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The Hornet

Serving the Fullerton Community Since 1922

The Hornet

Opinion: Is censored history depriving students the lessons of the past?

As the world around us is ever-changing, so is the history that has defined our world and more specifically our country.

More research is being brought to light that changes how we view what happened in our past that in turn changes the lessons that need to be taught in our schools. Unfortunately, not all these lessons make it into the updated textbooks because it rattles the cage of what has been taught before which leads to students not being able to learn the lessons of our past.

The people who are most affected by the lack of change incorrectly teaching history are the next generation that we are supposed to be grooming as more well-informed adults. Teachers who have a passion for history do their best to engage students and teach them that history will be ever-evolving as we uncover more documents and artifacts from the past. However, there are teachers who lack a passion for the subject and merely teach the students the required materials for them to pass through school and neglecting them of valuable lessons.

Censoring history in the school system can cause lessons of history to be lost.
Censoring history in the school system can cause lessons of history to be lost. Photo credit: Ann Lipot

After these students graduate from high school and move on through life, they turn to the History Channel and YouTube for documentaries about the juicy parts of history only to find what they learned in school and do not line up with the new information. If they continue their search, that person will discover a book by James W. Loewen titled “Lies My Teach Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong” and a book by Seymour Morris Jr. titled “American History Revised”.

These books go more in-depth into what was left out of history lessons that were part of the required learning through elementary, intermediate and high school levels. They reveal more facts and stories that schools are not allowed to teach due to the Board of Education stepping in.

However, not all appears to be lost for students in the levels below college. There is a wave of historical revisionism that is correcting mistakes of past textbooks, but it will still never be as complete.

Historical revisionism itself is not without its controversies. This phrase has two different meanings depending on who is asked. One interpretation is that history is simply being corrected to reflect the most accurate account of how an event happened with the current evidence. The other definition is people are simply using this as an excuse to sweep under the rug some of the more unpleasant moments in our country’s history.

The lessons that are left out are by the people who determine the education materials for the schools. The unfortunate part of this is that the history written in school textbooks is still being censored and can never be proven to be an unbiased lesson. History tends to repeat itself through the years when it is forgotten. Personal experiences teach this lesson every day and it remains just as true for our country’s history.

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  • J

    Jett RuckerApr 13, 2020 at 8:29 am

    “History is lies agreed upon.” – Napoleon

  • E

    Elements of StyleApr 11, 2020 at 8:00 pm

    On the other hand, if history is a series of case studies in religious personalities and communities, it must be preserved in its full glory. We may not be able to make sense of the complex events immediately but we must first determine what happened and then attempt to learn from it. If we distort the past, we cannot properly apply it to our times. Changing history will condemn us to repeat the mistakes of our ancestors. This is the tradition I was taught.