I concur with the writer of "Schools downplay American history" [Letters, July 17] that the current obsession with standardized tests deprives students of a well-rounded and meaningful education, including the important subject of history. However, I am in sharp disagreement about what he would have us return to.
He regrets that on July Fourth more Americans weren't familiar with and singing a hymn about Christ, and equates the "story of America" with the march of Christianity.
We have presumably advanced from the time when our history books and curricula were so slanted toward Eurocentricity, Christianity and the whitewashing of inconvenient truths that American Indians, African slaves and their descendants, non-Christians and those who have dared to disagree were at best severely marginalized and at worst essentially erased.
Alan M. Weber, Medford
Editor's note: The writer is an assistant professor of early childhood education at Suffolk County Community College.
What made America great is our diversity. The acceptance of others has never come easily, however our Founding Fathers institutionalized it in our Constitution. Most other nations also think they are exceptional to others, sometimes with dire consequences. That intolerance and sense of superiority are what allow schoolgirls to be attacked in parts of the world today.
There is nothing that makes our nation superior to others other than tolerance, and it is an ongoing project.
Joel Herman, Melville