The Trust’s 2019 Teacher Institute: Bias
On Friday night, teachers at the American Battlefield Trust’s Teacher Institute sat down for an informal “think tank” to share their experiences in the classroom. One of the questions that guided the discussion: “What biases do you think your students bring when they enter your room for the first time?”
Of the 54 responses, here’s what I could write down before the discussion moved onward:
What Confederate flag stands for and represents
They dislike history; it’s old, boring, all about dates and it does not apply to today.
About the Civil War. None really, They walk in totally ignorant.
Everyone in the Confederacy was a “bad guy” because of their actions
All public school teachers are far-left liberals
Defensiveness of heritage—both Confederate and race
White privilege—very affluent
Their parents’ political views
News from today and home. Everything is labeled as racism without knowing what that means.
That they’ve heard it already and know it
Everyone in the south was bad and wanted slavery
We won they lost, Union saved, move on.
Racisim is what it’s all about.
That Global Warming is caused by southern pride
Confederacy is cool. Flag is cool. Slavery is cool. Texas is the country they pledge to. Texas could obviously secede and be fine.
History is boring, they are all dead, who cares, this doesn’t impact me so why do we need this, or MERICA!
Some believe that school is not a safe space.
They care about current events but don’t understand how the past connects to it or how history relates to their lives.
All that slavery and racists stuff is done. We don’t have that now.
They think it is boring. Why do they need it?
They might know Lincoln was assassinated, so south = bad/north = good
2 Responses to The Trust’s 2019 Teacher Institute: Bias
“We won, they lost. Union saved. Move on…”
Unfortunately, this is the ultimate destination of all Civil War understanding, as the continual “refine and condense” juggernaut of schoolroom history teaching powers forward. Excellent presentations, such as Ken Burn’s, “The Civil War,” and the feature film, “Glory,” can arrest the slide for a while; but these efforts must be frequently renewed.
In the meantime, a family friend only remembers, “Sumptner, Gettysburg, Approximattix. Grant beat Lee. Lincoln assassinated. The end.”
No surprises. History and geography are just a few of the topics that many schools only pretend to study. I recall my daughters 10th grade history book published in the early 90s.. There were 1 1/2 pages devoted to Viet Nam and two pictures: Jane Fonda and Lt. Calley. No map was provided.
Hard for a young mind to develop an understanding or connect w/ our past when it is treated in such a brief and biased manner. As the above post states it is hard to stop the academic trivialization of our past and the lessons that they offer.
Cannot recall the direct quote but I think it applies….those who ignore the past are doomed to repeat errors and weaken their culture.