By Kyran Crist / Online Editor
President Trump recently stated that he was going to work toward what is referred to as the “1776 Commission”, which is “pro-American curriculum that celebrates the truth about our nation’s great history,” vs. what is currently being taught.
Trump said the current curriculum, and the “1619 Project” built by The New York Times, sets children up to hate their country and gives them a left-leaning viewpoint to the US.
“The left has warped, distorted, and defiled the American story with deceptions, falsehoods, and lies. There is no better example than the New York Times’ totally discredited ‘1619 Project.’ This project rewrites American history to teach our children that we were founded on the principle of oppression, not freedom,” Trump said.
Buhler High School and Hutchinson Community College history teacher Aaron Deitchler has his views on what the president said and how he teaches U.S. history.
“I believe we are at a crossroads in not just how history is taught in school, but in our country today. Left or right, liberal or conservative, democrat or republican, the United States has a history. It may not all be pretty and it certainly is one filled with skeletons.” Deitchler said. “It would be irresponsible for history teachers to pick and choose what information their students receive. My job as a teacher is not to place my agenda on my students. My job, as a teacher of American history, is to give students the facts about our history, as it happened – good or bad – and give them the tools to make their own decisions.”
Deitchler also said, “there has been controversy in the curriculum of certain classes – AP U.S. History, for instance – about it being ‘too negative’ in regards to our past. History needs to be taught without an agenda. I believe our history needs to be celebrated, but we also need to teach students that our country tied itself to human bondage to help it succeed.”
HutchCC freshman Jakob Dilbeck, a student studying secondary history education, spoke of his worries if the “1776 Commission” is implemented.
“I feel as though we should be adding history to the books that doesn’t highlight these extreme nationalistic ideals, but highlights selfless heroes,” Dilbeck said. “There is a lot of unspoken history that should be necessary to learn, whereas removing credible material from history books seems as if someone is controlling our minds to act as if some history is more important than other history. That is so not true.”
Both Deitchler and Dilbeck state that the “anti-American” ways being taught as Trump stated, were not such a prevalent issue, and instead offer a learning point for moving forward so the nation doesn’t repeat past mistakes.
“History allows us to learn from our past, so how are we to continue to grow as a nation if we’re going to pretend like some of our mistakes never happened?” Dilbeck said.
Deitchler said learning from past mistakes is important for any nation’s growth.
“Do I think the way we teach history in public school is anti-American? I wouldn’t think so, but I haven’t been in a lot of other classrooms,” Deitchler said. “We also run the risk of spreading dangerous misinformation if we erase the bad from our history. That would be one slippery slope. A person can still love this country while acknowledging that the United States has done wrong in its past. It is important to learn from our history, or we will be doomed to repeat it.”