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What Are The Biggest Lies And Omissions From Your American History Education?

In this May 18, 2021, file photo, a teacher, center, and her third grade stud...

Photo by Mary Altaffer / Associated Press

Above: In this May 18, 2021, file photo, a teacher, center, and her third grade students wear face masks and are seated at proper social distancing spacing during as she conducts her class in Rye, N.Y.

Christopher Columbus discovered America, Junipero Serra civilized California's Indigenous people through Christianity, slaves were treated well and the Civil War was about states' rights. Those are just some of the lessons some American students have learned in history classes that are simply untrue.

"The overall theme of American history is we started out great and we've been getting better ever since kind of automatically. And the trouble with that is two things. First of all, it's not always true," James Loewen, author of the book, "Lies My Teacher Told Me" told NPR in a 2018 interview after a new edition of his popular book was published.

"And the second part is what it does to the high school student. It says you don't need to protest; you don't need to write your congressman; you don't need to do any of the things that citizens do, because everything's getting better all the time," he said.

On an upcoming special on KPBS Midday Edition we'll explore the difference between Critical Race Theory and ethnic studies curriculums as well as what’s in school history books now, what misinformation is being taught and what is California’s current curriculum for educating children about racism in American history.

We'd like to hear from you. Share your memories of what you learned that was wrong and what aspects of American history you wish you'd learned more about in school.


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