Allow a politicians to become involved in the education of youth and one opens the door to ignorance, if not stupidity. Michael Gove, Education Secretary of the United Kingdom wants teachers to be united on what they teach. “You should have a curriculum which instead of telling people how to teach, tells them what to teach in certain core subjects.” Of course, if Mr. Gove was asked if he favored an authoritarian approach to teaching history in which the government tells teachers what to teach, the Conservative would have a fit. In Japan, the government works hard to have its teachers avoid telling students how their nation in the thirties and forties attacked nations, killed millions and raped women. Any totalitarian society indoctrinates, it does not open minds. But, Mr. Gove does have some views on what to teach. “I am saying we need to have facts in the curriculum. I want there to be a core curriculum content-facts, knowledge.”
I wrote the first American high school textbook on American history which contained extensive material about the lives of Negroes in our nation’s history. Prior to the 1970s, it was rare to find a history book whose “facts” included how slaves viewed their lives. One man’s facts is another man’s opinion.
Oh, Americans speak of the Japanese attack on December 7, 1941, in Japan it happened on December 8, 1941. Americans refer to World War II, Russians to “The Great Patriotic War.”