Nationalism is in the news often these days, this is very long piece
that opines that schools are not nationalistic enough. However, for me, the underlying message was that kids simply don’t read enough. Lin-Manual Miranda is one person he holds up as an example of a good outcome of public education.
If Lin-Manual Miranda came through public education with the skills needed, then others have as well, which has always been the case. Schools never
reached all kids. As I’ve noted previously, I do not think that individualizing the manner of teaching for kids is a bad idea. Otherwise, what you’re arguing is that you are happy with winners and losers.
I think the problem is that the “losers,” defined as students who exit schools without the requisite skills— in this case reading and a knowledge of history— that schools have packed too much into what constitutes education. If all that matters is reading and history, allow the kids to read history. Or if it’s Hamilton, or to watch Hamilton.
He also laments (and I can attest to this) that kids don’t learn the same nationalistic songs that I did when in school. On the other hand, I never learned the nifty fifty song, which I think would come under his “write new (non-god containing) songs” prescription.
Once you assert that there’s a “core” of education that should be “common” to all schools… well, then you get the debacle that the Common Core has become. The author addressed that, dismissing the common core because it was about the how to teach rather than the what to teach.
Certainly that was true in math, but it is history that is the focus of this critique. Students are taught a common history, and without a common history a society weakens. The issue in history is always, which
history? What facts get presented and what interpretation? The Civil War is still called the War of Northern Aggression in parts of the South. In the attempt to acknowledge the past of the peoples who inhabited North America prior to the arrival of European explorers— and even using the term explorer is controversial for some— the consideration of contributions of those Europeans have been altered. All of that is before you consider the effort to acknowledge that females existed.
It wasn’t until my senior year in high school that anyone made an effort to note the contributions of women in history. There is only so much time in the school day. If you start to add topics to be covered, then you alter how you present the existing curriculum.
Part of the brilliance of Hamilton (as I understand it from coverage of it, I’ve never seen it) is that Miranda managed to convey what many see as the essential
information about the founding fathers along with all the rest not normally seen in history books.