Shocker! Kids Out of Touch with History/Culture
Posted by Ryan on February 26, 2008
A recent USA Today article suggests that today’s teenagers are losing touch with our common cultural and historical references!
Really? (with tons of sarcasm)
The American Enterprise Institute/Common Core study has all sorts of sample references and criteria that I may not have used or even focused on, but I see their point on display all the time in my profession as a history teacher.
Many students simply find no use for social studies or history; they don’t care so they don’t try too hard. Math and science are needed to compete for good jobs, and language arts and literature is important to manipulate the language in order to present oneself in a positive way for a future job or college. Plus, we must insist on 3-4 years of Spanish too.
Like those other core subjects, history and culture need to mean something as well as have some use to our kids. This ultimately means that they have to see the society at-large also embracing the importance of our shared history and culture. I don’t blame kids for what they learn, but one can blame society, school boards and parents for getting complacent about what our kids learn and why they must learn it.
To prevent complacency, I occasionally tell my students that they are in the generation who’s going to actually fight the current and future wars on terror, save Social Security, aid the planet, and secure health care some way… and I always tell them, “Good luck!” With so much at stake for these kids, we owe it to them to be honest about the world and the importance of learning our history and culture: globalization will affect their future jobs, fiscally responsible behavior will determine their future spending power, terrorists can kill them too, and being an American means something greater than a mere label.