Sunday, March 07, 2021


Entitled to the Complete History

I am writing in support of Superintendent of Schools Dr. Paul Freeman and his decision to incorporate “hard history” into the Guilford Public Schools curriculum. As citizens and future voters, our children are entitled to know the complete history of their country.

I wish this opportunity had been available to kids of my generation, because then we might not feel ill-informed and misled. In my ’80s-era New Jersey classrooms, we never made it further than the Second World War, and thus never covered the Civil Rights Movement or the Vietnam War. We merely skimmed the surface of America’s mistakes For example, we were told that Native Americans welcomed the Pilgrims and showed them how to plant corn, but later they all had to move to Oklahoma, which was sad for them; slavery was an unfortunate practice that was corrected, and now everything is fine; Martin Luther King was good man who gave exciting speeches, but then a bad man shot him. The Japanese internment camps were entirely omitted; same with American imperialism. Why did America acquire Guam or Samoa or Puerto Rico? I have no idea.

What are the petition writers and signers who are targeting Freeman afraid of? My guess is they worry today’s children might not grow up believing, as we all did, that America is the best country on earth and has never done anything terrible. Our kids have trained for school shootings and lived through a pandemic—I’m pretty sure they can handle learning tough but true facts taught by educators who know how to design curriculum in consultation with other experts. Administrators Freeman and Assistant Superintendent of Schools Annie Crystal both have doctorates in educational leadership and curriculum development, qualifying them to make such decisions. I’d be interested to see the education credentials of naysayers.

Jill Paglino