Hacking the Game

History is being ignored.

Education is like a game except in the long run, the game becomes life. It’s a tricky game to play as students play their cards to receive the highest benefits. Every student has their strengths and weaknesses. Unfortunately, certain cards are being hacked to the student’s disadvantages which in the long run, influences the politics and culture of their communities.

“Our nation’s history has been forsaken for other subjects and in some ways, it’s demeaning to the importance of social studies,” David Owens, U.S history teacher at Rider gives a self-admitted, bias opinion. “In the grand scheme of things of who we are as a country and to the education of our youth. If you studied our nation’s history and where we come from, there’s patterns of continuity and change that explains why we are where we’re at based upon where we came from.”

In recent years, social studies has had major changes. Now, world history and AP U.S History are electives. U.S History is taught at the sophomore level while government and macroeconomics transitions from senior classes to junior classes. Emphasizing a more national perspective over a global perspective.

“Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it,” Chris Hartman, history teacher at Rider, quotes George Santayana. “In learning history, you’re learning the difficulties of what other people went through- how it crushed them or how they came out stronger. Understanding history creates tolerance for other perspectives and ideas. Everybody needs their ideas challenged, and I feel World History does that.” The history teacher continues, “The elective of world history is set up for regular students and not AP students. I think that’s a mistake; we need to know what happened in the world.”

The history teachers finalize their thoughts on social studies treatment with conclusions regarding the impact these changes could have. Making educated voters and decreasing cruelties such as racism amongst students and civilization. When asked how this compares to the other subjects, Mr. Hartman proposes that it starts at the elementary level, where students are tested on math and science but not on social studies and therefore puts students behind comparatively between core subjects. Hartman also suggests that the new Social Studies arrangements “pits” social studies classes against each other when students pick and choose for the best GPA.

Owens says, “Students will not have world history or European history because the state doesn’t require both world history and world geography so our district opted out of world history in favor of world geography. They’ve reduced the number of requirements that you have to have to get your diploma. It goes back to the endorsements but what is permanently driving this is the STAAR test; driving all sophomores to have to take U.S History and then the opening of the Career Education Center.” Owens concludes, “At the same time, my enrollment numbers, this time next year, will be up three fold compared to this year so the district’s pushing students towards Dual-Credit. Which is a good thing.”

Followup Story: Redesigning the Game