ERIC Number: ED249575
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1984
Reference Count: 0
History, Pseudo-History, Anti-History: How Public School Textbooks Treat Religion. Policy Studies in Education.
American schools use history textbooks that distort history by slighting the influence of religion on customs and institutions. The textbooks used in Montgomery County, Maryland--a highly regarded district--may be considered a sample of those used in the nation's best schools. Yet among these texts there is a remarkable consensus that, after 1700, Christianity had no historical presence in America; even within the colonial period, the treatment of Christianity is incomplete, incompetent, and patronizing, imparting to students contempt for the past rather than an understanding of it. Several examples illustrate factual errors that can be attributed simply to the textbook author's ignorance. The document contends, however, that fallacies, such as oversimplification and anachronism, occur because the authors of history texts hold their readers' intellects in contempt. Presenting historical figures and events as mere symbols of ideas, they create a caricature of history to advance the thesis that America was settled as a refuge from religion. By disregarding Christianity in early America, the texts disregard the world view that informed a society, and thus fail to teach history. Because they make no attempt to transcend their authors' opinions, and especially because they neglect historical fact, these books must be condemned. (MCG)
Descriptors: Cultural Influences, History Textbooks, Public Schools, Religious Factors, Scholarship, Secondary Education, Textbook Bias, Textbook Content, Textbook Selection, Textbook Standards, United States History
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Publication Type: Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Montgomery County Public Schools MD