SHOULD WE TEACH PATRIOTIC EDUCTION IN US SCHOOLS?
Philosophic education is non-debatable. There is no difference between Christian and Muslim physics or upper and lower class biology (Galston, 1998, p. 470). However, civic education and its purpose served will always be debated. Civic education is about the formation of individuals who can effectively conduct their livers within their political community. Civic education in a liberal democracy will differ from a civic education in a communist regime (Galston, 1998, p. 471). In our liberal democracy there is a lingering controversial educational topic. Should we teach patriotic history and teach patriotism in our schools? Politicians, professors of higher education, parents, students, and citizens should all have a vested interest in these two issues. Intelligent people can have rational view points for each reason. Nothing is pure in what is being taught in our civic education classes. There are many external forces that will shape our history lessons. The state board of education will decide on what is being taught in an 8th grade history class. The state board of education is influence by many stakeholders. However, often times it is the states with larger populations that will determine what textbooks the smaller border states will use for their history curriculum. States with large populations, such as Texas and California, determine what facts and stories they want to teach in their classes. The smaller states that border on the Texas line will be taught the conservative natured history lessons that middle school students in Texas will learn America is a melting pot with many different races, religions, and political views. Our history lessons are continuously challenged by different viewpoints. The majority will generally be satisfied with certain points taught or left out in history lessons; however the minority will often be opposed. It will be difficult to achieve neutrality and balance to all groups when teaching patriotic history. (Fullinwider, 1996, p. 206) The argument goes back to the principle, if we don’t always know the truth, what does it matter. However, isn’t it possible that if we don’t go after the quest for historical accuracy we endangering a skewed and biased version of history? Fullinwider believes we have a lot of available history and there are lots of concerns that come into play. Not all concerns are compatible for truths. There is a different history to be taught to help our students become patriotic citizens. He acknowledges the need for historian scholars and their quest for “Wart end all” history, a history that is written purely in the interest of the ugly truth. Fullinwider feels that the historian scholars have a role to uncover and teach on racism, xenophobia, and violence of a nation’s past. (Fullinwider, 1996, p. 207-208) However, Fullinwider would like to go a little easy on some of these episodes. If we want a proud history don’t burden our young students with these episodes. He feels the historian educator has an obligation to inspire young students. Fullinwider feels they must be careful with details. (Fullinwider, 1996, p. 209) “Students need a usable past.. a past in which they can find values and projects to take as their own legacies. As heirs, they define their own lives around goals and commitments that build on what came before.”(Fullinwider, 1996, p. 222) Thomas Jefferson was a major political participant in the constitution and is easily recognized as a leading figure in enlightenment, freedom and inequality. However, Jefferson was a slave owner. If we focus on the negative aspects of Jefferson hypocrisies then we fail as educators to inspire children on key American democracy ideals of freedom and inequality. Martin Luther King, is a national figure and a key leader in the American civil rights movement. However, he plagiarized his doctoral thesis and had numerous infidelities. Fullinwider believes it is...
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