Class Dismissed

Class Dismissed provides a critical look at how U.S. history is taught in high school, at the myths that reduce the complexity of history into simple soundbites, and the information that never seems to make it onto the textbook pages. How can we alter this system to address the limitations of the current curriculum, to allow students to find their own place in history and the world today, to inspire them to become active learners and AAASeries agents for social change?

This video takes a beginning step by looking at the textbook industry, standardized testing, the lack of race and class analysis in textbooks, and the teacher’s role in introducing a range of perspectives into the classroom. Featuring authors Howard Zinn (A People’s History of the United States) and James Loewen (Lies My Teacher Told Me), New York public high school students, textbook industry insiders, and teachers, this is a must-see video for any student of American History.

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  2. Excellent documentary. If I had kids, I would not put them through the public school system. Not only is the curriculum suspect, but the entire format and manner in which children are taught is counter productive for equipping human beings to experience the world and thrive. An excellent perspective on this topic is The Gift of the Hunter Child by Thom Hartmann. In his book about ADHD, he lays out the history of the educational system, who designed it, how and why, as well as the inherent problems it creates and the poor solutions widely implemented to address them.

    It’s no wonder people stumble through life, numbly making poor decisions and dying unlived lives. Half asleep, we punch our tickets and climb aboard the train with the mass of humanity getting “educated” the same, watching the same stupid TV, riveted to the inane news that we don’t need, filling our heads with useless information that over taxes our brain circuits, consuming the same crap that’s slowly killing us, ad infinitum, ad nauseum.

    Unplug from the mainstream! Take off the lenses handed to you and see the world with wider, fresher vision! Question everything; not with distrust, but with a hungry curiosity for meaning and a vibrant life experience!

  3. The US is a nation of arrivals and the state is its own religion. The school its church. History divides everywhere. Therefore to maintain unity in the face of manifest division the US needs to worship its polity and armed forces and other instruments of unity and expunge history. In this the US is not so very different from China. It is the essential ingredient of the super-state which the USSR and the EU have not got. 

  4. Fascism, Socialism, and Nationalism rule the governments of the world. Democracy, and it’s claim of favoring freedom is just a carrot on a stick, just enough to keep the masses willing to fight for the agendas of these 3 isms. In Truth they are all totalitarian. They do not allow critical review in schools of the struggles of democratic countries because the obvious victims and injustices invalidate the claim of true freedom. This is by design. The mindset of evil men is to always to dispiteful use of all they claim authority over to their own self interest. Without these 3 isms all the wars of the past 150 years would not have happened. These young people are the people who the elites want to fight the wars. They have to keep them in the dark.

  5. Sounds like a New York take on history….What about the labor unions of Appalachia that gave us a middle class? Talk about rewriting history when you are the main ones that do that….hypocrites

  6. It’s the same problem in Canadian history textbooks.  I remember learning that Louis Riel was a criminal when he was actually a hero and founder of Province of Manitoba.  

  7. Loewen and Zinn have important things to say about how history is written and taught, I have read both of the books written by them and mentioned in the synopsis of this video and are vital in a basic introduction to American history.  

  8. The United States is the most ignorant first world country.  All the system wants to do is brainwash kids into believing that we are the “best” country in the world.  What good does that do?  All it does is make us obedient zombies incapable of critical thinking.  That is exactly what the power elites want so that no one realizes that their getting screwed over.  This way people will be like “oh, it’s America, so whatever we do must be right.”  Encourage your kids that learning is important from the beginning.  I can’t say enough how vital a good education is.

  9. I agree, However,I think we have to remember that there is not enough school hours in a day, let alone one class (history , social studies etc..) to go over every fine detail of every significant event in history.It is required that our students  be taught specific curriculum , and although It needs to be more diverse in ethnicity , we have to remember that there simply isnt enough time for everything.

    • “we have to remember that there simply isn’t enough time for everything.”

      Which is exactly why it’s so important that when we decide what to omit some groups’ histories are erased while rich white men’s are privileged. It isn’t enough to say too bad, we only had time to talk about white presidents, white businessmen, white judges. We need to look at why those histories and the perspective the present are considered more valuable material in the classroom. 

  10. Our government does not understand Islamic ideology because our history textbooks do not explain it.