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Social Studies at the Beginning of the New Millennium: Teach Democratic Ideals, Geography, and History or Is that Objective Outdated?

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Although many pressures have been brought to bear in the social studies curriculum over the past 70 years, the leaders of the country's society have maintained the middle ground. They have ensured that educators remain somewhat conservative in their approach to the social sciences, ensuring that the history of the culture be continually passed on to future generations. Currently, events in small developing countries are having a domino effect which include the developed countries. This paper discusses the role of the social studies today, stating that in some mythical place, in some mythical town in the United States, there lies a Chest of Treasures, which contains all the recorded history of the American colonies and states and their cultures through the present day. The paper asks how a child learns which of the words in the chest truly belong to him/her and will light the torch of freedom. It notes that teachers may use their positions in classrooms to severely slant and damage impressionable first through fifth graders. It contends that it is time to move on from this mythical place and this mythical Chest of Treasures to present-day United States. The paper discusses the Patriot Act of 2001, considering it a suspension of the Bill of Rights. It concludes by discussing William Bennett's "The Educated Child: A Parents Guide from Preschool through Eighth Grade," stating that it provides many useful and solid suggestions for the teaching of history, geography, and economics. (BT)

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Author:De Villier, Paul Wayne
Publication:ERIC: Reports
Date:Nov 9, 2002
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