so little about the actual history of black people? Unfortunately, the answer lies within the definition of and policies associated with Capitalism and Hegemony. American Aphorist Mason Cooley said, “Money [is] power at its most liquid”. In the same regard, “he who holds the money, holds the power” is a well-known, oft cited quote that is not attributed to any one person, because it is so fundamentally true. Note the adverb of choice, “HE”. This is not a coincidence or a default part of the quote, it is instead more of a fair assessment of the nature of power, wealth, and consequently, education in...
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