It’s worth pausing to note how profoundly corporate textbooks mis-educate our students on the years of warfare in Iraq.
Of course, the huge corporations that produce texts like Modern World History have no interest in nurturing the kind of critical thought that might generate questions about the interventionist policies of our government — or especially about today’s vast inequalities of wealth and power, which these interventionist policies are intended to further.
This is why we need to search out — and to create — materials that help teachers not only “teach outside the textbook,” in the words of the Zinn Education Project, but teach against the textbook. (At the risk of sounding self-promotional, I recommend Teaching About the Wars, a collection of alternative resources published just by Rethinking Schools.)
We need to invite dissident perspectives into the classroom: those that challenged the baseless connection between Saddam Hussein and the 9/11 attackers, those that question the military recruitment tactics that target our students, those that expose the reality of war with honesty and compassion, and those that pose fundamental questions about the roots of empire. Let’s not allow the Holt McDougals of the world to decide what our students will learn about war and peace.
Continue reading 10 Years After: How Not to Teach About the Iraq War by Bill Bigelow.