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Letters: History education molds citizens

A file photo of a classroom.

A file photo of a classroom. Photo Credit: iStock

I read with disgust that the New York State Board of Regents is considering the elimination of one history Regents exam as a graduation requirement for some students ["State exam opt-out," News, Oct. 21]. I guess in this era of dumbing down just about everything, it shouldn't surprise me.

It seems to me that our students, who will become the future electorate, should be more aware of our history and our earned place in the world. Education should not be narrowing its scope and, trust me, once tests are optional for some, the next step will be, why bother to teach history at all?

After all, we must continue to make things easier for our uninformed students to graduate to perpetuate statistical rates of graduation. It's no wonder that American education is no longer the beacon it once was.

Richard A. Rathman, Lido Beach

As a history educator, I am aghast to hear about New York State's planned social studies testing change. Although I teach in a private school and am not affected by the Regents exam, I feel that this move will be a detriment to students in the greater scheme.

I am by no means against promoting vocational, trade or technical studies, but I find this hard to stomach, especially since the history of the great state of New York is beautifully interwoven into the tapestry of the American story. The learning of history, economics and politics is important to the foundation of an adolescent's studies. It creates a base for future citizenry.

As President George Washington once wrote, "a primary object . . . should be the education of our youth in the science of government. In a republic what species of knowledge can be equally important? And what duty more pressing than communicating it to those who are to be the future guardians of the liberties of the country?"

If we don't properly learn both American and global history, we will be ineffectual as a nation. A country with historical amnesia is no country at all.

Matthew Bursig, New Hyde Park


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