Dumbing down our past

The Georgia Department of Education recently unveiled a draft of the new high school history curriculum. A Georgia high school history teacher says “the plan will gut the subject.” Read his essay in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Excerpts:

The new curriculum calls for teaching only the period from 1500 to the 21st century. Students will no longer study such figures as Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, Cleopatra, William the Conqueror or Joan of Arc.

“The Iliad” and “The Odyssey” will not be mentioned. The development of democratic government in Greece and the fall of the Roman Empire will be skipped. Jesus, Muhammad, the Buddha and Confucius are not to be found in the new curriculum. Great civilizations like ancient Egypt will no longer merit study, and the concept of feudalism will not be discussed….

In the proposed changes, teachers will spend two or three weeks discussing the foundation of our country, with the remaining time devoted to studying events from 1876 to the present. Gone is any mention of the Louisiana Purchase or Lewis and Clark. There will be no discussion of Indian removal and the Trail of Tears.

Students probably will not be remembering the Alamo; it won’t be a topic of discussion in Georgia’s high schools. Daniel Webster and Henry Clay will be omitted, as well as Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass and the Underground Railroad.

Search in vain for discussion of the Civil War; that topic is off limits. In a course entitled “American History,” students will not study our most devastating war. There is no mention of Fort Sumter, Abraham Lincoln, Robert E. Lee or anything else associated with those years.