Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Text books ignore Labor

Report: Textbooks Ignore Union Contributions
Posted By James Parks On September 6, 2011 @ 1:37 pm In Other | 3 Comments
Most American children never receive any education about the union movement’s proper place in our country’s history and its many contributions to the nation’s development, according to a new report [1].
American Labor and U.S. History Textbooks: How Labor’s Story Is Distorted in High School History Textbooks [1],” sponsored by the Albert Shanker Institute [2] in cooperation with the American Labor Studies Center [3], surveys four major textbooks that together account for most of the market in U.S. history textbooks. The report found that these textbooks often present labor history in a biased, negative way, focusing on strikes and strike violence while giving little or no attention to the employer abuse and violence that caused the strikes.
In addition, it notes that the textbooks virtually ignore:

  • The role of unions in passing protections and reforms such as the eight-hour work day, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, occupational safety and health, the end of abusive child labor, and environmental protection;
  • Unions’ strong support for the civil rights movement; and
  • The role unions played in the 1960s in particular, when the rise of public sector unions brought many more Americans into the middle class and gave new rights to public employees.
AFT [4] President Randi Weingarten said the report “explains why so few Americans know much about labor’s history and contributions.”
It paints a devastating picture of distortion and omission. Too often, labor’s role in U.S. history is misrepresented, downplayed, or ignored. The result is that most American students have little sense of how the labor movement changed the lives of Americans for the better. A vital piece of U.S. history is disappearing before our eyes.
Weingarten also is president of the Albert Shanker Institute.
BTW. California textbooks also ignore Latinos. 

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