Georgia’s brave new schools:
The current high school world history course surveys civilization from the earliest times to the present. The new curriculum calls for teaching only the period from 1500 to the 21st century. Students will no longer study such figures as Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, Cleopatra, William the Conqueror or Joan of Arc.
The present 11th-grade U.S. history course covers the Exploration period to today. In the proposed changes, teachers will spend two or three weeks discussing the foundation of our country, with the remaining time devoted to studying events from 1876 to the present. Gone is any mention of the Louisiana Purchase or Lewis and Clark. There will be no discussion of Indian removal and the Trail of Tears.
Students probably will not be remembering the Alamo; it won’t be a topic of discussion in Georgia’s high schools. Daniel Webster and Henry Clay will be omitted, as well as Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass and the Underground Railroad.
Search in vain for discussion of the Civil War; that topic is off limits. In a course entitled ‘American History,’ students will not study our most devastating war. There is no mention of Fort Sumter, Abraham Lincoln, Robert E. Lee or anything else associated with those years.
Americans are already painfully ignorant of history, especially our own. This new history curriculum seems consistent with the case of the Rhodes Scholar nominee who was passed over for a job at a school in the Atlanta area because he would set an unrealistically high example for their students.
The Georgia school system seems to be admitting that it can’t teach, so it’s lowering the bar instead.