How should history teachers react to Trump’s ‘patriotic education’ push?

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In mid-September President, Donald Trump gave a speech blasting what he called “Left-Wing Indoctrination” in history classes. During the event at the National Archives, the president said “We must clear away the twisted web of lies in our schools and our classrooms, and teach our children the magnificent truth about our country.” President Trump also highlighted the teaching of the 1619 Project and Critical Race Theory, saying that it is especially harmful to children of minority backgrounds who should be uplifted, not disparaged.

The president’s speech left social studies teachers with a lot to digest. So we at Class Dismissed asked educator and YouTube star Mr. Beat to help us unpack the president’s vision for social studies education in the United States. Matt Beat uses his Youtube channel to make history and geography more engaging. He now how has over 240 thousand subscribers on YouTube all while continuing to teach high school social studies in Kansas.

The presidents comments definantly caught Beat’s attention and left him even a little bit confused. “I’ve been in the classroom now, this my twelfth year teaching, and most of what we still teach are just all the positive things the United States has contributed to the world,” said Beat. “Students are not being taught to hate the United States.”

Beat points out that you can see some of the ironies of the president’s comments when you look up the word “indoctrination.” It’s defined as the process of teaching a person or group to accept a set of beliefs uncritically. “That last word is key,” says Beat.

The whole purpose of common core standards is to push critical thinking. Teaching students to not just believe everything they’re told is ultimately the goal of all educators. Pushing students to analyze sources and going to primary sources more and not relying on secondary sources, says Beat.

To hear our full discussion with Mr. Beat, listen to Episode 169 of Class Dismissed on your favorite podcast app or iTunes.

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