2015 Archives

How Textbooks Can Teach Different Versions Of History


The following is from the July 13, 2015, edition of National Public Radio. SMU History Prof. Edward Countryman provided expertise for this story.

July 14, 2015

By Laura Isensee

This summer there's been an intense debate surrounding the Confederate flag and the legacy of slavery in this country.

In Texas that debate revolves around new textbooks that 5 million students will use when the school year begins next month.

The question is, are students getting a full and accurate picture of the past? . . .

History professor Edward Countryman isn't so sure the materials do a good job.

"What bothered me is the huge disconnect between all that we've learned and what tends to go into the standard story as textbooks tell it," says Countryman, who teaches at Southern Methodist University near Dallas and reviewed some of the new books.

He thinks the books should include more about slavery and race throughout U.S. history.

"It's kind of like teaching physics and stopping at Newton without bringing in Einstein, and that sort of thing," he says.

Read or listen to the full story.

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