In the 1990s the debate over what history -- and more importantly
whose history -- should be taught in American schools resonated
through the halls of Congress, the national press, and the nation's
schools. Politicians such as Lynne Cheney, Newt Gingrich, and
Senator Slade Gorton, and pundits such as Rush Limbaugh, John Leo,
and Charles Krauthammer fiercely denounced the findings of the
National Standards for History which, subsequently, became a major
battleground in the nation's ongoing struggle to define its
To help us understand what happened, Linda Symcox traces the
genealogy of the National History Standards Project from its
origins as a neo-conservative reform movement to the drafting of
the Standards, through the 18 months of controversy and the debate
that ensued, and the aftermath. Broad in scope, this case study
includes debates on social history, world history,
multiculturalism, established canons, national identity, cultural
history, and "liberal education." Symcox brilliantly illuminates
the larger issue of how educational policy is made and contested in
the United States, revealing how a debate about our children's
education actually became a struggle between competing political
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