Posts

Showing posts from December, 2015

Ahistoricity

I'm on maternity leave but I got to return to my school this week for a couple of days to help out with prepping the kids for a big academic conference. I figured I'd help them put some finishing touches on their social studies projects, just polish up the English side of things. Their assignment was to describe the "push and pull" connecting certain big events in US history, and tie those events to Hawaii.
Here's one: "The Indians got sick of the American's taxes, so they started the constitutional war to get rid of the Americans. Then George Washington freed the slaves."

I COULD NOT HAVE MADE THIS UP. This was not a unique example. The kids-- seventh graders-- had no sense of timeline, no sense of causality. Not even broad general skeletons of cause and effect to hang ideas on. Kamehameha and JFK were all jumbled up-- Native Americans came from Africa and Captain Cook conquered Hawaii for the Americans by bombing Pearl Harbor. It was stunning. I c…