Lies My Teacher Told Me

Why do american history textbooks routinely leave out issues of social and economic inequality?

Lies My Teacher Told Me ?'s

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"The Land of Opportunity" examines how high school contributes to students' ignorance about social questions. The way some textbooks include on-going issues leaves students assuming labor problems, like slavery, are solved, and that the unions are anachronistic. Although the middle class has been steadily shrinking under Reagan/Bush, textbooks maintain the US is a "middle class" country. Social mobility in colonial times vis-a-vis Europe is high; violent class conflicts like Bacon's and Shay's rebellions are ignored.

Social class largely determines the quality of one's life. From birth, children of affluence enjoy healthcare, environmental, and educational advantages over the poor. Woodrow Wilson's recommendation that schools separate a small upper class from the masses that are needed to perform manual tasks is being realized. After college, most affluent children enter white-collar jobs while most working-class children get blue-collar jobs. American textbooks are not allowed to contradict the ethos of free market economy which is the American way.