Teachers are digging deep into how history is taught, after discovering that many students are unaware of important historical events and experiences.
At Central Washington University, professor Susana Flores told a class of future teachers that students were shocked when they learned that Indian boarding schools had existed in the 19th and 20th centuries, where Native American children were “assimilated” by the hundreds of thousands by white missionaries. According to Flores, only 2 of the 22 sophomores and junior had ever heard about the boarding schools.
“I had a good number of students who were upset that they didn’t learn this — like, ‘Why did I have to get to college to learn this?’” said Flores, a former middle school social studies teacher.
Flores’ multicultural education course is required for all students in Central’s Curriculum, Supervision and Educational Leadership department. Flores had noted that among her students, “Their perspective is that their history is still very much learning about the winners. The old white guys, and the winners.”
Some local educators are working to have diverse perspectives and primary source documents in their social studies lessons, giving their students a more complete view of American history.
“History doesn’t change; it just gets interpreted differently by different people.”