May 28, 2014

#Conspiracy thinking: What are high school students learning about US history?

No, this isn't a post from a wingnut angle, saying the Texas State Board of Education needs to get the last vestiges of evolution out of Texas textbooks.

Nor is it, exactly, on the other end of the stick, lamenting the degree evolution, or global warming, have already been banned in Texas, or other red states.

In fact, it's not a "red state" issue, really, other than it's about a red-state high school, and it's connected with a particular red state and a particular historic event in said state.

Seen on a Texas high school's website:
The U.S. History classes took a field trip to Dallas (recently) to the Sixth Floor Museum were (sic) JFK was assassinated. The sixth floor of the old Texas School Book Depository is where Lee Harvey Oswald is believed to have shot JFK just over 50 years ago. Many of the students stood on the street where the shots hit JFK. (Teacher XXX) and the history department have taken the juniors on this trip for (a number of) years. It teaches the students that historians do not have the answers to all the questions in history and that there are mysteries in history.
Underlining emphasis is mine.

The issue is obvious, for anyone who knows me regularly, and my love of history.

How many high school history teachers are conspiracy theorists? Whether it's over JFK's assassination, or FDR allegedly "dragging" the U.S. into World War II, or Mossad or somebody other than 19 suicide terrorists causing the events of 9/11, how many such teachers?  

Because, contra I see this history teacher believing, there are no "mysteries" about JFK's assassination. Nor about the other events I listed above. 

Of course there are mysteries in history. We still don't know what happened to the "lost colony" of Roanoke. Hell, there's historical mysteries here in Texas, like why Texas Anglos can't or won't pronounce "San Jacinto" correctly. Or, more seriously, Cabeza de Vaca's exact route. So, let's talk about them. Let's not use conspiracy thinking about JFK's assassination to wrongly try to make a point. 

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