NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

History Texts Called Inaccurate And Superficial

November 30, 1998

Students are being exposed to history textbooks which not only have their facts wrong, but are written in a simplistic style, according to some critics.

  • Taxpayers spend close to $5 billion a year for public school history books, but many scholars can't recommend any now in use.
  • Several years ago, popular history texts presented to the Texas school board were found to have more than 5,000 errors.
  • Not only are the texts being produced today massive -- averaging 888 pages and weighing 4.5 pounds -- they are also superficial and boring, reviewers complain.
  • While great events are often covered in one or two sentences, a great deal of space is taken up with politically correct data which emphasizes big government and the roles of women and minorities.

Moreover, many of those who teach history keep in lock-step with the texts because often they never took a college course in history. The Education Department reports that 55 percent of public school history teachers don't have history degrees. In fact, it is not all that uncommon for gym teachers to be found in front of history classes.

Source: Michael Chapman, "'Correct' History for Johnny," Investor's Business Daily, November 27, 1998.


Browse more articles on Education Issues