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History Lessons

The Washington Post's Jay Mathews reports on an "Expectations of Integrity" code distributed by AP History teachers at a Virginia high school that essentially restricts students from using any resources outside of their course textbook and other classroom materials. The code bans students not only from using the Internet but, apparently, even from talking to their own parents or classmates about their assignments. The rationale for the policy is that it will keep students on a level playing field—but it seems reasonable to wonder, as Mathews does, whether it's really the best way to foster the spirit of historical inquiry.

And somewhat ironically, the Post reports today that a 4th grade history textbook used in Virginia includes the unfounded—and largely discredited—claim that thousands of African Americans fought for the South in the Civil War. So maybe not such a good idea to rely primarily on textbooks ...


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