In the year 2020, Kevin Hanley works as a janitor. By 2050, his son is a beggar on the street. How did this happen to all the Kevin Hanley’s in just one generation? That story was just fictional, titled “The Fable of the Lazy Teenager” by Ben Stein. It was about the decline of America through the derogation of the American education system. If the education system fails, than we will become no better than our ancestors in that we will have no education and therefore be back to the starting block positions of beast of burden. Education and our consciences are what separate us from the animals. However, according to James Loewen’s “The Land of Opportunity,” even the educational system is slipping, saying that when he asked questions like, “why are people poor?” he got woefully inadequate responses. In both “The Land of Opportunity” and “Lies My History Teacher Told Me,” also by Loewen, the root cause of most of the problems in schools and their lack of effective education are the textbooks.
The textbooks cause most of the root problem: these problems include dryness and wrong perspective. Both pieces agree on this. Since textbooks are the required curriculum for the professors, and the textbooks are dry and dull, than it is difficult for the professors to spruce up the history again. “Lies My History Teacher Told Me” said that history is one of the most disliked courses in American high schools, topping even math! Another problem that textbooks run into is that they base themselves off of each other. If one finds something new, then they all update. If another finds a new perspective, then the others include that perspective in their paper.
Along with this, most of the history textbooks have another problem. This problem is not recognizing America as a social status country. Most of the textbooks only mention the middle class as an assurance that America was a middle class country. Only one of the textbooks that were mentioned in these works talked about the three social stratospheres: the high, the middle, and the low classes that existed in America. This was vitally important to our rise as a country, because the rich provided work for the poor, and the poor made money, making it available to obtain good, quality education for themselves and their children. Their children would then use the education that they received to get higher paying jobs that then started the circle all over again.
This circle had a flaw, however. This flaw was determination. In the story that was briefly mentioned above, what caused the Kevin in 2050 to become a beggar was a lack of determination on his part and his ancestor’s part. The story tells of a Kevin in 1990 who has a dream about his ancestors and their journey to freedom and education and then back down to having no education.
If textbooks and teachers do not keep hold of their student’s interest, that scenario may very well happen. In “The Land of Opportunity,” Loewen brings up the importance of the social...