Are Your Smarts Only in Your Smart Phone

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Have you ever thought about how we are taught history? There has been a whole lot of history and there is very little time that schools can devote to the subject. Heck, there was a lot when I was a kid and there has been almost fifty more years of it since I graduated from high school. How can public schools begin to teach what kids need to know? Of course some people will say that it is all a waste of time and that whatever happened, happened.




I don’t agree with that idea. There are far too many things that happen today that have happened before and it would be nice to know how they were dealt with in the past. Also, most of us a curious about how we got here. There have been many brave men and women who sacrificed their lives and, sometimes more, to give us the lifestyle that we now enjoy. Men and women that faced danger and men and women that created all of the things that we use every day. They should be remembered and celebrated, but a child can’t learn about them all in public school.

So how do we decide what is learned in school and what is skipped? I guess it is not surprising that history is oriented to the location in which it is taught.  History taught in America is going to be American oriented with world history focused on Western Europe. Even in those areas teachers don’t have much more that time to run through the highlights and they are generally war related.

I know what you’re thinking, “So what, everyone knows that.” My problem is that other subjects are also going the way of history. There were also details missing out of the history lesson. We weren’t taught what really happened at the Boston Massacre in 1770 and that our future second president of the United States, John Adams, defended the British soldiers in the trial; they didn’t have time for that. We also weren’t told that the Battle of Bunker Hill was actually fought on Breed’s Hill.

Over the last fifty years similar short cuts have happen in math and social studies. Geography has disappeared and that is something that really bothers me. Try asking someone what the capital of Colombia is and see how many know. For that matter, ask them what the capital of the state of New York is and see how many know. Time tables aren’t drilled any more. I know, why should we when our smart phones do all that stuff for us? Someone can take your smart phone, but it is a lot harder for someone to take your knowledge.

I just think that we are relying too much on our devices. Don’t get me wrong, I love them. I’m not totally hooked on them. I can leave my cell phone for days at a time and not miss it, but I love them. Yeah and I also know this is the chant of an old person. The older generation has been ranting against technology since the invention of the wheel, but I just think people better have something stored in their heads as well as in their smart phones.


Pete is a retired software developer, a writer, and a martial arts instructor. He lives in Maryland with his wife Cathy and they are enjoying their retirement. Pete is the author of four novels, "The Teacher", 500 Years from Home", and "The Long Journey Home" are available at; and "Pioneers" in available at the Kindle Book Store.

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Posted in Education, History, Opinion, Public Schools

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