Knowledge is power. The group that holds the intellectual advantage controls society and the world. The effect is insidious and all encompassing. Foreknowledge of the pitfalls of credit can potentially save thousands in interest. Early cancer detection saves thousands of lives yearly. A little information goes a long way.
Today’s teachers play a different role post-internet age. We are no longer the gatekeepers of knowledge. Children can get the answers to anything with two thumbs and a cell phone before we could inhale. As a consequence the modern k-12 instructor acts as a litmus test for reality. We separate the blog-chaff from the research-wheat. Most of my job consists of helping emerging minds build a filter to block the lies and distortions that most of the internet is filled with. We stress the necessity of using credible, verifiable sources. We expose fraudulent “news” sources and agenda-setting propaganda. Certain sources are assumed to be accurate by their very nature. Unfortunately, one source long assumed to be unbiased and legitimate is swiftly becoming political and subjected to false assertions and outrageous distortions. The Texas School Board of Educators has recently decided it is possible to decide what is factual by committee vote. This lie, this high-jacking of history textbooks endangers the future of our country and severely cripples America’s competitive edge globally.
Facts are not up to opinion. One cannot decide what is real or not. Things happen; people witness. For at least the past sixty years most events have been recorded either on film or audio. Yet for some, the world is a different place. Some believe men never landed on the moon. Others still are made to memorize the myth of Columbus. I, until my teens, labored under the fable that the Mexican Amy was the cause of the Alamo and Texas was an American territory Santa Ana invaded. The common origin of these lies sprang from the public school textbooks.
Recently the school board decided to “adjust” the curriculum and information of Texas Social Studies books kids will learn from. Since Texas is so large the desires and distortions slipped into students studies eventually make it around the nation. What, pray tell, has drawn the ire of intellectuals in America? How about the lionizing of McCarthyism? Or possibly tilting reality to make the late-coming politicians the heroes of the Civil Rights struggles instead of Martin Luther King Jr. and W.E.B Dubois? As a matter of fact, let’s completely erase the centuries of rape, murder, and brutality of the slave trade and wash America’s culpability clear; now that millennium of massacre is called the Triangle trade. Cute. White sympathizers/ supremacists Haley Barbour and Glen Beck have already attempted to rewrite history for their own purposes. They have millions of supporters that either use this facade to hide their racism or simply don’t know any better because of the years of official lies.
I look out at my students knowing that they are the future. I know I am teaching the next leaders of this world. Facts are the foundation buy which society stands. Facts are not conservative or liberal. Knowledge is power. History is not limited to our opinion. What happens when the other nations know more than us? That one is easy: The same thing that happened when we knew more than them.
Barrett Sheridan.Texas Cooks the Textbooks. Newsweek
Timewarp. Moon Landing Hoax. Squidoo
Wikipedia. Battle of the Alamo.
Phillip Elliot. Glen Beck Restoring Honor Rally. Huffington Post
Heather. Fact checking Haley Barbour Lies. Crooks and Liars.