From the Letters to the Editor column of the September 2009 issue of Perspectives on History
Should the Federal Government Fund History Teaching?
Alfred Elkins, September 2009
Editor's Note: Perspectives on History welcomes letters to the editor on issues discussed in its pages or which are relevant to the profession. Letters should ideally be brief and should be sent to Letters to the Editor (or mailed to Letters to the Editor, Perspectives on History, AHA, 400 A Street SE, Washington, DC 20003-3889) along with full contact information. Letters selected for publication may be edited for style, length, and content. Publication of letters does not signify endorsement by the AHA of the views expressed by the authors, who alone are responsible for ensuring accuracy of the letters' contents. Institutional affiliations are provided only for identification purposes.
To the Editor:
Why can’t the federal government keep its hand off the teaching of American history? It is not the place of the Senate to authorize $150 million to have students learn about itself.
In the “News Briefs” page of the May 2009 issue of Perspectives on History, an item described the erroneous legislative push. In another item on the same page, a report by the Civil War Preservation Trust is described. This report lists endangered Civil War battlefields “and what can be done to save them.”
Perhaps the $150 million (the $500,000 in federal funding for National History Day in 2009 is OK) proposed for teaching American history could be better used to save endangered Civil War battlefield sites. This is a switch worth thinking about.