Misinformation in Classrooms and Elsewhere

Misinformation in the classroom is widespread, since many textbooks are whitewashed, and many teachers are uncomfortable dealing with the truth. Using the links and videos below, educate yourself about some things you may have been taught wrong. At the bottom, take a look at the top five things that you weren’t taught in history class.

“Trump’s Threat to Pull Funding From Schools Over How They Teach Slavery Is Part of a Long History of Politicizing American History Class” from TIME.

This resource from Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History is a letter that Christopher Columbus wrote to Europe, describing his findings in America. There are many exaggerations and lies about the Natives, and the letter contains some of the first racist misinformation.

‘We are committing educational malpractice’: Why slavery is mistaught — and worse — in American schools” from The New York Times explains how slavery is taught in schools and why it matters.

Economic Policy Institute presents “Misteaching History on Racial Segregation,” focusing on how segregation is mistaught in curriculums.

NPR publishes the article “’Lies My Teacher Told Me,’ And How American History Can Be Used As A Weapon,” following the publishing of James Loewen’s book, “Lies My Teacher Told Me.”

The Atlantic examines “The Problem With History Classes.”

“18 History Lessons Your Teacher Lied to You About” from Reader’s Digest covers the truth behind the Emancipation Proclamation, Chinese foot-binding, Thanksgiving, and more.

“Who Should Decide How Students Learn About America’s Past?” from The Atlantic.

In this Teen Vogue clip, “Native American Girls Describe the REAL History Behind Thanksgiving.”

In “Thanksgiving” from Cut, Indigenous Americans are asked to respond to “Thanksgiving” using only one word.

Things You Were Taught  Incorrectly in School:

  • The Challenger’s explosion could have been prevented. It was extremely cold the night before and the people in charge knew that the temperatures might interfere with the safety of the lift-off. But, they had already delayed the lift-off once, so for PR reasons, they continued with the mission and ended up killing everyone on board.
  • Indigenous children in Canada were taken from their homes in the 1960’s and forcibly put up for adoption. It was only sixty years ago, yet we never hear about this! Most people are aware of the residential schools that were a nightmare for many Indigenous people, but not many know of the other horrors that happened to the Native community more recently.

  • There were actually over nine hundred concentration and death camps over the course of the Holocaust, contrary to how history lessons make it seem like there were seven or eight.

  • The Japanese experimented on Chinese civilians during WWII, similar to what Dr. Mengele did to Jewish and Roma people at Auschwitz-Birkenau, which you are more likely to have heard of.

  • The Irish Potato famine was caused by the British, and is considered a genocide by many. The British took all of the potatoes from Irish farmers and left the Irish with the blighted ones, killing an eighth of the Irish population, and causing a fifth to leave.