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Two Sides to America’s Story?

Critics argue that social studies classrooms more frequently teach students the dark side of our nation’s history, but Stephen Thornton disagrees. The TC professor of social studies and education said presenting both sides of the story helps young people analyze facts and reach conclusions for themselves.

Critics argue that social studies classrooms more frequently teach students the dark side of our nation's history, but Stephen Thornton disagrees. The TC professor of social studies and education said presenting both sides of the story helps young people analyze facts and reach conclusions for themselves.

"Their argument is that kids should be exposed to the traditions and values that the United States stands for," Thornton said of the vocal group of social studies educators and professors who oppose what they believe are negative teachings about America. "Yes, they should be, [but] if we are serious about our professions, we have to give kids opportunities to think for themselves." He added that students are learning both the good and the bad about our nation's past. "The critics have this image of what they think social studies is, but it's a distortion of what is happening."

The article, entitled "Past and Prologue," appeared in the February 2004 edition of the American School Board Journal.

Published Sunday, Mar. 14, 2004

Two Sides to America’s Story?

Critics argue that social studies classrooms more frequently teach students the dark side of our nation's history, but Stephen Thornton disagrees. The TC professor of social studies and education said presenting both sides of the story helps young people analyze facts and reach conclusions for themselves.

"Their argument is that kids should be exposed to the traditions and values that the United States stands for," Thornton said of the vocal group of social studies educators and professors who oppose what they believe are negative teachings about America. "Yes, they should be, [but] if we are serious about our professions, we have to give kids opportunities to think for themselves." He added that students are learning both the good and the bad about our nation's past. "The critics have this image of what they think social studies is, but it's a distortion of what is happening."

The article, entitled "Past and Prologue," appeared in the February 2004 edition of the American School Board Journal.

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