The Continued Tyranny of Content

Credit: iStock.com/Demianastur
Credit: iStock.com/Demianastur
“Facts are stubborn things,” John Adams wrote over 250 years ago. He was right in more ways than one—for our field of history and probably for yours too. Despite all the manufactured uproar over the teaching of “divisive concepts” like critical race theory (Waxman 2021), history classes at the high school level in the United States still tend to be dominated not so much by the development of higher-order thinking skills but by mastery of basic factual material. And that emphasis on content persists at the college level too.

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