The first day of Constructing Modern Knowledge was spent with Jim Loewen. He is the author of Lies My History Teacher Told Me and several other books. He was a delightful gentleman to spend time with (we had dinner with him Sunday and lunch on Monday) and interesting to hear.
Early on in his talk to us he said something that struck me and stuck with me: our job as citizens is to bring into being the America of the future.
Think on that for a moment. It's a powerful concept. It's a big responsibility for all of us. Especially for teachers. We have that job both as citizens and as those teaching the next generation of citizens.
How differently would we lead our daily lives if this were a guiding thought? Would it change how we teach and interact with children? It seems to me that bringing into being the America of the future requires a bigger vision and more long-term thinking and planning than we see happening in education today.
Loewen's point about this included the idea that history is intensely relevant to this purpose. I think he is right. Sadly, history is getting pushed to the edges of our schools as reading, writing, math, and science dominate, solely because they will be tested.