Hearken back to junior high
and high school for a moment. What “historical documents” were you taught
in social studies and American history classes? The U.S. Constitution?
Your state’s constitution? What about the Declaration of Independence or
the Federalist Papers? The Northwest Ordinance (especially if you grew up
in Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, or Minnesota)?
My entire K-12 education
was in Ohio public schools. When it came to history, I didn’t take any
electives or special courses beyond whatever was required for me to earn a
diploma. Yet, I was taught all of these important historical texts,
multiple times, from seventh grade through twelfth. So I was surprised to
see bills moving through the Ohio legislature that would require
schools to teach what I thought were standard fare for Ohio’s students. In
fact, at first blush it seemed implausible to me that many schools weren’t
already doing so.
My husband, also an Ohio
public school alum (from a quote-unquote better district than I attended), had
a different reaction when I told him about the legislation. He guessed at least
two-thirds of students...