Dr. Robert Paquette, Ph.D., a prize-winning historian who co-founded the independent Alexander Hamilton Institute for the Study of Western Civilization, noted that American history courses have sacrificed “the pursuit of truth” to promote progressive agendas.
A study confirms that the liberal domination of classroom topics is especially apparent in American History programs. Peter Berkowitz of the Hoover Institution analyzes the results in Real Clear Politics.
[A]ccording to a new report by the National Association of Scholars (NAS), “Recasting History: Are Race, Class, and Gender Dominating American History?,” our colleges and universities are doing a bad job. More precisely, as the NAS report documents, history departments promote a drastically incomplete and distorted vision of America by concentrating on the teaching of race, class, and gender at the expense of nearly everything else.
Since universities generally avoid transparency and accountability, it is notoriously difficult to determine what exactly is taught in their classrooms.
Texas, however, is different: It mandates that undergraduates at public universities take two courses in American history. The state also requires that public universities make easily available faculty members’ backgrounds, research interests, course assignments, and course syllabi. As a result, NAS was able to determine with precision for the fall semester of 2010 the content of lower division American history classes that satisfy the state’s requirement at the University of Texas and Texas A&M, the state’s two largest public universities.
The report’s central findings confirm long-standing suspicions that university education fails to provide students with a well-rounded acquaintance with the fundamentals. At the University of Texas, 78 percent of the course sections through which students could fulfill the American history requirement devoted half or more of their readings to issues of race, class and gender; at Texas A&M, 50 percent of the courses did the same.
In Austin, 78 percent of faculty teaching the required courses in America history had research interests in the sub-specialties of race, class, and gender. Even in the more traditional milieu of College Station, known for its corps of cadets, nearly two-thirds of the relevant faculty members shared these identity politics niches.
Younger faculty were significantly more likely to have research interests in race, class, and gender: 83 percent of UT faculty members teaching the required courses who received their PhDs in the 1990s or later had research interests in race, class and gender; at A&M, the percentage was even higher — nine out of 10.
Furthermore, “special topics” courses were heavily skewed toward the study of race, class and gender. And many key documents of American history were rarely assigned. Indeed, in 2010 not one qualifying course for the history requirement at the University of Texas or Texas A&M asked students to read the Mayflower Compact or Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address.
Berkowitz notes that the NAS report concludes with recommendations designed to depoliticize the study of history. Given the liberal domination of campuses noted by Paquette, these changes have little chance of being implemented.
Failing History: Colleges Neglect Core U.S. Principles (Real Clear Politics)